Here are the welcome messages from
February 2003

2/4/03 February 4, 2003
2/10/03 February 10, 2003
2/17/03 February 17, 2003
2/17/03 February 25, 2003
February 4, 2003

My husband and I got to go away for the weekend. It wasn't actually a vacation. He was making money and I was spending it! He referees high school wrestling and had a two day tournament about an hour's drive from our house. Another half hour drive beyond that is an outlet mall. Sooooo.... we took the camper and while he was working.... guess what I was doing!

I got my son's birthday gifts and I got a few things for myself. This time of year there are some good clearance sales. Unfortunately a lot of the stores there are empty. I don't know why. It always seems very busy there. It is right on the way from southern California to Las Vegas. The road is heavily traveled. I guess people just aren't buying like they used to.

Then, on Sunday my husband and I took a leisurely drive to the beach to celebrate our anniversary. We walked along where fishing boats and private boats are moored. We took a short cruise tour of the Los Angeles harbor. We ate at a restaurant that overlooked the harbor. It really was nice.
Every time we do something like that we say, "We need to do this more often," and we don't. Why is that?

Oh dear. I have been working on getting back into some kind of physical shape. I was going to say I was working on getting back into shape, but the shape that I used to have is forever lost in that mysterious place called "youth." My poor lungs aren't keeping up with the rest of me. I think they shriveled up. I get a mild case of asthma when I try to get my heart rate up. I'm going to keep working out, though. I want to be able to hike and ride my bike whenever we get a chance to go on vacation. Oh, yes, and there is another not-so-minor thing I want to accomplish. I want to be able to fit back into my pants!! They seem to have shrunk, so I need to shrink, too, to be able to wear them. LOL!!!

Link to the 2/4/03 Bible study.
February 10, 2003

I did it! I did it! I caught up on my email! Well, at least, up until yesterday. I still have some to answer, but I have read them all!!!

My husband had another tournament to referee (high school wrestling) on Saturday and I decided to go with him. I had six hours of uninterrupted time.... finished reading over 300 pieces of mail. I had already weeded out the junk mail... so I mean I READ them all!

I have a bunch for those of you that are on my mailing list. No, don't worry... I will post them in the archive list and you can go read them at your leisure. I think there are a couple that I will mail, but the rest you can read later.

I was supposed to go to visit my mom last Monday and Tuesday and the wind started blowing really hard. I just wasn't in the mood to wrestle with them. I drive a large pickup with a large camper. It does really well in high winds, but it is difficult. I am not fond of driving the freeways anyway, so I postponed my visit to this week.

Then, yesterday morning, I woke up with an awful sore throat. It got worse and worse all day long. This morning my sinuses are going berserk, too. So, I had to postpone my visit once again. My mom doesn't need my germs. Her immune system isn't so great and I would feel awful if I made her sick.

So, I will sit here a while this morning and work on my Clarion stuff.

On Thursday night I went to a conference in Pasadena that was supposed to be centered around God.... It was called "The Secret Place, an invitation to experience the Lord's manifest presence." God had told the leader that He wanted him to have a conference about Him and His glory.

The music was good, but every single song was about us. There wasn't one love song or praise song sung directly to God. Then half an hour was spent trying to convince everyone that they should give an offering. Then another half hour was spent promoting upcoming conferences and books and cd's and such. We never even came close to inviting God to come and be with us. I left before it was over and didn't go back.

God wants more from us. He wants us to focus directly on HIm... not on ourselves and not on our pastors and teachers. He wants ALONE time with us! He wants to hear us praising and worshipping HIM! God wants us to learn how to get away from using a middle man to reach Him. After all, that is one of the reasons why He sent Jesus. He eliminated the need for priests to be the middle man between God and man.

We must not focus on ourselves when we get together with a body of believers. How many churches open the service to what God wants to do? If God's presence is strong in a church service then there will not be a need to take an offering. God will work on the people's hearts and they will automatically give in the amounts He dictates. There will be no need for an altar call because He will be speaking to each individual. There will be no need for someone to say, "I feel the presence of the Lord."

