Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Just a Little Christmas News

I hope you all had a joyous, wonder-filled Christmas. My favorite part is watching the kids' faces as they open their gifts.

My best gift came from my husband. A note in a little box, telling me of his gift: a trip to see my family in Kansas!!! We will be heading west in about 1 1/2 weeks...which means I get to be there for my "big" birthday (yes, that 4-0 thing I mentioned previously).

Thanks to all for the wishes via e-mail and posts.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

And A Little Child Will Lead Them...

The pre-Christmas hustle and bustle stresses me out.

Don't get me wrong. I'm no Scrooge or Grinch. I love the lights. I love singing the carols. I love the anticipation of celebrating the birth of the Savior. I love buying gifts for my kids and husband. I enjoy seeing the tree lit up, weighed down with our menagerie of ornaments. This year, I've even become quite a Christmas movie buff. (I especially like the old ones: "It's a Wonderful Life", "White Christmas", "A Christmas Carol" (with George C. Scott), "Miracle on 34th Street" (black and white version with Natalie Wood). I'd like to see "The Nativity". And, of course, my two childhood faves, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas".) I like seeing the house looking all festive. I love all the church services, each with their own special significance and meaning.

But when it's all said and done, it mostly makes me...tired. I lose the joy somewhere along the way, somewhere between the gift-wrapping and the cookie-making. It all just becomes part of what I have to get done before Christmas Day arrives.

However, thanks to two wonderful young boys, I have recently seen the beauty of Christ's spirit put back into my Christmas preparations.

A couple of weeks ago, we had some measurable snow here in northeast Ohio. It was one of those times when it snowed awhile, then let up. Then it snowed some more. Off and on all day, and into the night. By the next day, the driveway needed another going-over. While we were finishing up some school work before lunch, my oldest son, who's 10, looked out the front window. He saw our elderly neighbor attempting to clear her driveway. As soon as they could, both of my boys (the younger is 7) headed across the street to shovel her driveway. Miss Stanna doesn't speak much English, as she immigrated here from Europe when her home country erupted in civil war. She is a sweet, sweet lady. When the boys were finished, she gave each of them a hearty, "Thank you!" and a big, shiny apple for their efforts. I was so proud of both of them! They did it just because they knew it was the right thing to do, even knowing our own driveway still needed to be cleared.

The other incident occurred just yesterday. We had gone out to do some shopping, as they still needed to finish buying some gifts. As we went into the store, my oldest son said, "I need to make sure I don't spend too much, though, Mom. I have to have some left over to put in that bucket." And, sure enough, when we left the store, both of them trotted right over to the Salvation Army bell ringer, and put some of their money in that bucket. You have to understand, too, that this is their own money: allowances, tooth money, etc. They gladly gave it, knowing that it will help someone who really needs it.

When I see such unselfish giving, given from such pure motives, it makes me want to laugh, and cry, and sing, all at once! For this is the message of Christmas: that Christ came and gave Himself unselfishly for us. He held nothing back in His giving. He gave, knowing that what He would receive in return would be rejection, betrayal, and crucifixion. But He gave anyway. He gladly gave it, knowing that our salvation was worth it all.

This Christmas, may we all learn to give and give, expecting nothing in return...except the joy of knowing we are following in the footsteps of the greatest Giver of all.

God bless you, and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

The whole idea of Advent is a fairly new concept to me. I heard about it some when I was growing up, but didn't really know much about it. Over the past few years, I have come to learn more about what it means. I have grown to love the meaning and the season.

Advent begins 4 Sundays before Christmas Day. Each week, the readings in church are focused on the prophecies of Christ's birth. But they also focus on His second coming. Both emphases remind us that we are to prepare our hearts for His coming: to welcome Him into our hearts, and to welcome Him when He returns in glory.

My prayer for all who read this, is that you have a heart ready to receive Him. That you will be open to all He has for you this Christmas season. And that you will be anticipating His return with great joy!

"He who testifies to these things, says, 'Surely I am coming quickly.' Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." (Revelation 22:20-21)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Someone Has Been Praying!

This morning, the Lord gave me the rest of the words for the song! A big "thank you" to all who have been praying!

I wish I could share the music, too... But since I can't, here is the complete song--finally!

Mary's Song (At Your Feet)

I walk into Your presence, Lord,
I fall down on my face
As I come before You, Lord,
I marvel at Your love and grace.

