Monday, November 30, 2015

Remembering Una Abbott 2-27-1926 to 11-21-2015

Una Hart Abbott

Kyle's maternal grandmother, Una Hart Abbott answered the call of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to "Come home", Saturday November 21st, 2015.  She was surrounded by His loving presence, and uplifted by the prayers of her family, and many brothers and sisters in Christ.  Her blue eyes are twinkling in God's great universe.  

   She was born February 27, 1926 in Scurry County Texas to William Dewitt "Hoot" Hart, and Ruby Pearl Davis Hart, Texas pioneers and ranchers.  She died the same date as her father, W. D. Hart, Sr., who died November 21st, 1987.    Una was named after her aunt, Una Hart Wade.  She grew up on the family ranch in Gaines County, Texas with her parents and two brothers, W. D. Hart, Jr., and Jimmie C. Hart.  In her youth, Una was a member of the First Baptist Church of Seminole, and the Y.W.A. Girls.  Una graduated from Seminole High School in Seminole, Texas at mid-term in January 1943 with honors.    

Una's Family at her memorial in Temple, TX

   Una then enrolled in Texas Tech University at Lubbock, Texas, where she met the love of her life, James Darwin Abbott of Bradshaw, Texas, a marine recently returned from the Pacific Theater of WWII.  At a campus social, Una asked James to dance, but James said "no", since he really had never danced; but James quickly realized he was "foolish" for turning down such a pretty girl!  He got up, apologized for the slight, they were engaged the next year, and married on December 23, 1945 at Una's parents' home in Seminole, Texas. Her brother, W.D. Hart, Jr., had to give her away in marriage, since her Dad wasn't ready to "get rid of her!"  The marriage coincided with Una's graduation from Texas Tech University at the top of her class.  At Texas Tech, she was a member of the Omega Chapter of Phi Upsilon Omicron sorority.   

   Una next began teaching at Hutchinson High School while James finished his Master's degree at Texas Tech in Agronomy.  James jokes that he "married up", since Una was very scholarly, and helped him pursue his university degrees.  James graduated in 1948, and began a long career with the newly formed Soil Conservation Service (USDA).  They lived in Ballinger, Lamesa, Lubbock, and Littlefield, and moved to Temple, Texas in 1961, the state headquarters for the SCS.    James and Una were blessed with three daughters:  Linda, Susan, and Nancy. Una was an affectionate mother who lovingly used her expert seamstress skills to create countless beautiful outfits for her daughters. She also fostered and encouraged a love of the arts in her girls.  Throughout her home, there were always quiet reminders that the source of her strength in this life was God.  The open Bible, Scripture study notes, and daily devotional books testified of her love for her Savior, Jesus Christ.  Two of her favorite hymns were "Sweet Hour of Prayer", and "How Great Thou Art".  
Una's husband, son-in-laws, brother-in-law, grandson and great grandson
   Una loved the world of academia, and studied her whole life. She did income tax preparation, pursued her real estate license, worked as a consulting dietician at central Texas nursing homes, and went to Mary Hardin-Baylor to become a registered nurse.  Una was also a motivational coach for her family and friends.  She thought everyone should be learning and active in this world we live in!  She loved animals, and had many pets along the way:  Happy, Bridgette, Gretchen, Petey, Max, Sadie, and Willy-Molly.  Una always had a garden, was an avid reader, walked three miles everyday, always voted, kept up with the stock markets and business world, and she loved music, like the Chieftans and Asleep at the Wheel.  She had a passion for antiques, attending estate sales, and stopped at all antique stores, looking for that special treasure.

   Una's dry wit was refreshing and always brought a laugh.  Once, when talking about who committed a high profile crime in Dallas, she was asked who she thought did it; her reply was: "Check the family; they're the only ones that know you well enough to want to kill you!”

   Una's English, Irish, and Scotch heritage began early in the 1600's in the United States with General Abraham Wood.  Her great-great uncle, James Chamberlain Jones invented "stump speaking" when running for governor of Tennessee.

