Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mexico Bound

Thank you for praying for our time in Florida with Andrew Lamb, Ann his wife and their 4 boys. It was an incredible time of fellowship, getting to know Andrew and Ann better and enjoying their boys as well.  What a privilege to enter into their family life for 3 days and to enjoy Ann’s definite gift of hospitality.  God granted us safe travel and allowed us to get all of our questions answered.

We returned to Mississippi feeling a bit overwhelmed and yet began to pray for God to reveal His will for our lives. As we began to think and process there were several things that stood out distinctly to us.

-Andrew was the chairman of the committee that interviewed us during MTW’s Interview and Orientation in the very beginning of our mission career and God used him to extend some refreshing grace to us during this time.

-We reflected upon God’s sovereign hand in bringing Andrew to the Philippines to visit with us during our first term (when he was headed to a partnership meeting in Thailand).  We appreciated his willingness to listen to us and encourage us.   

-We continue to be amazed at God’s timing of our leaving the Philippines and the already open and approved position in Mexico.

-We are so thankful for our ability to be honest with Andrew and Ann, their life commitment to minister in grace as much as possible and their acceptance of us.

-We are still amazed at God’s plan for our gifts and talents.  Steven will be able to use all of his administrative gifts, mercy ministry and short-term team experience in Mexico as well and even more.  I (Deborah) will be able to continue to participate in Mexico in every mercy ministry that God had previously laid upon my heart with an added bonus of working with an orphanage.

-And last but not least, since January we have prayed for God to reveal His will to us and we also prayed for Him to make it clear and not confusing.  Upon our return, we realized that He has closed all other doors that have been opened so indeed the call to Mexico became really clear to us.

Therefore, it is with much excitement that we want to share with you that we have accepted a call to work on a Servant’s team in Mexico with Andrew Lamb and one other participant. What does that mean next??

-First, our budget for Mexico is less than our previous budget, but we have lost some supporters who were interested specifically in the Philippines.  So, we need to raise some more support before we can depart for Mexico.

-But we would really like to be in Mexico, in Guadalajara, for language school this September.  Our precious daughter-in-law Kelly is fluent in Spanish and so we are going to start working on language with her. We are thankful that Spanish is supposed to be easier than Tagalog.

-So, would you please praise the Lord for His clear calling upon our lives to Mexico and for our time with Andrew and his family? 

-Would you please pray for God to quickly raise up churches or individuals that are willing to support God’s work through us in Mexico? 

-Would you pray for His hand to be in all the logistics, housing, transportation, what we need to take to Mexico etc? 

-Please praise the Lord for the support of our family, Chad, Kelly and Lindsey.  Each one of them has given us countless hours of encouragement, wisdom, listening and just loving us.  We are so thankful for the gift of each precious family member, including Wyatt who will be 4 in December, Raney who will be 2 June 27th and the newest baby which will be born the first of November. 

And we thank you immensely for standing with us during this time of transition, for your prayers, support, encouragement, grace and love.

We would love to hear any questions that come to mind!

Mexico bound -

An Amazing Bath in Grace

I continue to pull myself up by my bootstraps, to add inches to my spiritual stature
I huff and puff to impress God
I thrash around trying to fix myself
I am focused on bad choices and failed dreams
I compare myself to others to bolster my righteousness
I am judgmental and critical of others
I don't want to see my imperfect existence
I deny my sins and deceive myself, all the time lying to myself
I am unloving, irritable, angry, resentful, disrespectful to my husband
I feel I need to apply spiritual cosmetics to make myself presentable to Him
I can't accept ownership of my poverty, powerlessness and neediness
I can't be honest with myself or others about who I am and my sin
I believe and doubt
I hope and get discouraged
I am trusting and still suspicious
I am honest and still play games
I believe God owes me for my faithfulness
I think/feel I can merit something on my own
I have to do and do and do instead of just receive like a little child
I can't trust in God because it's a matter of my heart
I walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty phase of life
year after year I long for perfection and it doesn't appear
I see that my old sin compulsions are still reigning in my life
despair destroys all joy and courage
I feel insecure, inadequate or mistaken
panic, depression and disillusionment are near me
I want to hide the ugly and repulsive in me

A wave of light breaks into my darkness and only by a Grace Bath, am I able to see:
God loves me as I am but also knows me as I am!
it's in my deepest awareness of myself that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.
I am accepted. I am accepted, by that which is greater than me.  
I don't need to do ANYTHING. 
I don't need to seek for ANYTHING, perform ANYTHING, or intend ANYTHING. 
I only need to accept the face that I am accepted - and it's here that I experience grace!

My heart lives in each one of the WHENs but longs to live out of and embrace more and more the Grace Bath.  
I am reading again THE RAGAMUFFIN GOSPEL by Brennan Manning. The above while not original, is taken from chapter one - Something is Radically Wrong and is written in a format that God used to pierce my heart and help me to see more clearly.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Heart

Romans 7
"I am a mass of contradictions; I don't want to be but I am.
I preach a gospel of peace, but my life isn't always driven by peace.
I talk about a Jesus who alone can fully satisfy the soul, but I am often not satisfied.
I celebrate a theology of amazing grace, but I often react in ungrace.
And if I rest in God's control, why do I seek it for myself?
Even in moments when I think I am prepared, I end up doing what I didn't want to do.
Wrong talk
Are not the fruit of the new life, are not the way of grace.
So there is this law operating inside of me.
When I step out with a desire to do good, evil follows me wherever I go.
There is this war that rages inside of me, between a desire for good and sin that is anything but good.
There are times when I feel like a prisoner, held against my will.
I didn't plan to be mad  in the grocery store, but that guy made me mad.
I didn't plan to be discontent, but it just enveloped me in the quietness of the car.
That discussion wasn't supposed to degenerate into an argument, but it did.
I am thankful for God's grace, but there is daily evidence that I'm still in need of help.
That battle inside me cannot be solved by
Strategies - (doing, doing, doing)
Techniques - (trying to pull myself up by my boot straps)
Helpful hints
I have been humbled by the war I cannot win.
I have been grieved by desires I cannot conquer.
I have been confronted by actions I cannot excuse.
And I have come to confess that what I really need is rescue.
So, have mercy on me, O God,
Acording to YOUR great compassion
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions
And my sin is always before me.
I embrace the rescue that Could only be found in YOU.
Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

This beautiful writing came out of a book WHITER THAN SNOW by Paul David Tripp (thanks Belinda for pointing me to this devotional).  While there is no way that I have the gifts to write it, it was quite convicting and spoke to my heart, so I wanted to share it with you.  
We had an incredible trip to Florida and got all of our questions answered.  Life has been fast and furious since our return but I will write about our trip soon.