There are traditional things that we do in churches that distract from what God wants to do. How often are worship leaders open to let God show them what songs He wants to hear? How many are willing and able to change the song list midstream?

How many pastors and leaders go into a service with an open mind to switching the message if God directs, or of dropping it altogether if God wants nothing more than praise?

When is God ever allowed to have control?

Once I offered to head up an adult Bible study. I had put in the description that I would pray and prepare a lesson but that we would wait on God to show us what He wanted to teach us. The pastor wouldn't let me do it because he could picture the class sitting and twiddling their thumbs because we were waiting on God to teach us. I know that God always has something He wants to teach us.... and even if, for some reason, He desired that we sit and twiddle our thumbs.... then it was our job to twiddle for Him as best we could!

Control.... that's the main thing that causes a lot of churches and meetings to miss God.... control. People feel the need to control things. It is scary to walk onto a stage or to step up behind a podium after God told you just to wait on Him. They think silence is a bad thing.

There is comfort in an agenda... especially one that is followed all the time. The leaders like it, and most people like it. Then they know what to expect. There won't be any unexpected things rocking the boat. After all, sometimes God wants us to do things that don't fit inside our comfort zone! Let's not give God the control so that we can make sure we "get home on time" or we won't "feel obligated to do more than attend Sunday church" or whatever reason people don't want to know what God wants.

Sorry. I got up on my soapbox and let you have it. I guess I will sum up in saying this. Let our response to God always be, "Yes, Lord!" The thing is, how will we find out what He wants? Hmmmm?
Link to the 2/10/03 Bible study.
February 17, 2003

At least my cold isn't hanging on as long as the one I had in December! I am about 85% over it and it has "only" been a week.

 I tried to take it easy so I got a lot of work done at the Clarion Call. I've been designing a lot of my own graphics and came up with some good ones.

I enjoy making the graphics. I have found pictures of eagles on the Internet and have transformed them into my own backgrounds and clipart. It takes a long time and sometimes I get totally frustrated.... especially when I have hours invested in unsaved pictures and my graphics program freezes up!

I'm still staying caught up on my email. Well, pretty caught up. Sometimes I let a day or two go by and just read the most important ones, but I am NOT going to allow myself to get so far behind again. (I hope.)

My husband and I did a funny thing on Sunday. We went to a church that was recommended by some friends of ours. We ended up at the church next door because we didn't see our friends' church. We were both very confused because things seemed way too weird. The funny thing was there were a lot of things that lined up with the way they had described their church, too!

I wonder if the people at that church we visited will call us. I wrote our friends' names on the visitor card as who had invited us there. LOL!

There was one thing there that bothered me a lot. Two women greeted us as we walked through the parking lot towards the church. We had to wind our way through groups of people talking in front of the doorway. They looked at us and kept on talking. Nobody else even looked the slightest bit interested that there were visitors coming to their church.

The music started and most of the people were still outside talking. They slowly wandered in over the next 20 minutes or so while the worship music was going on. They sat throughout the fairly large sanctuary.... one person here, two over there, one over there... They were all spread out all over the place like they weren't friends any more.

We weren't greeted any more and left without anyone else speaking to us. Strange. Cold. Not at all like a body of believers... more like a bunch of strangers.
Link to the 2/17/03 Bible study.
February 25, 2003

I found an interesting thing that had happened in our back yard. We have an ash tree that is a nice shade tree for our summer heat. My husband and I often would go sit out under the tree in the heat of the afternoon in the summer. Well, our tree was splitting right down the middle of the trunk.

So, Sunday afternoon my husband and I got to play "chop up the tree." There is still another day's worth of work to be done, but we got a bunch of it all chipped, chopped, and gone. My poor hands are sore from breaking and cutting small branches apart. I'm surprised the rest of me doesn't hurt more.

We are providing ourselves with a lifetime supply of firewood. We've lost quite a few large trees over the years from wind, fire, and rain. Each time we lose a tree we gain firewood! We recently made an investment in a fireplace insert. It is more efficient in providing heat than the fireplace was. We figured since our firewood was free (cost-free, certainly not labor-free) we might as well cut down on our heating bill and make the fireplace work for us.