   Survivors include her husband James, daughter Linda and husband Rick Leahy Smith of Temple, Texas;  daughter Susan and husband James 'Jim' Gordon Behnke of Buford, Georgia; daughter Nancy and husband Major General(Retired) Eddy Spurgin of Big Spring, Texas; her brother Jimmie C. Hart, of Seminole, Texas; grandson Jonathon Kyle Behnke and wife Jennifer of Woodstock, Georgia; great-grandson James Kyle Behnke; grandchildren Robyn, Dorci, Clint, and their families; grand-dogs Maggie, Charlie, and Emma; and many Hart and Davis cousins.
Una's three daughters, sister-in-law, and granddaughter-in-law
   She was preceded in death by her younger brother, W.D. Hart, Jr., who was killed in a tragic accident at the age of 21; her parents: W.D. Hart, Sr., and Ruby Hart.    Una's family would like to thank First United Methodist Church of Temple, Gentiva Hospice Care, the Visiting Angels, and all the friends who have held vigil for our beloved wife, mother, sister, and daughter.  We have lost not only a valued family member, but our very dearest best friend.

     Honorary pallbearers are all Soil Conservation Service employees and retirees. Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church, Box 773, Temple, Tx 76503.

   For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."  John 3:16

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Celebrating My First Birthday Without My Mom

Any other year I would have said this was absolutely the best birthday ever! We have so much to celebrate! Our son is healthy and almost two. He is growing up so so fast. Last night he even climbed out of the crib because he wasn't ready to go to bed. We started a trucking company and we are already thinking of expanding.

I got everything I asked for and more for my birthday, but one thing I really wanted I could never have again. One person I wish I could hear one more "Happy Birthday, Muffet! I love you, Jen." But she isn't here. I miss my mom and I wish she could see all we have going on, right now.

I think she would be proud of me and glad my health is so good. No, I know she would be proud of me. I know she would want me to be happy. Except for not having my mom in my life, I would say I am really happy. One thing is for sure, I am blessed.

The main thing that has truly helped me is the strength I have received through the Lord's matchless grace and peace. My husband, Kyle and my family and my friends who have prayed for me, thank you!! I feel your prayers daily and I love each of you!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Story of the Immature Real Estate Agent

In small group last week, we talked about how the Lord will speak to us in the night and seal it in our minds if we have a pure heart. Well, last night was one of those nights!! I had a very vivid dream that reminded me of something my mom would have done, but then I realized it is something Jesus already did for us!

"The Story of the Immature Real Estate Agent"
A young and immature real estate agent was talking to another real estate agent about her commissions. She was bragging because she was such a great real estate agent, she got paid no matter what. The girl explained she was on a real estate team with her mom and they worked together.

The other real estate agent said, "But, that doesn't make sense. If the closing falls through no one gets paid. The buyer even loses their deposit. That is just how real estate deals work."

The immature real estate agent replied, "Well, I am just so good, I get paid either way. I work with my mom and even she says, 'I've got it covered.'"

"Wait, your mom says that 'she has it covered'?! Don't you see? That means she is the one actually paying your commissions when the deals fall through!!! You are 'getting paid no matter what' because your mom is paying your salary out of her own pocket when the deals fall through, not because you are some amazing real estate agent!!! You silly real estate agent, you shouldn't be paid for a job you didn't finish or complete. Your mom is the one who is so incredible and generous. She is taking that burden of losing the commission and paying you."

The immature real estate agent immediately felt remorse for being so proud and then became very humble and grateful for the strong love of her mom.

The moral of the story is:
This parallels exactly how the Lord loves us and why he sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins. He sent Him, even though we are proud, sinful and don't deserve to have our debt paid so we can have a relationship with God. Jesus died for EVERYONE'S sins. He died a tragic, gruesome, awful, painful death so we could have life with the Lord and have life abundantly!! As it is with the real estate agent, some people don't even know it or even realize the gift the Lord has given us, so please share this parable so other people can learn of God's love.

