When You Tell God No

proverbs 3:5-6

Several years ago, my husband was on fire for the Lord. He had a fire burning within him that I had never seen before. He was always doing something with the church. Always at revivals. Always at meetings. I’ll admit, I was jealous. I wanted in on it. But, I was always stuck at home with 5 or 6 kids, needing so desperately to be fed, but not getting anything.

The next year, my husband started feeling like the Lord was calling him (us!) to the mission field. He approached a trusted man of God about it, and was told that God generally calls men to preach before he calls them as missionaries. My husband felt discouraged and figured, “Well, God must not be calling me to be a missionary.” I wanted to help. I wanted to be there for him. So, I went on a mission. I decided it was time for me to get my life on track. If God was calling my husband to be a missionary, I didn’t want to miss that call. I wanted to love him and support him right through it. I started focusing on my own relationship with Christ. I studied my Bible daily – for hours. I prayed every chance I got. I wanted to get as close as I possibly could so that I could be there for my husband as a missionary’s wife – or in whatever capacity Christ wanted.

But nothing ever came of it. We missed our chance to go off and serve the Lord because we didn’t know how. We didn’t know what steps we were required to take next. We knew what we were supposed to do, but we had no idea how to do it.

We both felt the Lord telling us to leave our church. Not because we were angry at the church, but because it wasn’t where He wanted us to be. We both knew it. We had even discussed it at length.

But, we told God no. We didn’t want to leave our church. We had been at that church since the Sunday after we moved down to Georgia. All of our friends were there. Our family was there. It was all that we knew. We made every excuse in the book to stay. “It will hurt so-and-so’s feelings if we leave.” “Our kids are doing so well in church, and they love going. We don’t want to risk them hating a new church.” “How will we ever find a church that can replace what we’ve found here?”

It was all true. We really did love our church. In the 8 years we were there, I got saved and baptized, and 4 of our children were saved and baptized as well. I would watch as Christ would move in the hearts of my children. Many tears were shed on the altar as we would all bring our burdens to the Lord and leave them there.

But, one thing was happening during this time that I couldn’t fix, no matter how many tears I cried, or how many times I went to the altar. For 3 years, I watched my husband slowly pull himself farther and farther away from God and our church. And the entire time, I knew it was because we weren’t where God wanted us to be. Yet, I stayed. I continued to tell God no.

My husband became discouraged. He has a job that requires him to work on Sunday mornings, so he is rarely at church during the morning worship service. Before, he would always make sure to get off on Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights to still be at church. But, more and more, through the years, he would stop doing that. Instead, he would find just “one more thing” that would keep him busy enough that he would be too late for church.

It tore my heart to pieces. All I wanted was to be in church with my husband sitting beside me, but church was the last place he wanted to be.

So, I approached him about it. The first few times I asked, he gave me excuses: things were really busy at work, he had too much to do, etc., etc.

But, recently, I approached him in a different way. I asked him what he needed to get back to the Lord. I was already praying, but I knew he needed more from me. I wanted to make sure I gave it to him. We talked, we cried, and we both realized we already had the answer: God was calling us to move on. To trust HIM to lead us to a new church, one that He had picked out just for us. All those months, Gene didn’t want to say anything to me, because He had seen how close I had drawn to the Lord, and He was afraid by asking me to leave the church, he would ruin that. If only he had known I was already feeling the same way. Why hadn’t we talked sooner?

The next night, we sat the kids down, and told them that we felt like the Lord was leading us to find a new church. Some of the kids were totally on board with it, but one of the kids was completely against it. He started crying and begged us to change our minds. He didn’t want to leave his friends. He told us he would hate any new church he tried, just so we would change our minds and go back to “our” church.

That next Sunday night, we tried a new church. We spoke with the pastor and found out just how missions-minded their church was. In a church with 95 members, their Faith Promise giving was $46,000 for the year. Did you catch that? On top of regular tithes and offerings, this church had promised $46,000 to missionaries. Amazing.

The first service went really well. It was different than what we had become used to for the past 8 years, but not different in a bad way. Just different. Plus, the people were kind and welcoming, and there were lots and lots of kids.

We went back that Wednesday night, and the kids all went off to their own classes. After the service that night, Jace, (the one who had been so against us even trying a new church), came up to Gene and I and said, “I’m so sorry I didn’t trust you or God. I really like it here. If this is where God wants us to be, I’m OK with it.”

