Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Nation Song!

South Sudan National Anthem
The dawn of the new nation is nigh. The national anthem is ready. South Sudanese at home and abroad are learning the song that will soon embody their unified resolve to defend and support the sovereignty of their country. The lyrics and music is hereunder. Please, learn and circulate it to fellow compatriots. God bless South Sudan!

Oh God
We praise and glorify you
For your grace on South Sudan,
Land of great abundance
Uphold us united in peace and harmony.

Oh motherland
We rise raising flag with the guiding star
And sing songs of freedom with joy,
For justice, liberty and prosperity
Shall forever more reign.

Oh great patriots
Let us stand up in silence and respect,
Saluting our martyrs whose blood
Cemented our national foundation,
We vow to protect our nation

Oh God bless South Sudan.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Millions need Jesus

PHOENIX (BP)--Pastors are responsible to lead their churches to engage the world's unreached people groups with the Gospel, David Platt said in the convention sermon at the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting June 15.

Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., noted that people groups by the thousands worldwide are unreached for Christ. "This is not a problem for the International Mission Board to address," Platt said. "This is a problem for every local church in this convention to address."

Platt emphasized that he was not advocating the neglect of local ministries and missions but added that "at the same time, global mission is tragically neglected."

He pointed to an example from northern Yemen, which has a population of about 8 million people but only about 20-30 Christians.

"That is a problem," Platt said. "Masses of people groups. Millions upon millions upon millions of people who do not have access to the Gospel."

Preaching from Matthew 24:14, Platt said Christians are often confused about their message, their mission and their motive. Christians' message, Platt said, is that God is King and that He rules over all.

"Our God is sovereign over all nature," Platt said. "The wind blows at His bidding. The sun radiates with heat from His hands. Every single night, our God brings out the stars one by one and He calls them each by name."

In addition to being sovereign over nature, Platt said God is sovereign over nations and holds the rulers of the world in His hands. The good news, he continued, is not just that God is King but that the King has come in the person of Jesus Christ -- and all who believe in Him and trust in His name will be both children of God and heirs of God's Kingdom forever.

But the church, Platt said, is guilty of minimizing and maligning that good news.

"We have reduced Jesus the King to a poor, puny savior who is just begging for people to accept him into their heart or invite him into their life, phrases that are never used in the Word of God," he said. "We have reduced the Gospel of the Kingdom to a shrink-wrapped presentation that if we can get people to say and pray the right things back to us, we will pronounce them fit for heaven and free to live their life on earth however they desire.

"Not true," he continued. "Our King is not a savior who is begging for anyone's casual approval. Our King is a sovereign who deserves everyone's eternal praise."

Platt took aim at author/pastor Rob Bell and others who have questioned the reality of hell, warning Southern Baptists to "be very cautious when anyone says, 'Did God really say this? Would God really do that?'

"This is the question that ushered sin into the world in Genesis 3," Platt said. "Our ways are subject to His judgment, and He has appointed a day when every man and woman will die and face judgment."

The message of good news, that God offers eternal life to those who trust in Christ regardless of their station in life, works anywhere in the world, Platt said, and Christians' mission is to proclaim that news throughout the whole world, to all of the 11,627 people groups that the IMB has identified, more than half of which remain classified as "unreached."

"When we say 'unreached,' we're not just talking about lostness. We're talking about access," Platt said. "Unreached means that you don't even have access to hear the Gospel. There's no church, no Christian, no Bible available around you."

If Christians and churches are not intentionally going after those unreached groups with the Gospel, Platt said they are disobeying the Great Commission -- because God's command was not a general one to make disciples among as many people as possible, but to make disciples among every single people group.

The motivation for Christians to pursue such a mission, Platt said, is their desire that God be praised and to complete the task He has given them.

"What drives passion for unreached peoples is not guilt. It's glory," Platt said. "Glory for a King, for a King who deserves the praise of every people group on the planet."

Platt said that pursuing that goal will come with a cost, because Satan is opposed to God's people reaching the world with the Gospel. Some people will hate Christians for their message, and some may even kill them. But Platt reminded Southern Baptists that the reward is worth the sacrifice and challenged them to be bold and intentional in their efforts.

"Let's do it all with our eyes fixed on the sky, where one day the Son of Man is going to come in clouds of glory and power, and His angels are going to gather the elect from the four winds, from every tribe, tongue, people and nation," Platt said. "We will see His face, and we will see our King, and we will reign with Him forever and ever and ever and ever."
Tim Ellsworth is director of news and media relations at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.