“so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭9:28‬ ‭NIV

Monday, August 10, 2015

Miracle of a food allergy being healed

With permission from Kelly Cavin, I share this incredible story of healing from our Lord, Jesus Christ.  This is a true story of a miracle!!

“I stopped and asked, “Holy spirit can Seth have a donut?” and I immediately heard “yes” and it brought me to tears. We went and bought a dozen for the family that night and Seth had 2 donuts and 1 the next day and has continued to eat food he usually wouldn’t and has had no reaction at all and as well no more pills or breathing treatments.”

We are celebrating the healing of a 7 year old boy who has dealt with food allergies since he was 18 months old.  Thank You, Jesus!! God loves for His children to be free from all sickness! Be encouraged today that healing is possible in any situation!

Our 7 year old son Seth has dealt with food allergies since about 18 months old when we he had a lung collapse b/c of an allergic reaction. Since that point we have had to be very cautious of what we feed him. He dealt with leaky gut which is when you can't digest food and it eats away the lining of your stomach, in turn, causes pain, vomiting and inflammation in his lungs and not being able to breath properly. He has been on an herbal regimen for a long time taking between 5-15 pills a day to help digest foods.  2 sundays ago Wes called for anyone who needed prayer for allergies to come up. We responded and took Seth and Wes prayed healing over his stomach. The next day, mid afternoon I felt the holy spirit tell me to pray for my children so I stopped and did so. In the midst of praying I started thinking of Krispy Kreme and tried to stop and focus on my prayers although i could not stop thinking of it and then it hit me, Seth gets sick every time he eats a donut. I stopped and asked, "Holy spirit can Seth have a donut?" and I immediately heard "yes" and it brought me to tears. We went and bought a dozen for the family that night and Seth had 2 donuts and 1 the next day and has continued to eat food he usually wouldn't and has had no reaction at all and as well no more pills or breathing treatments. We are so thankful and in awe at God's goodness and are excited to watch Seth walk in victory.

--Kelly Cavin

Revelation 19:10 "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

Originally Posted

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Independence Day

When I think about Independence Day, what first comes to mind is the sacrifices our troops have made in the past, and continue to make, so we are safe and have freedom to live in peace as the United State of America. We have freedom of religion, speech, the right to bear arms, the right to protest, the right to stand trial with a jury, freedom of commerce, and freedom to elect our government officials, just to name a few.

We are a country of underdogs who can make something out of nothing and become successful through hard work, sweat and tears. Think about our odds of becoming independent from Britain as a group of colonies. Britain was mighty and had every resource to fight against us to keep us part of their empire. Somehow we found a way to come together to fight and beat them to be free and autonomous, one Nation under God.

They key phrase is we came together. Now 239 years later, we still need to come together. We need to unite to make this country even better. Americans are strong. We know what this country needs. It takes hard work and that is what we, Americans, are good at doing. 

We take pride in doing things the right way, and we don't quit until the job is done and done well. We innovate. We are pioneers. We are not afraid to try something new. We create and we continue to make improvements.  We have a love of life and laughter. We know how to dream and we go after it with all we have. We dream big because that is the only way to dream. 

But most of all we have the right to pursue happiness and we do. I think our founding fathers would be very proud of where we are and where we are going!! We are the UNITED States of America and I want to wish us a very Happy Independence Day. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Disney World and Cocoa Beach

Disney World. It certainly is the happiest place on Earth!!! It's Magical.  It's Adventurous. It's Cultural. It's Futuristic. Going to Disney World was one of my favorite trips. Going to Cocoa Beach was also a great highlight. As I mentioned in my previous blog post before, Kyle, James Kyle, my dad, my brother and his family all went with me.

We stayed at Summer Bay Resort. Kyle, James Kyle and I had a two bedroom condo and my dad and brother's family shared a three bedroom house. Summer Bay had three pools with poolside bars, tennis courts, activity centers, and it was also set on a couple lakes. Disney World was only about 15-20 minutes away, which was really convenient too.