Isn’t it nice to know that even the hardest hearts can be changed?

Before Gene and I committed to anything, we wanted to come to a few more services. I needed to try a Sunday morning without my husband there and make sure I could handle it.

The pastor and his wife came even came over one day to hear our testimonies and tell us more about what they believe as a church.

After every service, and almost every night since we had started attending the new church, Gene and I would talk, and it wasn’t long before we both felt that was exactly where God was leading us.

This past Sunday night, Gene and I, along with 7 of our kids, joined Shining Light Baptist Church.

new church

(Pictured left to right: Angie, Carly, Gage, Zander, Gene, Sawyer, Jace, Lucy, Parker, and Pastor Tim Mason.)

Yes, we have 8 kids. And, yes, only 7 of them are pictured with us here. Our oldest daughter is 18. Gene and I both feel she is old enough to make her own decisions in the Lord. We had to do something VERY hard, and let her decide where she would go to church. If the Lord is not moving her on, we don’t want to force her. We are praying every day that she will seek only HIS will, and that she will do whatever is right for her in HIS eyes.

I am praying that the Lord will really use us in this new church. We are excited about serving in whatever way possible. I’m praying the Lord will send Gene a man who will truly encourage him in the things of the Lord, who will become his friend and uplift him in prayer. I want nothing more than to see my husband have that fire burning within him again. I know he wants it to, and I’m praying with everything I have that he finds it here, not because of the people, but because of the Spirit. I’m also praying the Lord will send me ladies that I can draw close to, that I can minister to and to learn from. I’m praying that my kids will find Jesus here. That the ones who are saved will cultivate a real relationship with Him, and that the ones who are not saved will discover the love of our Savior and invite Him into their hearts. God can do mighty things, and I’m trusting Him to do just that.

psalm 91:1-4

Sometimes, the Lord calls us to do hard things. Sometimes, we tell him no, and we suffer because of it. Yes, our kind and loving Father still blesses us from time to time. But just imagine the blessings He will give us when we are willing to follow Him, no matter how hard it may be.

Step out on faith. Trust Him to guide your steps. He has your best interest at heart. You just have to let Him lead. And stop telling Him no.

Inspiring Ways To Give Back To Your Community

It has probably been on your mental to-do list for some time now to get more involved in your local community. However, life is busy, and there are often a lot of other challenges and time constraints that get in the way. Well, it is time to stop making excuses, and this guide is here to help.

One problem you may have had is trying to figure out where to begin. After all, a happy and functioning community consists of many parts. It has neighbors that care for each other and help with things they struggle to do themselves. It has those are active within the church, and make it the welcoming and inclusive place it should be. Of course, communities consist of children and therefore consist of schools too. But these sometimes need a little help to run, especially for special occasions. That’s not forgetting older children, who may need a special place to spend time in. Finally, there are the charity shops who may need voluntary assistance to keep running.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some inspiring ways that you can give back to your community. Pick one way, two ways, or go all out and try your hand at each. Get the whole family involved and you’ll make an even bigger impact!

Helping elderly neighbors with their garden maintenance
This first thing on the list is something you barely have to leave the house for. Do you have elderly or disabled people living on your street, or in your area? They might even live right next door! How about popping over one afternoon and asking if there is anything they need help with? They are likely to have some tasks that they struggle to do because of their age or disability. Often, these tasks are out in the garden. It could be a simple case of mowing their lawn whenever you mow theirs. What you are doing is kind and selfless. However, it has the added benefit of keeping your street and local area looking nice. You may even inspire others to do the same for the neighbors. Plus, you never know what they will do for you in return. You might return home one day to find a mean plum pie waiting for you on the doorstep!

Supporting your local church
If you are a churchgoer, how about devoting some of your time to helping and assisting there? You could do this in a number of ways. If they run a Sunday school, but their teacher has recently left, how about stepping forwards? Or, perhaps you could do some fundraising initiatives to raise some money! Bibles, cushions, church chairs and other common items sometimes need replacing, and all of these things cost money. By using your own time and resources to fundraise for these things, you are leaving the men and women in charge to focus on their own tasks.