Bible Vitamins

Anxious? Take Vitamin A.
All things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Blue? Take Vitamin B.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name. (Psalm 103:1)

Crushed? Take Vitamin C.
Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

Depressed? Take Vitamin D.
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Empty? Take Vitamin E.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. (Psalm 100:4)

Fearful? Take Vitamin F.
Fear not, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God. (Isaiah 41:10)

Know nothing? Take Vitamin K.
Know this that the Lord is God, it is He that made us and not we ourselves. (Psalm 100:3)

Friday, June 17, 2011

ATEP Acceptance!

Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP) - University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa!


Selection for admission into the ATEP is made each spring. To major in athletic training, students must be accepted into the Athletic Training Education Program from the General Health Studies major within the College of Human Environmental Sciences. 

They must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 and achieve a grade of C or higher in HHE 270, ATR 272, ATR 257, ATR 258, BSC 114/115, MA 112 or higher, EN 101, EN 102, NHM 101 and PY 101. ATR 258 must be taken at The University of Alabama.

Formal application involves the completion of a program application, submission of official transcripts of all high school and post-secondary academic work and three standardized recommendation forms. An interview with the selection committee and a practical test are also part of the application process. The selection committee is comprised of ATEP faculty, clinical instructors, administrators, and several graduating ATEP students. 

Students must also meet specific written technical standard prior to admission to the ATEP.

On average, twenty students gain admission to the major each year. The mean GPA of students admitted in 2010 was 3.51.

TODAY!!!  Spencer E. Mitchell was selected and accepted into the ATEP program.  He has worked so hard these past two years to accomplish this goal -- following what he felt God leading him to do. 

When our children graduated from High School, Rick and I gave them a paperweight with a "motto/quote" to remember.  Spencer's was:

How appropriate this has been today.  

Spencer is so smart, but does not always apply himself to the fullest unless it is absolutely necessary. This time last year (2010) Spencer knew that getting into this program would be very difficult, but he waited just a bit too late to begin hitting those studies and ended the semester with a 2.89.  His acceptance letter never came.  Spencer spent the 2010 summer reflecting, praying and sorting through what he felt he should do moving forward.  Upon returning to school in the fall (2010), meeting with counselors and searching for God-given life skills, Spencer decided to Try Again!

This task was (IS) not going to be short, easy or cheap.  He must bring his GPA above a 3.0 or higher, he will have to fund his last year of ATEP school, he will have to gather additional references and wrap every body part perfectly.

I am such a PROUD mama to say - my baby DID IT!  He finished this year with a 3.89, made the Dean's list for the first time, made two perfect grades (A+) in his Athletic Training classes, buried a best friend who passed away from a drug overdose and survived an F-5 tornado that was so close his body could feel the pressure as he ran for safety. Now the journey begins and he is so excited to start this three years of AT!

Our family is so thankful to our Heavenly Father for His Grace and provision, to all of our friends and family for your prayers and to those special adults, Wayne Kendrick, Wanda Brooks, Tammie Lantrip, and Dr. James Andrews, who gave Spencer (our son) a personal reference for acceptance.

Lord, may we glorify YOU in all that we do with our lives!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

26 Guards

Here's a message that will bring you chills. Have you ever felt the
urge to pray for someone and then just put it on a list and said, "I'll pray
for him or her later?"   Or has anyone ever called you and said, "I need you to pray for me, I
have this need?" 

Read the following story that was sent to me and may it change the way
that you may think about prayer and also the way you pray.

You will be blessed by this story.

A missionary on furlough told this true story while visiting his home
church in Michigan.

"While serving at a small field hospital in Africa, every two weeks I
traveled by bicycle through the jungle to a nearby city for supplies.
This was a journey of two days and required camping overnight at the halfway

On one of these journeys, I arrived in the city where I planned to
collect money from a bank, purchase medicine, and supplies, and then begin my
two-day journey back to the field hospital.

Upon arrival in the city, I observed two men fighting, one of whom had
been seriously injured. I treated him for his injuries and at the same time
talked to him about the Lord.

I then traveled two days, camping overnight, and arrived home without incident. 

Two weeks later I repeated my journey.

Upon arriving in the city, I was approached by the young man I had treated.
He told me that he had known I carried money and medicines. He said,
‘some friends and I followed you into the jungle, knowing you would camp
overnight.   We planned to kill you and take your money and drugs.

But just as we were about to move into your camp, we saw that you were
surrounded by 26-armed guards.  At this, I laughed and said that I was certainly all-alone in that
jungle campsite.

