Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Church Search

I don't have anything particular to say about our hunt for a church... just that I hope ya'll will keep praying that we find a church soon. I admire those who can slip into any church and make it their home. In fact, I always wondered why a person DID have to look around for awhile to find a "fit." I suppose sin/discord is what split the paths of different churches in the beginning, and now the U.S. is filled with all kinds of options: styles of music, quality of songs chosen, styles of preaching, quality of sermons preached, number of internal ministries and to what ages those ministries apply, number of outreach types, views of missions, doctrine varieties, formality of worship service... and the list goes on. It's like ordering a drink at Starbucks. You put all your favorites together in one cup, and the drink is a perfect match for you! --Grande chai latte, two extra pumps of chai, soy milk, no water. -- (Actually, try that one! It's the best!)

I'm quite sad, actually. Sad that churches have realized that there are people searching for the right service for them, so they have tried to accommodate those seekers. "What do the majority of the people want from a church, and how can we give it to them?" What is church anymore? Is it merely the display of the outward gifts all in one hour? Does it resemble anything like it used to when the Church first began? I'm tired. I don't want to go to another church that boasts of its music, its large choir or its grand building. I just want to go to a church that is growing disciples and helping them see how God wants to use them, first in their community, then let God tell them from there.

Please don't misunderstand. I am certainly NOT saying to get rid of the organized church. I'm just thinking we should look more carefully at why we place in our service what we place in there. Do we have a special song in the service because a particular person felt moved to share a message through music with the congregation? Or is it just a hurry-and-find-a-piece-because-I'm-on-the-schedule song being shared in church? (Which, by the way, I'm guilty of doing.)

Needless to say, though we've visited some super churches overall, I'm struggling to even care for one of them. Though Matt and I are BOTH going questioning much of these things, in his wisdom he is able to also allow himself to truly enjoy many different styles of churches. I am so thankful that I have him and his upbeat approach to help me work through difficult issues. It is wonderful that he is upbeat, but it is definitely his wisdom that makes him like Christ and his ability to show me my sin in wanting to pull away from the mainstream church because I am beginning to strongly disagree with it. He's right is saying that I should love all people where they are, as Christ loves me right where I am... which is no where near where He plans to bring me! (Thank you, Matt, for reminding me how far from Christ I really am!) :0)

So, onward, Christian soldiers... right? We'll keep looking. Please keep praying for us as we go through our church search.

-Posted by Molly.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Country Gospel Jam

Friday night the Foster family, Joel, Birne and Lynella came over to Stone House for a little jam session. We all played or sang, and we rotated instruments now and then. Songs ranged from "I'll Fly Away" to "Long Black Train." Some songs we played three times (ahem). Matt and I sure enjoyed playing with them. We hit the sack at about midnight.
(Ken, Molly, Matt--being goofy--, Holly, Joel)
(Molly and Matt)
(Molly and Matt)
(Ken and Lisa)
(Holly, Matt and Joel)
(Birne and Lynella)
(Birne, Lynella, Ken, Lisa, Holly, Matt and Joel)
(Holly, Matt and Joel)


It was a fun night, and we're all looking forward to another time we can sit down and play some more! Ken and Lisa taught me a bit of the mandolin, and I'm excited to learn more from them!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Roping and Teamwork

The Cowboy Church of Harrison County had an outreach Thursday night. Here's a video of our time at the Team Roping.


Out on the Balcony with Matt and Joel

While Matt was blowing up his inflatable kayak, Joel decided to hop on the displaced exercise bike and talk with us. Before we hear from Joel, here's a confession from Matt:


Now... Here are two videos of meeting Joel. We wanted you to get to know him a little, but he was really busy riding the stationary bicycle...


And he could maybe be a pirate...


Monday, August 10, 2009

It's All Gravy

Yesterday at at Dairy Queen, Matt and I were eating with the Fosters (you met Ken in an earlier video) and a man named Homer.  We all went to the Cowboy Church together...  Well, now, I got my chicken fingers in a basket with fries, and Ranch dip in the middle.  I opened my Ranch, and it looked a bit translucent for normal Ranch.  So I said, "What is this?"

Holly Foster (17 today!) giggled and said, "That's gravy!"

Knowing there were NO mashed potatoes anywhere in sight I said, "Okay... what do I do with it?"