This spring my husband and his friend are going to build an RV cover over a slab in our back yard and the height of it will provide us with some of the afternoon/evening shade we will lose due to the tree being gone. However, we still need to find a way to provide some morning and noon shade in our yard.

We used to have an old motor home that sat in the back yard. We sold it and bought the camper for my truck. Since I drive my truck all the time with the camper on it we will have extra room in the RV barn for our gardening tools and my husband's tools. We do have an old ski boat that will benefit from being covered. We've had to redo the upholstery once because of the abuse it takes sitting in the sun. We put tarps over it, but they aren't weather proof.

I didn't like the idea of an ugly building in the back yard, so we are going to decorate the front side of it to look like a western town. If we have to have a large thing in the back yard it might as well be an entertaining-looking large thing. Right?

I went shopping yesterday morning. My husband bought me a miniature rose for Valentine's Day and I needed to find a pot for it. He has bought me miniature roses in the past and I've planted them all outside. I think I'm going to try to keep this one happy in a windowsill. I was working on this yesterday but abandoned it to go shopping. I'm glad I did. Today would have been a bad day to do it because it is pouring down rain. It is supposed to rain for a couple of days.

I found the cutest thing when I bought the pot for the rose. It's a little statue of a Springer Spaniel puppy (I used to have Springers) with a lantern in its mouth. It has a sound and motion detector that makes it bark and the light comes on. I put it on my front porch. The funny thing is that it doesn't work when it is too dark. Go figure. Why put a lantern in its mouth if it doesn't work in the dark? Sheesh!

I bought one other thing that wasn't on my list. It's a metal sign that says, "On this site in 1897 nothing happened." I picked it up, laughed, and put it back down. I picked it up and put it down about three more times. Usually, when I've picked something up for the third or fourth time I buy it.

I really enjoy silly things like that. I need to figure out a good place for it. Perhaps I will have my husband build a signpost for it. He'll love to hear I have one more thing for him to do!! LOL!

God has been teaching me about church. Church is not a building. Church is not a service on Sunday mornings (or Saturday, or whenever). Church is the people.

People have it so locked in their minds that Christians all go to and are involved in church that, when they hear you are a Christian the first question out of their mouth is, "What church do you go to?" I was struggling with that. I thought I was a bad witness when I said I didn't have one. Actually, I didn't say I didn't have one, I said I was between churches. In the flesh, I felt that I should have a church. I couldn't understand why God hadn't found one for us.

But, like I said, He taught me about church. I pointed out to Him that the Word says, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Heb 10:25) He pointed out to me that I was assembling together with others. I had an Internet prayer/worship partner as well as a prayer partner I met with on Wednesdays and another one that I met with on Thursdays.

So, just because I no longer taught Sunday School and sat in a building every Sunday didn't mean I wasn't in a church! I almost added that I no longer lead Vacation Bible School, but that isn't true. Last summer God and I did VBS for a group of day care kids.

What I desire, however, is a church (traditionally speaking-- I'm not forgetting that I am the church) that seeks to please God. I would like a church that comes together throughout the week to meet with God and to give Him what He desires. I want to be in a group of people that are pouring their hearts out in love and worship to Him. I want to be where there is no schedule of activities (like sing, then announcements, then offering, then sermon), where God is sought continuously as to what He wants to happen next.

I want to be in a church where all traditional church things are tossed out if God doesn't confirm that He wants them. I want to be in a church where all the giftings that God has given are used to the fullest, where people are encouraged to use them. I want to be in a church where people are equipped for service... and not in the traditional sense of raising up only teachers, pastors, and evangelists!!!

Yet, is there such a church? Every church should be that way. I should be able to walk into any church and find people allowing God to have control. I know that God has something in His plan for our family. He has shown me that I already have church... fellowship, prayer, praise, and Him. He has told me that my husband is to be in charge of what church we attend as a family. So, once again, I sit back and let Him have His way. Is that a bad thing? Of course not!
Link to the 2/25/03 Bible study.

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