Friday, May 23, 2008

Chapman Family Tragedy

The following article was on today's Christianity Today website. Let us all join together in prayer for their family.

by Anne Thomas, Friday, May 23, 2008

Christians the world over have been expressing their sympathy for Grammy Award-winning singer Steven Curtis Chapman after his 5-year-old daughter was killed in an accident on the family’s driveway on Wednesday.

Maria Sue Chapman was the youngest of three Chinese girls adopted by Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, after a visit to China awoke in them a deep love for the country and its people. She was hit by a car driven by one of her brothers on the driveway of the family home in Franklin Tennessee in what local authorities have described as a “tragic accident”.

The Chapmans have three biological children, two teenage sons Will Franklin and Caleb, and 21-year-old daughter Emily.

Brian DeVos, manager of Michigan operations for Bethany Christian Services and a family friend of the Chapmans, was quoted by Michigan News as saying, "They are loving and wonderful parents and a great family - they must be devastated. He's (Steven Curtis Chapman) been such an advocate for adoption - I know their commitment to kids."

Chapman and his wife have helped families adopt children through their charity Shaohannah’s Hope.

Chapman’s manager, Jim Houser, wrote in a message on the Shaohannah’s Hope website, “Your prayers are needed for all in the Chapman family. This is a family who has so generously loved and given to so many.

“Just hours before this close knit family was celebrating the engagement of the oldest daughter Emily Chapman, and were just hours away from a graduation party marking Caleb Chapman's completion of high school.

“Now, they are preparing to bury a child who blew out 5 candles on a birthday cake less than 10 days ago.

“These words are unthinkable to type. And yet we trust in a God who was not surprised by this and because of Jesus I am certain through faith in Him we will see Maria again.”

Local Christian music radio station WJQK-FM said it had opened up its phone lines and that people were calling in to pray on air for Maria and the family.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Walking the Walk

"What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, 'You have faith, and I have works.' Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. "

(James 2:14-24, NKJV)

Pondering these words today, and how it applies to where I am in life. I keep hearing the word, "Obedience."


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tribute to the Diva

I have just read what is supposed to be the last post for our dear Ragamuffin Diva, Claudia Mair Francis Burney.

We're going to miss you, dear friend, but I'm still looking forward to the MANY books you will publish!

God bless!!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Post of Many Subjects

How is that I can go for days, or even weeks, without even one idea for a blog post...and then I get too many ideas all at once???

First, happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. And for those who long to be mothers, my prayers are with you. May God fill your day with thankfulness for all His blessings.

Second, I have to share a new photo of "my" Isaiah. He's growing up so fast! In this pic, he's "helping" his grandpa with the mower. Isn't he just too, too cute?! (Don't worry. The mower was not running!)

Third, tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday, too. This is something God is reminding me to really focus on.

You see, I grew up in the Assemblies of God. Our "distinctive" was the "pentecostal experience": speaking in tongues. Yet it seemed that every year, Pentecost Sunday mostly just got a mention in the church bulletin, without there being much focus on why we had Pentecost Sunday, the history of the day in the church, or even a time spent seeking the Holy Spirit's outpouring in our midst. To be fair, we had many sermons on the Holy Spirit, and many services dedicated to that aspect of our faith. Still, I feel like I sort of missed out on what should have been the "day of days" in our movement.

So now coming at this from a Catholic perspective, I see the day in a bit of a different light. It is, truly, the crowning and inauguration of the Church's new life after Christ's ascension. The Spirit came upon the believers in the upper room, showed Himself in wind, fire, and through the speaking of different languages...and in Peter's new boldness to preach the message of Christ, no matter what the consequences. It is truly a glorious day in the history of the Church. But it really is NOT about speaking in tongues. It is about the Giver of the gifts, not the gifts themselves, right? It is about Him making us into the people (and the Church) He wants and needs us to be to reach the world with the truth of the Gospel. It is about "being empowered" by the Spirit of "Him who raised Christ from the dead". It is about being full of Him and spilling Him forth into the lives of everyone around us.

Happy Pentecost Sunday!


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Speaking the Truth in Love

One of today's Scripture readings is from Acts 20. This section especially caught my attention:

"And from Miletus he (Paul) sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. And when they came to him, he said to them: 'You yourselves know how I lived among you all the time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which befell me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house...' " (vs. 17-20, RSV)

The highlighted portion really struck me. Paul didn't hold back anything from them that was "profitable". In other words, anything that would help them draw closer to Christ and live more like Him. Even if they sometimes had to be hard words. If you've ever read any of Paul's epistles, you know he sometimes had to use "tough love." He basically showed his love by pointing out ways the people were not living as they should. Abuses of different kinds, or public sins they were allowing to go unchecked. He didn't say these things to be mean, or to show how spiritual he was in comparison. He did it out of love, so that they would grow in their faith. There was never any malice.

I read a devotional today that challenged me in this area. The author said, "Are there people in your life who could use a dose of the truth delivered in love? Are you open to having others pose a gentle and loving challenge to you sometimes?" (David Nantais, Living Faith)

Wow. I am a very non-confrontational person. I sometimes avoid it all costs. But do I avoid it at the cost of some one's place in eternity???

Like most people, I don't enjoy having people point out areas where I need improvement. But do I close out words that could help me grow more to be like Christ?

Food for thought...