We are delighted to welcome little Logan to the family! He is absolutely precious and already loved so much! What an incredible gift new life is in so many different ways! It is a reminder of the amazing power of God who has created this sweet little baby and knew Him even before the world began. It is a reminder that life- ALL LIFE- is precious. It is a reminder of God's mercy and goodness who has given us this blessing. It is a reminder of the new life every person can experience through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. It is a reminder that children are a blessing, not a hindrance. It is a reminder to cherish the moments, for they fly by way too quickly. It is a reminder of the indescribable love the Heavenly Father has for each of His children.
I hope you enjoy these pictures- (yes, I know, there are a lot of them)- but you won't enjoy looking nearly as much as we enjoyed taking them:)
"Papa" and "Grammy"
I love this one!
"Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is His reward."
I know, this is really late and quite overdue! The past couple of weeks I have been very busy with coordinating our church's World Missions Conference (more on that later) and although I have had this post partially finished and in 'drafts' for a long time I simply have not been able to finish and publish it until this evening. So, here is my "better late than never!" final post of the Shindig...
We had a really great time.....
~time spent together!~
~lots of fellowhip!~
(This is the 'Vendor Hall' which
stayed very busy)
~more fellowship along
with fun and games~
~beautiful weather and
~many other inspiring sessions
besides what I have shared here~
~making new friends~
~and learning much that
God wanted to teach us~
And here is my closing message, which was actually the final message of the Shindig and a great way to sum up all of the other messages and the prevailing theme of "I Will Follow Jesus!"
"Direction From God" -Joshua Steele
Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all
thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways
acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths."
God is proactive in directing
our paths, He inserts Himself into our life. Matthew 4:19
God characterizes Himself as
our Father. Galatians 4:6
God's general will is defined
in scripture, but His specific will varies from person to person.
- A son or daughter of God will be led by
God's Spirit. Romans 8:14
- Do not expect God to lead you in a specific
area if you are rebelling against or neglecting His
general commands that are found in scripture.
(Prayer, Bible reading, witnessing, making disciples, exercising agape love, etc.)
God teaches, trains and guides
us that we can make wise and mature decisions. Psalm 1
- God's ultimate goal is to conform us
to the image of Christ and He is glorified when we make the right decisions.
- If you want direction from God you
must acknowledge God in your life. James 4:19
- You must be willing to
stand alone and to be different.
- Do you know God's voice? John
- Let God worry about the talking, you
worry about listening for His voice and then obeying it.
The key is not to follow all
the right steps, but to listen.
God wants us to be satisfied
with Him as our Savior.
For further study see; Romans
12:1,2, Ephesians 5:8-10, Acts 16:7-10 Acts
5 Steps to
Openly acknowledge God, seeking
to honor Him in all things.
Check to see if you are
violating any known commands of scripture and then correct these areas as
God reveals them to you.
Ask for specific direction
through prayer but be willing to wait for His answer in His time.
Move forward by faith serving
God and proving His will where able.
Be willing to adjust your
course no matter what happens and believe that He will direct your path.
- The end goal is not
building a program, furthering your own plans and dreams, building a name or
legacy for yourself, but following God's will and glorifying Him through
- Do not forget how God
has guided you in the past.
- He will lead you all
the way until you step into eternity! Colossians 1:9-10
- There are two
questions to be asking yourself;
1) Am I being faithful to obey God's
known commands? And
If yes, what step do I need to take in doing something for God?
The morning following this message I read Proverbs 15 and two verses jumped off of the page at me they fit so well with this theme. Verse 19 says, "The way of the slothful man is an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain." In my journal I had written, If I am being lazy, not doing what I know to do then I have noright to see the path made plain before me. But when I walk in righteousness, obeying what I know I am supposed to do then God has promised to make my path clear. Step out in bold faith and joyful action trusting God to direct, lead and guide you. And then verse 33, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and before honor comes humility." Before the great, honorable task comes the daily, humble ones.
Well, that is all I will be posting from our Shindig adventures, but I hope these messages have been an encouragement and blessing to you as they were to me! A huge thank you goes to No Greater Joy Ministries for a truly amazing week!