At Your feet, I find a place of perfect peace
At Your feet, I find a place of sweet release
At Your feet, I've finally found that I am home
So take me Lord; shape me, Lord
While I sit at Your feet

So many voices calling me
Can cause my heart to stray
But when I listen to Your voice
I know You'll show the better way... (back to Refrain)

I come and lay my heart at Your feet
I pour it out to You
And as I gaze into Your eyes,
You give me all of Your heart, too. (back to Refrain)

© 2006.  Joni Renee Johnson.  All Rights Reserved. 

Thanks be to God for this indescribable gift!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Journey Song

It has been requested that I post the words to the song here. I wish I could say it is finished. It is still missing "something". However, I felt I should post what I have.

I hope this ministers to someone in some way. But even if it doesn't, the Lord has used this song to touch and soothe my soul on many days so far. I'm still waiting for the rest of the words.

Mary's Song (At Your Feet)

I walk into Your presence, Lord,
I fall down on my face
As I come before You, Lord,
I marvel at Your love and grace.

At Your feet, I find a place of perfect peace
At Your feet, I find a place of sweet release
At Your feet, I've finally found that I am home
So take me Lord; shape me, Lord
While I sit at Your feet

So many voices calling me
Can cause my heart to stray
But when I listen to Your voice
I know You'll show the better way...

So there it is, dear friends. I know there is more to come. I'm just waiting for the Spirit to whisper it to my heart.

I hope you all had a very blessed Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Just Some Updates

The new baby in our family is forecasted to arrive late May, 2007! By then, I will have hit the big 4-0, which seems about the right age for a great aunt, don't you think??

For those who have asked, the song is still sitting near my piano...more words are there...but it is not yet complete. I'm not sure what God is doing in this, but know it will be okay.

Praying you all have a blessed weekend...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Requesting Your Prayers

In addition to praying for my new little great niece/nephew to be safe and healthy...

Please pray in regard to the song I mentioned in my "Travelin' Music" post. I keep sensing there is more God wants to give me (more words to the same song). I just don't have them yet. There's a sense of the song not being complete.

Isn't that how our lives are? A song God just keeps writing: note by note, and verse by verse, as He makes our life a beautiful melody that draws others to Him.

May your life be filled with sweet music, my friends!

Family News

I have to post this!

We received a phone call from our niece last night. She and her husband are going to have their first child next May or June!!!! I'm going to be a great aunt! My husband said, "I'm already a great uncle." :o) Okay. So maybe I'm going to be an even "greater" aunt???

Anyway, congrats, sweetie! We all look forward to this arrival with great anticipation and joy.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Travelin' Music

As anyone who has read my recent posts already knows, I've been struggling along this journey lately. If you've read the beginning posts, you'll know why. Our family is in a time of transition. As my friend Paula M. would say, "God is wrecking our boxes." It's time to move on to something new.

Something most of you don't know about me is that, next to God, my husband, kids, family, and close friendships, my first love is music. I've been playing piano since I was a little shaver. :o) I play a few other musical instruments, too. I love to sing. One of the joys of my life has been singing praises to God, and leading others to learn to worship Him--beyond the music--from their innermost beings.

I haven't had much music in my heart lately. I've been too wrapped up in "life" issues. My mind and heart have been full of other things. I haven't been focused on worship.

But, my was different. I sat down at the piano to play through some songs we learned in church recently. Then, before I knew it, God was giving me a new song. It was like a fresh spring of water bubbling out of me. Something new from God's heart to mine, to give me new words to worship Him. I really can't describe it. Words fail to explain the joy.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes
down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation
or shadow of turning." James 1:17

Thank You, Father, for this wonderful gift You gave me today.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Measuring Up

I have spent my life worshipping idols.

GASP! What did I just say?

Okay. Take a deep breath. It's not what you think!

All my life, I have looked at someone who is: older, wiser, prettier, wittier, more spiritual, more name it...I have looked at that "someone" and idolized them. Not in that, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image" kind of idolatry. It was more like a, "I'll never be able to be as.....(wise, pretty, witty, spiritual, popular) he/she is. They are just too (wise, pretty, witty, spiritual, popular). I could never measure up to that!"

You know the type, right? That person that never seems to run out of wise advice. The woman who never has a hair out of place, no matter how many children are clinging to her skirts (jeans?). The person who always has a funny line to lighten the mood. The one who seems to be friends with just everybody they meet.