Holly's expression turned quite serious, and she put her hand on mine and said (in her southern accent), "Do they not have gravy where ya'll come from?"  

I laughed and told her we DID, but not at Dairy Queen.  Long story short, she felt really sorry for us and our shortage on gravy.  I sure enjoy that family.


Well, anyway, one more story...

At the start of this weekend I let the Enemy get to me... I began to fret a tad about financial support.  I'm confident that the prayer support will come, but finances... I was unsure.  Monday (today) came, and the mail was announced, but there was sadly none for Matt and me.  THEN... Matt came over to my cubicle awhile later to show me that his grandparents' church had donated a special gift to our ministry!  I was very excited, and I sincerely expressed gratitude to the Lord.  Then the business office distributed three more gifts!  One quarterly gift and two special gifts!  It reminded me of the hymn "His Eye is on the Sparrow."  Do you know it? 

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain


So, now I don't feel discouraged... I know He watches me.


Cowboy Church Visit!



Yesterday we visited a type of church I never realized existed until I received exposure to Texas life!  I found out that there are MANY Cowboy Churches in surrounding states, too!
I guess our fear was that it would be a grouping of hobbyists who have something in common outside of their faith, and that would be their MAIN focus.  However, the truth is that they welcomed us warmly, and the pastor delivered one of the strongest, most Biblical messages I've heard in awhile.  Matt and I were quite impressed with the sermon! (Pastor Joe knows his stuff AND how to deliver it!)  We were surrounded by people there seemed very passionate about the Lord, which blessed us so much!

Will we go back?  Definitely.  I'm not sure if we'll stay there, but it's worth looking into.   I really appreciated Matt's note of wisdom... but before I get into that, I want to paint a quick picture for you.

Matt and I visited a church where the college/career group shared a HUGE building with the youth group.  The building wasn't being used by the youth group that evening, but the people who were running the young adult program told us that nearly 100 youth fill this on youth evenings.  There are all kinds of things to do in this gigantic... arena.  Play basketball in a netted area, play video games on one of the 10 screens, watch TV on a giant screen, sit at one of the 12 round tables with a cup of coffee and chat with a friend, or lounge on one of the many couches and take a snooze.  (!)  They said that the middle school-aged students come and just congregate around the video game screens.  We could definitely see why 100+ students would come out to youth group.

So back to Matt's wisdom.  He said that he would be concerned that we would be like the middle schoolers who stare at the video games if we decided to go to the Cowboy Church.  They are unlike anything we've ever been to, and they own many horses (the stable, arena and pasture is right on the church property!), so he would be cautious of us going because of the neat bells and whistles.  We will be in prayer about it.  

One reason why we WOULD be so inclined to attend is because this is a church of many people who were unchurched, causing many of the things that take place in the service to be less regimented.  Matt and I are very passionate about the Church returning to how it originally was... a meeting of believers on the day Christ rose again... not a scheduled program for people to attend, get their fill, and leave with a smile---if the service suited them just fine. 
We would ALSO consider attending because the preaching was not a topic with Scripture inserted to punctuate points.  It was a sermon based on the ENTIRE 55th Psalm, and he used other accounts---in context--- from Scripture to punctuate the purposes he found in the Psalm.  Very exciting!  (Just make sure you hang your hat on the rack before sitting down, so the person behind you can see!)  :0)

All that to say that we ARE still church-looking.  Please keep praying for us, but thank God for giving us fellowship at TECH Team!  What a blessing!



Monday, August 3, 2009

Newletter and New Week

Well, Molly missed two days of work, due to the flu, and we just finished our newsletters that we were supposed to send out Friday. Oops... Behind schedule already! The truth is, if Molly was "up and at 'em," they would have been done, but she wasn't. She was stuck in bed making jewelry or sleeping. She wants to show you her jewelry sometime soon. It was her first real attempt at making jewelry other than strung beads. We'll post it soon. She made over ten pieces.

Our new week started off with a Monday night chicken dinner that was made with bad chicken. Hopefully we stay healthy... Neither of us finished a piece, I don't think. Too bad, too! It was the best job Molly's ever done frying chicken. At least they looked good!

We're continuing to work on collecting video at TECH. Hopefully we'll have more people for you to meet soon!

Matt's Project: Pixelated Version :)