-Your responsibility is not just to your spouse, it is a responsibility to God. - You won't stand before God and give an account for your spouse's conduct, you will give an account for your words, your thoughts, your deeds and how you carried that responsibility. - A wife's unwillingness to submit to and reverence her husband is really an unwillingness to submit to and reverence God. (Ephesians 5) - We act in accordance to the Word of God because it is the Word of God. - A wife's submission is an act of pure worship. It brings a crown of honor to God. James 4:6 - Humility is when you come to God and say, "God, you are right and I am wrong." It requires faith. It requires understanding that God is more important. -1 Peter 5:6 - We don't get to pick the time when God will exalt us, but it will come. - These thoughts completely alter the way we look at marriage. It is not a formula. It is saying, "This is my job and I am going to do it before God." - Does God deserve your respect, honor and submission? - Christ extended forgiveness and love to those who crucified Him. This is God's challenge to us- extending His love no matter what. - We don't get a list- we get concepts, "husbands love your wives," "wives, honor your husbands." Matt. 22:36 -The #1 commandment in marriage is LOVE. -Let's get past the "I don'ts" in marriage. "I don't run around on my husband!" "I'm not unfaithful to my wife!" "I don't throw things at him!" "I don't beat her!" -Let's start keeping the "I Do's" of marriage; you know, the commitments that were made on the wedding day? - An "I Do" list to get the thoughts flowing : ) - patience 2 Tim. 2:21 - gentle - it takes time - leadership ( for husbands, Gen. 3:6, Job 2:9) -joy (this is #1 for the wives) -the best barometer for the house is the wive's forehead! Have some joy! -Ten minutes of joy will change the next 5 Hours! - thankfulness. There is nothing more marked in a home than the spirit of thankfulness. Thankfulness is a sacrifice to God, it is why we were created. John 2:9, Heb. 13:15 -peace. Peace does not just happen, it is established by words, easy to be intreated, no bitterness. -hopeful. -Looking forward to something with expect. 1 Cor. 13:14. Build hope or you will build anxiety and fear. Having hope gives you the ability to minister to those who have no hope. - Your responsibility in marriage is not just to your spouse, it is a responsibility that you committed to before God. It is meant for life. It is an expression of worship. It is not about you, it is about loving service to God! - If you want to be used of God in a mighty way, if you want to bless others, then understand this in your marriage and commit to this responsibility before God!
"Serving God in Your Youth"
-Panel discussion given by Nathan Pearl, Shalom Brand, Debi Pearl, and Joshua Steele
-Unless God does something drastic in your life, if you aren't interested in the things of God today you won't be interested in serving Him later! (How's that for an opening comment? :)
- You start serving God when you are young, where you are at and to who you are around. -God has given you an opportunity to serve him by obeying your parents (and other authority figures that He has placed in your life). The story of David was discussed and used as an example of a young person who was faithful in the little things and therefore received much greater things later in life. He cared for the sheep, protected them, fought for them. He quickly obeyed his father in going down to the battle carrying cheese for his brothers. He didn't know that God would use him that day to accomplish a great victory for God! He was just doing as he had been told to do. -After David had killed the lion and bear he could have hit the road talking about how to overcome the lions in your life, but he didn't. He stayed and did his job. - After slaying Goliath he could have hit the road talking about how to overcome the giants in your life, but he didn't. He returned to do the job that he had been given. He was faithful to do that which he knew needed to be done, waiting on God to give him more responsibility as a result of his daily obedience and walk with God. - There was something in David bigger than himself! -Until God calls you to do something specific do what you know to do. -Some examples from those giving this discussion: Joshua Steele says that from the time he was fourteen he wanted to be serving God. God convicted him of submission to his parents and having a clear conscience; he addressed those issue in his life. He passed out gospel tracts and Bibles, knocked on doors with his friends, and went on mission trips. He determined that nothing would hinder him from serving God completely, to the point that late one night he carried the video game he was addicted to out to the garage and broke it into little pieces with a hammer to show God that he meant what he said! Shalom (Pearl) Brand shared about how she served her family, helped her Dad with the ministries they were involved in, served other busy mothers, and passed out tracts with her siblings. Nathan Pearl recounted some of the adventures he and his sister had while working in a mountainous village of Papua New Guinea translating the Bible into a never-before recorded language. Before that he did much the same as every other person, being faithful in the things that seem little. - Debi Pearl shared about how hard it was as a mother to let her children go out and pursue the vision that God had given them. She said that alot of parents raise their children to be 15, 16 years old and then they want to close the door and keep their children close and safe. The children then never have the chance to make a difference in the world for the glory of Christ. Parents, don't shut the door when God calls your young person! -God likes pathetic things. He's not concerned with quality, He's concerned with the heart of the person behind the pathetic, little thing. He wants to see a heart that desires to serve Him and honor Him in what they have been given to do. That is a person that God will take not of (as he did with David) and can use for great things in the future! -If you are unwilling to follow God in the little things then you won't be ready for the big things!
Today, there are still lions and giants that need to be slain, battles that need to be fought, victory that needs to be proclaimed, great tasks that need to be accomplished for the glory of God. But if you and I will have any part of this we must begin today.......serving God in our youth, doing what we know to do. The Lord is still looking for those that he can use, those who are committed to following Him no matter what, those who are not willing to let anything get between them and God, those who carry His message of saving grace, those who seek to honor and please him in every aspect of their life. Will you be that one?
Here are a few snap-shots from five days of hotel-living! Ten people, one room, one
queen-sized bed, three twin-sized bunk-beds and several piles of suitcases,
coolers, back-packs, 'survival gear' and various other belongings all added to the fun of the week! : )
Luke chapter 5 tells us the story of the man who was sick of the palsy that came to Jesus and was healed. This man immediately "rose up before them , and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today."