The hardest to deal with, though, is the person who always has the appropriate Scripture for every situation. They can quote it in every version ever translated from the Greek, Hebrew, Latin...and can probably quote it in those languages, too! Because they have studied the original, and know exactly what every nuance of every word is. They are God's best friend. Even in the midst of terrible, fiery trials, they keep their testimony. A smile on their lips. A prayer in their thoughts. They even have time to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. They lay hands on the sick, and see them healed. They are super Christian.

These are the people I have measured myself against since I was a child.

And after my last post, I have been dealing with a terrible case of "I'm-the-dirtiest-rottenest-sinner-who-ever-walked-this-planet-how-can-God-love-and-forgive-me"?
It has been a rough week of self condemnation.

A few days ago, though, I read this verse again. God is not asking me to measure up to all those people I "idolized" for so long. He has a completely different system of measurement. His yardstick doesn't work the same way mine does!

With this passage of Scripture, I close this post. Reflect on it. Meditate on it (roll it over in your heart and mind). I hope it refreshes you as much as it has me.

"With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:6-8

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Journey Struggles

Over the past few weeks, I have been reading a forum which deals with issues in the church with which we were formerly affiliated. I won't go into detail. What I will say though, is that there are a lot of hurting people out there who need your prayers.

What does this have to do with me personally? A lot of those people are my friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ.

There is this "thing" inside me that can't stand it when those I care about are mistreated, lied to, or in some other way wronged. It's that part of me that wants vengeance. Wow. Did I use that word? But it's true. I want the erring party to repent, yes. But I also want to see them do some groveling and major "making of things right". And that thing inside me is like a mother bear protecting her young: you hurt someone I love, and I will attack!

Shocking, isn't it? Most people who know me think I'm this gentle, meek person. I've been accused of being a "goody two shoes". If they could see my heart, they would know differently. Because the attack I was speaking of doesn't usually come out where others can see it. It's an anger I bottle up inside. When my little fingers want to spew it out on the forum, the Holy Spirit just won't let me. But it's still in there. And it is like cancer to my soul.

I am angry and hurt that so many people I love have been hurt. And I want to see those who did these things hurt, too.

But a post on that forum reminded me of these words:

"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors...For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:12, 14)

Ouch. And there isn't even a clause in there that says, "If they want to be forgiven." Or, "If they ask your forgiveness."

The Amish families in Pennsylvania have shown this truth in such a remarkable way. The man who brutally murdered and injured their daughters is dead. His family is living with the results of his actions. But are the Amish looking for some way to extract retribution? Are they trying to get their "just due" from the man's family? Quite the opposite. They are offering love, forgiveness, and prayer for that man's family. Incredible.

Lord, please teach me to share the forgiveness You have so freely given. Help me to let You be the judge. Teach me to show Your love through letting go of the wrongs.

I close with my confession:

Most merciful God,
I confess that I have sinned against thee,
in thought, word, and deed,
by what I have done,
and by what I have left undone.
I have not loved thee with my whole heart;
I have not loved my neighbors as myself.
I am truly sorry and I humbly repent.
For the sake of thy Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on me and forgive me;
that I may delight in thy will,
and walk in thy ways,
to the glory of thy name.

O God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth,
Have mercy upon me.

O God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy upon me.

O God the Holy Ghost, Sanctifier of the faithful,
Have mercy upon me.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Every Part of Me

A few years ago, a CD came out called, "My Utmost for His Highest". The songs were based on excerpts from the Oswald Chamber devotional book. They were sung by various artists. One that has been on my mind today is the song, "God of All of Me", which was sung by Sandi Patti.

There is this hunger inside me, this longing for God to have every bit of me. Every molecule. Every atom. To have total control of every thought, word, and deed. For my every move to be that of a Spirit-led child of God.

Yet there is this "other" me. The one that says, "I can take it from here, God. Just step aside for awhile. I've done this before. I can handle this one. I'll get back to You when I really need You." That's the part of me that gets me into trouble.

The part of me that worries when the car needs to be fixed--again. The part that worries when the utility bills are higher than I'd expected, for no apparent reason. The part that gets angry when people don't act/respond in the way I expected them to act/respond. The part that withdraws into myself when I'm hurt or angry, instead of trying to work it out in prayer. The part of me whose tongue speaks venomous words in a moment of anger.