The young man pressed the point, however, and said,  'No, sir, I was
not the only person to see the guards, my friends also saw them, and we all
counted them. It was because of those guards that we were afraid and left you

At this point in the sermon, one of the men in the congregation jumped
to his feet and interrupted the missionary and asked if he could tell him
the exact day this happened.   The missionary told the congregation the date, and the man who
interrupted told him this story:

"On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here and I
was preparing to go play golf. I was about to putt when I felt the urge to
pray for you. In fact, the urging of the Lord was so strong; I called men in
this church to meet with me here in the sanctuary to pray for you. Would
all of those men who met with me on that day stand up?" 

The men who had met together to pray that day stood up. The missionary
wasn't concerned with who they were, he was too busy counting how many men he saw.

There were 26.

This story is an incredible example of how the Spirit of the Lord
moves in mysterious ways. If you ever hear such prodding, go along with it.
Nothing is ever hurt by prayer except the gates of hell.   As
the above true story clearly illustrates, "with God all things are
possible". More importantly, how God hears and answers the prayers of the
faithful.   Give God thanks for the beautiful gift of your faith, for the powerful gift of prayer, and for the many miracles He works in your own daily life.

Monday, June 13, 2011

UPS angel

There are so many stories to share but this story from a girl named Anna really touched me.  Her dad drives a UPS truck.  

"On the day of the tornado (4-27-11) he got a call to leave his route early and come back to Tuscaloosa because the weather was getting bad.  As her dad got into Tuscaloosa he noticed how much the wind was picking up and things were flying around the interstate.  He called Anna's step mom to figure out what was going with the weather.  She calmly told him a tornado was heading straight for him. 
Anna's dad knew he didn't have time to get to a secure building.  He parked his truck under an overpass and ran up the cement hill.  At the top of the hill he found a homeless man.  Her dad told the man that a huge tornado was heading straight for them.  The only way they would survive was to "hug" a cement pillar of the overpass.  The pillar was too big for one man to wrap his arms around it.  Anna's dad said they would have to hold hands and not let go. 
The two men locked hands around that pillar.  Wind and debris flew around them, putting gashes in his back and head from the flying metal and wood. 
As the tornado was passing over the men, Anna's dad looked down at the interstate below.  He saw a woman running up the hill toward them.  The wind was too powerful, so she ran back down and crawled under her car.  The tornado picked up the car and slammed it back down on top of the woman.  He saw another woman get sucked out the back window of her car.  And worst of all was a person who lost his head. When the tornado was for sure past, he and the homeless man let their hands go.  Her dad leaned from under the overpass and took a picture of the tornado in the distance (see above) with his cell phone.  As he turned around to check on the homeless man, he was gone.  Anna's dad looked all around his makeshift home and where they had been standing and couldn't find him.  It was as if the homeless man vanished. 
Her dad wouldn't have survived if that homeless man wasn't under that overpass.  It took two people to hold onto that pillar.    He never spoke a word."

We can all draw our own conclusions / thoughts on the homeless man.  The bottom line is God is in control of the weather, tornados, the number of hairs on our head and the number of days on this earth.  So whether God used this homeless man or WAS this homeless man, we will not know this side of heaven.  We do know Mr. UPS was spared for God's glory and I pray this has changed his life and drawn him closer to our Heavenly Father.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

More important than Furniture!

Recently, I read some words (literally, just six words) from Keith Thompson, veteran foster parent, that sounded very familiar. Here's what he said:

"Children are more important than furniture." 

I know this is not some huge, earth shattering truth. It's something that should have been pretty obvious to me already. But I'm sinful, and I'm fallen. And I admit it... We worked hard for our stuff and I like to take care of my stuff. And I want my stuff treated with respect and care.
If there is one area where I struggled with my new life as a global houseparent to twentysomethings -- this is it. I try not to care about my stuff -- my furniture, my house, my car, my things... but my wicked little heart wants to fight for all of it.

Sure, I can lie to myself and slap a pretty Christian title on this love-of-stuff. Sometimes I call it "good stewardship." You know -- we take care of our stuff because God gave us our stuff and He wants us to be good stewards of the things He entrusts to us. And there is some good, biblical truth to this idea of stewardship... but stewardship should never come at all costs. It definitely shouldn't come at the cost of another's heart or spirit. Because children (Birthed, Adopted, Grandchildren, African, African-American, Ethiopian) are more important than things. Period.