We also read a story in this same chapter of a man named Levi who was sitting at his money-making job when Jesus passed by and simply said, "Follow me." Of Levi we read, "And he left all, rose up, and followed him." Levi then made a great feast and invited a great company of sinners that Jesus might eat with them and share Himself with them just as Levi had experienced.
The very first mark of a man that truly follows Jesus is that he wants to tell you about Jesus. (This would apply for a woman that truly followed Jesus, too :)
When you follow Jesus you don't get to take Him to your program. We don't get to pick the field that God sends us too.
The first step to following Jesus is this; "Jesus, I love you."
The great thing about following Jesus is that we have a destination, a goal that needs to be reached. And here is what it looks like. Ephesians 4:32-5:1, "And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. And be ye followers of God as dear children."
Revelation 19:13-16, "And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called the Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon whipe horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God, And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." This is the One Who we are following! the King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe, the Word of God, the One Who has saved us by His precious blood! Why should we not want to follow Him?
Some other scripture passages to look at for further study; Matt. 4:18, Luke 14:26, Matt. 19:20. John 21.
Ephesians 4:31, 32, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and
clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
In Matt. 18 when Peter was asking Christ how many times he should forgive his brother, "seventy times seven?" he was not seeking to forgive, he was looking for the soonest possible time to condemn that brother and have a reason to justify his own hurt.
Passive forgiveness is NOT forgiveness!
Heb. 12:15, Bitterness usually starts in the heart of just one person, but then spreads until it effects the entire group.
James 3:14-16, The devil has many ways to cause destruction in a group of believers or in a ministry and bitterness is a big one.
Psalm 15:2, "speaketh the truth in his heart." We may try to excuse our anger or bitterness, or any other kind of sin, but what we really need to do is to be honest with our own hearts and admit our sin for what it really is.
Romans 5:6-8, Remember what God forgave us of and what it cost Him to do so. With this perspective what we have to forgive others of will seem very small indeed.
Four Steps to Active Forgiveness
- It's not about the steps, it is about a willingness to obey the Word of God and do what is right.
1. A commitment to follow God's Word no matter what. Obey!
-Pr. 16:3, You're going to win when you commit your works to the Lord.
2. Remember the danger and destruction of having bitterness in your heart, what starts as a
secret in your heart will spring up to hurt many. (Heb. 12:15)
3. Focus not on how much you have suffered but on how much you have been forgiven by
God and how much He suffered in order to forgive us. (Romans 5:8)
1 4. Seek ways to actively bless that person who has hurt you. (Matt. 5: 43,44)
-Active forgiveness is doing good to those that hate you because it is right and it is what God
did for you.
- The expectation is that we should do more for those who have wronged us than what a lost
person does for that person. ( Matt. 5:46)
-How can we practice active forgiveness in our own life?
1. Make a list of all those who have hurt you and against who you hold bitterness.
2. Seek how you can actively bless each of the people on your list. (i.e. sincere
compliments, thoughtful gestures, a gift, going out of your way to speak to them or
This past week our family had the privilege to attend No Greater Joy's annual Family Conference. We had an incredible time -along with around 2,200 other people- attending the incredible sessions, fellow-shipping with other families who also loved the Lord and were seeking to serve Him, eating delicious food, playing volleyball and other organized activities, meeting other families and being inspired and challenged to press forward serving God in whatever ways He has called us to do so!
It will take several posts to capture the week's events and even then I know I will not do it justice! We praise the Lord for the wonderful time He gave us together as a family and for the great work He is doing in and through the ministry of No Greater Joy! North Carolina, Here we come!
Beautiful scenery as we drove....
The shindig was held at the
Ridgecrest Conference Center in Asheville, North Carolina.
The weather was beautiful!
We stayed in the "Royal Gorge."
The campus was large enough to accommodate
3,000 people so we spent a lot of time......walking!
Practice sessions and impromptu jams
were happening everywhere! We enjoyed
pausing to listen as time permitted :)
Call us silly- but several of us enjoyed
catching rides on this nifty little thing!
The main auditorium.....
......now packed with some 2,200 other people!
(M.C. and Keynote Speaker)
"Look! It's Mike Pearl!!"
Missionary to the Ukraine
The Rodriguez family
on their way to the mission field of Mexico
The Meggs family
of Roanoke, Virginia
Mike Pearl playing his "saw"
(yes..this is a hand saw and fiddle bow)
The Keen children playing their violins
and reciting scripture passages
The "soggy britches boys"
of Cane Creek, Tennessee
The children's choir practiced every day
to sing for everyone on Sunday!
And Liberty was brave enough to join them!
(Lower left corner :)
And a World-Championship Knife-Throwing and Whip-Cracking Act! :
Mike Pearl has won several awards and gold cups in
international knife-throwing contests. He also won the