Paul talked about this battle between spirit and flesh in different ways. There's the Romans 7 passage, where he says something to this effect: "I keep doing what I shouldn't do. But I don't do what I should do. It's this sin dwelling in me! " (vs. 19-20) (This passage always confused me when I was a kid!) Then there's the familiar passage from Ephesians 6:12, that talks about the truth of the battle in a different way: it's not about what we see, but about the spiritual forces we cannot see.

So there are two elements to this: my own sin, and those spiritual forces who are cheering for my sinful self. Those are some mighty big obstacles to overcome, to get to the place of GOD being in control of "all of me".

The great thing is this: God WANTS me to be victorious in this battle. In Romans 8, Paul wrote: "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." (v. 37) God isn't on some power trip. He wants me to conquer my sin and those spiritual forces, because He loves me!

"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, nor electric bills nor car repairs nor unruly children nor bad hair days [pardon the paraphrase] shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (vs. 38-39)

God knows that hungering inside of me. And He has given me the way to get there: through Christ Jesus my Lord.

"Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Corinthians 15:57)

I close with a short praise song I wrote many years ago.

Take All of Me

Here I stand in Your presence
Lord, I want to give my all
So as I come to Your presence,
Oh, dear Lord, please hear my call:

Take all of me
Every part--take all of me
Take all of me
All my heart--take all of me
It's all about surrender.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Where, Oh Where...?

I'm still alive, dear friends. Just haven't had the time nor the brain power to jot down a new post. I shall return!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Words to the Wise

I'm a home school mom. Or should I say, a mom that home schools? Overall, it's a great experience. Especially when I see that little "light" come on, and they "get" something. When they grasp some new concept. Those are the wonderful moments.

But then...there are the not-so-wonderful moments. When I have to leave the room for a brief period of time. With instructions to the boys: "Go ahead and work on your spelling (or handwriting, or math, or whatever!). I'll be right back. Don't bother each other. Just do your work." To which I get the angelic response, "Yes, ma'am." Ahh. Life is sweet.


When I come back, just a short time later, life is anything but angelic! Sometimes it involves flying pencils, erasers, crayons, children...take your pick! Other times, it is simply that there was too much silence in the room when I left. They just have to tell each other something really, really important--right now!

Usually, the first words that come out of my mouth are, "STOP TALKING!!!" Sometimes it works; sometimes, the words need more reinforcement.

When God looks at me, going along in life, keeping busy with all my "whatever": making phone calls, paying bills, schooling my kids, cleaning my house, cooking meals, checking my e-mail, posting on my blog, walking the dog (Oops! No dog here!)...what does He say? When I go to Him in a rushed time of prayer, trying to hurry and get all of it in, what does He say?

I think I can sometimes hear the Spirit whisper, "Stop talking!" (or looking at the computer, or yelling at your kids (do I do that?!), or whatever it is that's keeping you from Me). I'm glad He whispers those words. Maybe my kids would listen better if I whispered to them more often?

Sometimes, we need to just stop. Tell the Martha part of us to just chill out. It's time for Mary to kick in, take a seat, and just listen. Time to shut out the distractions and just sit at His feet. Do some learning of my own.

And when I do, I can also hear Him whisper, "Peace, be still." Words of wisdom for the journey, from the Master of the journey.

May His grace and peace be yours today...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Whose Map?

Have you ever noticed that God's path for our journey is not the one we would have chosen for ourselves? I'm not just talking about the "big" things, either (jobs, locations, church affiliations, etc.). I'm talking about the journey: the day-to-day places of our lives. Still confused? Let me illustrate.

Several years ago, while on my lunch break from work, I chose a booth away from the lunch crowd. I had been around crowds enough at work. I just needed some quiet for a few minutes. As I was finishing up the last of my fries, the Holy Spirit spoke very clearly to me: See that woman over there? The one carrying her tray away from the front counter? You need to go pray for her. My immediate reaction was: NO WAY! God, You know what a crazy morning it has been at the store. I am not going over there, disturbing some complete stranger's lunch, invading her privacy, only to look like a fool!

And why does it matter what anyone in this place thinks of you? You will probably never see any of these people again in your life.

By now, I was starting to get nervous. This was no joke. I am not a "go up to strangers and make conversation" kind of person. Ten years ago, I was even less that type of person! But if this was truly God speaking, how could I disobey?