Run a stall at the school fete
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Teachers work hard enough as it as, and good ones can have a positive impact on your children for life. So, take some of the pressure off them. Doing so gives them more energy to have a good effect on your kids, which is what they’re there for. Teachers and headteachers are often drafted into help and work extra hours at holiday times and celebrations. The school may use this time to run fairs, fetes or fundraisers. Offer to run a stall, or help out with one that is due to be set up. This might be a game to keep kids occupied, or a food stall. Or perhaps you have a special skill that you could put to good use. Maybe you could teach the children a spot of archery, or do face painting, for example!

Weekend work at a local charity shop
The vast majority of charity shops survive thanks to the help of volunteers. The charity shop will likely have limited funds, and therefore won’t be able to pay staff. While this will put some people off, as they won’t earn, that’s not the idea of volunteering! Your commitment doesn’t have to be huge to be inspirational. You don’t have to work there 5-days a week to make a difference.  Just doing a 5-hour shift one weekend morning, or weekday afternoon is enough! It’s also a great way to meet new people, do something worthwhile with your free time. The work is easy and mainly consists of sorting donations and serving customers. There might be a bit of cleaning and tidying involved. However, you can make yourself a cup of tea, put on your favorite radio station and the time will fly by!

Set up a youth club and activity center
Picture link

While the last idea of charity shop volunteering required minimum commitment, this is quite a different story! Setting up a youth club, teens activity center or both is an incredible thing to do for your community. However, it is also a big task, so be aware of this. Before beginning, it might be wise to draft in the help of a friend or two! Doing so allows you to split up the many tasks involved, and split the responsibility too. However, the amount of work and effort you put in is sure to be able to how much the kids and teens get out of it. Community youth clubs are a fantastic way of keeping vulnerable young adults off the street and out of trouble. Use the time that they give you wisely. Get teachers, sports instructors and arts professionals to come in and do talks and workshops, for example.

Bag packing at the drugstore
One final idea for giving back to your community consists of bag packing. You could do this at the local drug or superstore. You might not feel like such a small act will make much of a difference. However, while small, it will put a smile on people’s faces for sure! After all, you’d enjoy the same special treat if someone did the same for you!

When You Miss Church… {Guest Post}

Disclaimer: This is a guest post written by Bill Brinkworth of Open Thou Mine Eyes. I have not been compensated for this post in any way.

All should go to church: saved and unsaved.  An unsaved person will learn God’s way to heaven and, hopefully, be saved.  A saved person should go to church because God commands it (Hebrews 10:25); it is the place to learn about spiritual things; it is a place to serve God, and it is a place to receive spiritual encouragement.

Too many born-again people stay away from the house of God. Sometimes the excuses are legitimate, such as sickness or an emergency; but too many times, they are not legitimate.  When a Christian stays home from attending services at the house of God, he can do damage to himself and to the cause of Christ.  Some of the negative impacts of his avoiding church include:

  • His lack of faithfulness to the house of God is a bad example to other believers and the unsaved. If his avoiding church is observed, others may justify their staying home as, “Well, if so-and-so doesn’t go to church, why do I have to go?”  The lack of attendance encourages others also to miss.  Others observe our actions and reactions. We may be all of “Christ” many see.  It is important to be a good testimony to others.  We never know who is watching us.
  • He will miss a blessing that God intended for him to hear to help him through life. The day the believer stays home may be the day that God laid a special message on the pastor’s heart that was desperately needed by the one that did not make it to church that day. Encouragement from the Word of God, taught in church, is spiritual food a believer needs to make it through life’s trials.
  • When a person stays home and misses church, he is showing God and others what is important in his life; and unfortunately, it may not be the things of God.
  • A saved individual is born into the family of God.  When he misses church, he is missing a “family” gathering.  When any family does not spend time together, they grow apart.  When a child of God misses church, he too, can grow apart from his spiritual family.
  • A stay-at-home Christian is showing the unsaved world that church is not really important.
  • When a believer stays home, it can discourage those that know he is gone, and also discourage the preacher.
  • If a believer is involved in a ministry and misses church, others have to fill in the empty spot his absence has left.  Most of the time, the ones picking up the slack are those that are already busy in their own ministries.  They soon get tired of doing too much and get discouraged, all because a believer missed church.
  • If a believer stays home, he often does not give to the cause of Christ for the time he missed.  The money not given is needed to keep the ministry running.  A church will suffer, because all are not giving their share.

God went to a lot of trouble to have a local church for us to go to. He called a shepherd for the flock of believers.  Many gave, so the church would have its doors open. Many sacrificed their time to minister to the needs of others. Avoiding church is missing what God intended for us to have.  Be at church every time the doors are open.  It is the right thing to do!