I should back up and explain that before we became Houseparents, people told us to beware of all this. They told us to batten down the hatches in our home. To prepare for every thing in our house to be broken, cracked, stolen or destroyed.  We have always responded, we understand, IT ALL belongs to our GOD.  I do believe this and try each day to walk through showing and sharing everything in our home, but sometimes it gets the best of me.
We know that God has called us to share life daily and build relationships with those who were not raised with the blessings that I was afforded.  But I have to say.........They weren't just kidding.

Logically, it makes perfect sense -- I mean why would a child/person who has never purchased or owned any personal possessions know how to care for things? Why would a child/person who is accustomed to living in day-to-day survival mode for food and other necessities suddenly grasp this crazy western concept of stewardship?

Over the last two years---I'll give you a glimpse. Knobs have been literally ripped off the cabinets, A fist has cracked and destroyed the soap pump on the cast iron sink. A whack to the wall has sent a glass gift from Rome sailing into pieces. A daisy yellow -cutesy fabric rocker now adorns black food stained arms.  Ants now march through our bedrooms and mice hide under our refrigerator. Our washing machine has not stopped running like the energizer bunny.  Four tires have been flat spotted and one car's undercarriage destroyed. Grease circles now reside on my high back chairs where their sweet black heads rested while playing wii.  This list could go on and on, but I'll spare you the details.  Almost all of this destruction is purely innocent -- it happens out of curiosity and honest ignorance. But it happens. A lot.

Everytime one of my boys displays one of these acts of "sinful and careless stewardship," I am tempted to display one of my own acts of sinful and careless anger. I am often tempted to scream "WHY would you do such a thing? How could you possibly think this was ok??"

And the Lord speaks to my heart and reminds me that I know perfectly well why they would do these things... They are broken and hurt and they've never had stuff before so they don't know how to take care of it. And frankly, it's just stuff.

For so many reasons, I am thankful to live a life that daily lends itself to these struggles. Each day I must intentionally choose... what's really important to me?

"For where your treasure lies, there your heart will be also." -- Matt 6:21, NIV

Friday, June 10, 2011

Coffee well

This is a recent photo of the well that was being drilled while I was in Sudan in October.  Notice anything different?  Of course there's a new school up now.  So this hand pump serves the community, the school and Coffee's church...I'm sure Coffee's church is being built now too. Especially after Jimbo preached about giving and their name being written in the Lamb's Book of Life

Anyway, thought you all would enjoy this!  Independence day coming JULY 9!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Job's Compliment!

Although many people have not read the book of Job, many know one thing about the main character because of a common phrase [compliment]—"He has the patience of Job"—echoing James 5:11. The compliment, however, emphasizes only one of Job's spiritual qualities. Job was not only patient in his circumstances—but also faithful to God and God's revealed truth.
In spite of the absolutely horrible set of calamities that occurred—the loss of possessions and children—Job did not sin or blame God. How many of us have this kind of faith? How do we react when we lose possessions or family members? Does our relationship to God include patient faith?
The burning question in circumstances like these remains: "Why? Why, God?" Job never gets an answer. Job doesn't know that this is God's way of proving to Satan that faith exists independent of worldly prosperity and endures in times of loss. Nor does Job know that God knows he will not fail the tests.
The book of Job never answers the question, "Why do we suffer?" The way to cope with suffering is not to find out the immediate cause but to find out who God is. A deep, personal knowledge of God, our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer is what we need to handle the stress of suffering. We need a relationship with God that enables us to endure suffering without losing faith, without cursing God, and without blaspheming God's name in actions and words.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Quiet and Loud Book

There are many kinds of quiet--from first one awake quiet to top of the roller coaster quiet. Quiet can be peaceful, ominous, or exhilarating. Renata Liwska's adorable animals perfectly capture the variety of quiets.

Just as there are many kinds of quiet, there are lots of louds--everything from dropping your lunch tray loud to fireworks loud. Come along and experience alarm clock loud, thunderstorm loud, applause loud, and even deafening silence loud!

This delightful children's books can be found  HERE by Deborah Underwood

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pencil Points

JUST BEFORE PUTTING the Pencil IN THE BOX remember this:

1. Everything you do will always leave a mark.....

2. You can always correct the mistakes you make....

3. What is important is what is inside of you....

4. IN LIFE , You will undergo painful sharpening, which will only make you better....

5. To be the best..You must allow yourself to be held and guided by the hand that hold you.

We all need to be constantly sharpened.  This parable may encourage you to know that you are a special person, with unique God-given talents and abilities.  Only you can fulfill the purpose which you were born to accomplish.  Never allow yourself to get discouraged and think that your life is insignificant and cannot be changed and, like the pencil, always remember that the most important part of who you are, is what's inside of you and then allow yourself to be guided by the hand of God.