So, with shaking knees, trembling hands, and a heart that was pounding like a drum...I obeyed. I walked right over to this woman and her friend, and said, "Excuse me. I'm not sure why, but I really feel God wanted me to come over and pray with you. Would that be okay?" She looked shocked (and who could blame her!?). But she said a quiet, "Yes." I honestly don't remember what I prayed for her. It was a short prayer. All I know is, when I finished, she had tears streaming down her face, said another quiet, "Thank you," and I left.

For the rest of that day, I felt so incredibly free! I had obeyed. The woman had been touched. And it hadn't hurt me a bit!

The next time came several years later. While standing behind an elderly woman at our credit union, I overheard her tell an employee, "I don't really know how to handle these things. He has always done all this." The employee assured her that he would personally make sure it was all taken care of. She was called next. I was called to a different teller. As I started to leave the building, there was that Voice again. You need to pray for her. I was in a hurry. I was embarrassed that I had overheard someone else's conversation. How could I pray for her?

I left the building, and walked halfway across the parking lot. I couldn't leave. I turned around and went back. She was just coming out into the entryway. Amidst much fear and trembling, I said, "I'm sorry to bother you, ma'am. But I really feel like I need to pray for you. Would that be okay?" She said, "Oh, please do!" So I did. When I finished my short little prayer, she told me her husband was in the last stages of cancer. She thanked me and hugged me. We both had tears. A few days later, I saw her husband's obituary in the newspaper. I mailed her a simple card, just to let her know I was still praying for her.

THOSE are God's ways of reminding us: you don't choose the path you take--I do. Should you choose not to take the path I direct you toward, others may miss out on something I have for them.

Yes, there have been more times of disobedience than obedience. Just recently, while on a family trip, I saw a man with a very obvious physical condition. He appeared to be in great pain. He was alone. The Lord spoke to my heart, "Go tell Him I love him." I was sitting with my children in a very busy stop area on the Ohio Turnpike, waiting for our food to arrive. There was no way I was leaving my children alone, so I could go talk to a stranger. However, once my husband arrived with the trays of food, I continued my list of excuses.

And I never made the move to talk to that stranger. O God, forgive me. I have prayed for that man many times since that day.

You see, our choices every day don't just affect our own lives. They affect our families, friends, co-workers, and, yes, even strangers.

May you walk according to God's road map today.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

In Memory of Their Journey...

In tribute to those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. For those who gave their lives trying to rescue others. For those who gave up their lives, so that others would not be killed. For those who continue to wage the battle on foreign soil, seeking those who took innocent lives. For those who gave their lives fighting for our freedom. To those who continue to work to make this a safer place for us and our children. May we never forget. May we never cease to honor them. May we never cease to pray...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

"Life" Overrules Blogland

I haven't forgotten my blog. Actually, I miss my blog, and all the great comments from my "blogland" friends.

However, I'm a home schooling mom. So, with school starting Tuesday, life has become a bit more hectic.

Never fear. I shall return!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Stumbling Along the Journey

Doesn't it sometimes seem like our journey of faith resembles one of those "Life comes at you fast..." commercials? I guess, really, it mirrors the Israelites' 40 years of wandering. I can just hear the people muttering:

"We've seen this rock before, Moses."
"Isn't that the same pile of sand we saw last week?"
"I've seen this scorpion so many times, we're on a first-name basis!"
"Wow! Look! Manna again!" (Of course, you have to read the sarcasm into that one.)

Though, of course, Moses could have responded:

"Oh, surprise! Surprise! They're grumbling about the lack of water!"
"If I hear them complain about the manna just one more time..."

I don't know about you, but walking in circles in the desert for 40 years would make me a bit cranky, too. (Never mind that it was their own fault...)

In my personal journey, I seem to keep wandering back to those same old familiar places, too. Worry, doubt, fear, laziness, impatience, frustration, anger...I'd keep going, but you get the point!

The great thing about God is the reminders He gives us along the journey. For me, that comes in a few different forms. It could be a Scripture I memorized as a child. Or maybe it's a line from a favorite hymn or worship song. Something I heard in a sermon. Once in awhile, it's a quote from one of the saints. Sometimes, the memory of a conversation shared with a cherished friend. (My own advice comes back sometimes, too. That's always a zinger.) Or even (gasp!), something I read in a forwarded e-mail.