“Someone once said the difference between watching a sermon on television rather than going to church to hear it is the same difference as talking to a girl friend on the phone as opposed to taking her out on a date.” 


This post has been taken from The Bible View: Church Newsletters. You can read this newsletter by clicking this link.

Day 6: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 6: Today, I am giving thanks for my church.

30 Days of Giving ThanksI have visited and been a part of many, many churches throughout my life. But, never have I been a part of a church as special or dear to me as that of Revival Baptist Church. I have a pastor that stands on the Word of God, and won’t back down. I have an Associate Pastor that loves his Savior with all his heart, and encourages and uplifts each member of the congregation.

Every member of the church has become a friend, and I look forward to every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night – not just because I get to spend that time with good friends, but because I know I will hear the TRUTH and it will convict me.

Revival Baptist Church is where I finally gave my heart to Christ and accepted him as my personal Savior. It will forever hold a very special place in my heart.

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.

Mommy Brag: Kids Singing at Church

I’m going to take a few minutes and brag on my kids for a little while. I’m allowed to do that, right? 🙂

Before I share a video with you, I need to give you a little back story.

If we go waaaaaaaay back, when I was little, my parents had a gospel singing group. They would travel and sing in different churches, and my brother and I went right along with them. Often, we were pulled up on the stage to sing with them. I grew up with a love for singing, and it has never gone away… I just don’t get the opportunity to sing much anymore.

A few months ago, I decided that since I am “mom” to about half of the youth in our church, that we were going to join the Youth Choir. For months, Jace would fight me about this. He refused to sing, and he would stand up on stage, lips tightly closed, and you could just tell that he had no desire to be up there. Drove me crazy. But, I prayed about it (constantly!), and I’d remind him over and over that he was supposed to be singing to the Lord. By not doing his best, he wasn’t making God proud of him.

Something must have sunk in, because just a couple of weeks ago, after Youth Choir practice at church one night, Jace asked me if I thought if anyone would mind if he and I sang a song… just me and him. (My heart soared!)

We started practicing, and soon all the other kids were getting jealous. They wanted to sing too! So, I decided the church would much rather see 4 little ones at the front of the church instead of me, and I bowed out.

Last night, the kids got to stand in front of the church and sing their song. This is just one of the songs I remember singing with my parents all those years ago. Here’s the video so you can see:

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After church last night, Jace told me that he loved singing and that he wanted to do it all the time… and that from the kid that just weeks ago stood on the stage and pouted when it was time for the choir to sing.

God really does answer prayer… even the ones that don’t seem that significant.

I am SO proud of all the kids and how well they did last night. I just need to teach Lucy how to share the microphone so that Parker doesn’t have to lecture her during the song. 😉

Thanks for watching!

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day TWENTY-ONE

Day Twenty One: Church

Church Outside

Church inside
This is one of my favorite little churches that I’ve found down here. I got to shoot a wedding at this church, and I couldn’t get over how gorgeous the stained glass windows were. This isn’t my church, though, so I have to share that with you now, just because it’s one of my very favorite places to be:

My Church <3

If you are participating in the 30 Day Photography Challenge, sign in for Day 21 here. (Leave a link to your post or the image directly.)

For more information on the challenge, click here: 30 Day Photo Challenge

For daily topics, click here: Challenge Topics

One Proud Momma…

On Sunday night, our church had their Christmas program. My 4 oldest kids each had a part in the program. Ashley, Zander, Jace, and Lucy all had speaking parts, and Lucy sang a solo toward the end of the program. I was so proud of each of them. They all did such a great job! They spoke their lines perfectly, and Lucy almost came in on time. (Not bad for a 4 year old!)

If you’d like to see the entire program, I’ve uploaded it to facebook. You can find it here: Revival Baptist Christmas Program 2010 I’m not sure if you have to add me as a friend to view it or not. I’ve tried to set it up so you can just watch it. If you try to watch and can’t, let me know.

Since the full length video is almost 20 minutes long, I’ll just give you a little taste and let you enjoy Lucy singing her song:

Direct Link

Hope you enjoyed that! See why I’m so proud? Oh, and yes… that’s Jace in the background swinging his arms and playing with his crown. He couldn’t let Lucy have *all* the attention.