The most potent ones come from the lips of my own children. Who knew so much wisdom could be stored in the hearts of my mischievous sons? Though, I often wonder, too, if it's simply the Holy Spirit speaking, using my boys as His instruments of correction to my wandering feet.

And where am I going with all this? Just to say this: No matter how many times we've re-visited our particular sand dune, GOD IS FAITHFUL. He provides some great road signs to bring us back to the path He desires for us. God is faithful, even when my wayward steps take me in yet another circle. He draws me back to His "paths of righteousness for His name's sake." (Psalm 23)

I close on this thought with reflections from two beautiful Psalms:

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall
not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him
with His hand." (Psalm 37:23, 24, NKJV)

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken
and a contrite heart--these, O God, You will not
despise." (Psalm 51:17)

My prayer for you today is Philippians 1:6...until next time.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

An article to check out

I read this article on Christianity Today's website. Thought I'd pass it along. Let me know your thoughts. If the link doesn't work, try going to and search for the article, "A Call to An Ancient Evangelical Culture."

 Article Link

Friday, August 25, 2006

Steps Along the Journey

Okay. Before this blog becomes duller-than-dirt and my readers all get that glazed-over look, thinking, "She's going to just sit there day after day, and chronicle her life for us. Whoopee."...let me say, this is going to be the condensed version.

The main reasons I mention my time at college are twofold: first, I met my husband there. Very important part of life! Second, it was a time of great changes and formation in my spiritual life. I began as a music major, but ended up graduating with a degree in missions. I never intended to find myself a husband, either. But God gave me a very dear friend, who I fell in love with, and eventually married. I'm so blessed to be on this journey with him.

We spent the early years of our marriage in ministry of various forms. We ministered in the inner city of Detroit for awhile. We were youth pastors in a couple of churches. My husband worked on staff at a center for those with life-controlling problems (alcohol abuse, drug abuse, etc.). We ended up in a small church, pastoring a great group of people.

During this time, my husband began to wonder where he got his authority from, to teach the things he taught about Scripture. I mean, the bottom line is, ANYONE can say, "The Spirit told me to say such-and-such..." But where was the authority to say, "This is what the Church has always taught, and I am not the only one saying this."?? This led him to a study of the early Church Fathers: those who were discipled by the twelve Apostles and their disciples. Without going into a long, drawn out explanation, suffice to say, we needed to make some changes.

We left our pastorate, and became part of a communion of churches that were claiming just that: to be a part of the churches that taught the faith as handed down for centuries, beginning with the Apostles. Our journey had to continue from there, though. This was simply another group trying to say that the Church had made mistakes, and they were there to correct them. We were looking for the Church.

And now, we are attending a Roman Catholic Church. Wow. Not where I thought the journey would take us. As I said in my original post, it's a scary journey. I am learning things about the Catholic Church that I never thought were true. There are still lots of questions, but I think there always will be. That's how we grow in our faith.

And so the journey continues...I hope you can bear with me along the path.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Journey Begins

Even as a child, I knew about "knowing Christ". My parents raised me in a solid, godly home. Church was a natural part of that. Christ's teachings were the foundation of our family. My parents taught me to tithe at a young age. (Okay. My allowance was a dime...but still!) I never had any doubts about the true meaning of Christmas or Easter. My parents lived out their faith.

As I grew into preteen life, there became a bit more of an awareness of the need for a personal relationship with Christ. I began looking at the words of the hymns, realizing they were words to live by. I began reading my Bible. And even more as I became a teen, I saw with even more clarity the need for the Holy Spirit's work in me personally. I even began listening to sermons! And (gasp!) taking notes!

During my teens, I went on three missions trips to Central America. Those trips changed me forever. I will never again view the American lifestyle or even the American definition of Christianity in quite the same way. I was exposed to true poverty for the first time in my life. I saw people who had a shack with a dirt floor, with little food, and large families, with a Christianity that outshined anything I had ever known. Those trips caused me to look deep inside and wonder what Christ was asking of me--one who had been blessed with so, so much.

This is when the journey took me to Bible college...

And that, my friends, is a post for another day.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The journey began as a child, in my heart desiring to "know Jesus" continued as I sought to know Him more, to live for went along as I followed His call on my I married, and had we ministered in various ways and places...

Today, our journey is leading us to a place I never thought it would take, and the path is a bit scary. (Okay, a LOT scary, at times!)

These are just the thoughts of a sojourner. You're welcome to come along.