Monday we all went to Magic Kingdom. Since it was Kyle's first time too we wanted to do the adult rides. My dad and brother took turns watching James so we could ride the rides without James. James did the Tea Cups. He was happy watching all the people, the characters and the parade. I look forward to returning when James is big enough to do more rides. He is so little. When he is bigger he will also remember more.

We spent Tuesday at the resort, resting and spending a lot of time at the pool. James was such a natural in the water and loved playing in the pool with us. That was his first time in the water, except for baths of course! Then we went to the T-Rex restaurant in Downtown Disney for dinner.  Every 15 minutes the lights went low and all the dinosaurs lit up and moved around.  Then there were a lot of birthdays and the staff clapped and sang. That was the first time James started clapping too. It was really cute!

Wednesday we went to Animal Kingdom, where James was more able to do more things than at Disney World. We did Expedition Everest right before they closed. We saw the Finding Nemo show, It's a Bug's Life, and we rode the Safari and lots of other attractions! I think James liked the Safari the best. He kept pointing to all the different animals and was waving at them too! Animal Kingdom was Kyle's favorite.

Thursday we went to Cocoa Beach, which was only about an hour away. The first stop was to the famous Ron Jon's Surf shop. Then we went to a hole in the wall restaurant on the beach that was yummy. Then it was off to the beach. Kyle took James' left hand and I took his right and he walked out into the water while he was wearing his little blue crocks. As he was getting splashed by the waves he laughed and made the sweetest noises. It was the type of moment Kyle and I will both never forget. Then we built a big sandcastle and James loved playing in the sand. It was special for me to build the same sandcastle we built to announce I was pregnant almost two years ago.

Friday we went to Epcot. We did everything with James. He liked riding in the boat on Living on the Land, the Lion King show and many others. We met Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie. Minnie ignored me and wouldn't give me a hug. I was hurt but it's ok. :) Then we had an awesome early dinner at the Biergarten. It was in the German area of the World Showcase. They had all the famous German entertainment, including alphorns, Alpine bells, singing, and dancing.

Then Saturday we ate lunch with our friend Sean at Bubbalous Bodacious BBQ. It was delicious! Best sweet tea in Florida. Then we hung out with my dad at the pool. My brother and his family left and we stayed until Sunday. My dad stayed the extra night with us. James did so well the whole trip, especially at Disney World. He didn't even have one melt down or temper
tantrum. He is our little angel baby. Over all it was an awesome trip and I can't wait to go back!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Excitement of our Trip to Disney World

Updated: The cutest thing about our trip so far is James Kyle's reaction when we tell him we are going to Disney World. He starts smiling and gets really happy. He must know instinctively that it is the "happiest place on Earth."

This trip to Disney World comes at a perfect time emotional for me and our family. My dad, my brother and his family are also coming with us. With my mom passing away so suddenly, we have all been mourning since April and will continue. Now, we all need happy memories to start moving on and accepting she is gone.

With all my health issues since James Kyle was born, Kyle and I haven't had a week long destination vacation since I was pregnant. We went August of 2013 to Destin, so almost two years ago. I am not trying to complain because I know we are so blessed!  It just makes this trip very special!!!

I am so looking forward to going to Magic Kingdom, especially. We are also going to Animal Kingdom and Epcot after. We are going every other day to the Kingdoms and then to Epcot. That way sweet baby James Kyle doesn't get too worn out. We're hoping he can nap in the stroller or in one of the indoor baby/kid areas that they have. We'll just have to see how it goes and of course let James Kyle lead the way.

One of the things I am really pumped about is taking that iconic picture in front of the Disney Castle. So, I know what our yearly Christmas card is going to be!! ;)

Here is our daily FastPass+ Itinerary
Monday at Magic Kingdom
Thunder Mountain
Splash Mountain
Space Mountain
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (got an extra FastPass 😉)

Wednesday at Animal Kingdom
It's Tough to be a Bug
Finding Nemo- The Musical
Kilimanjaro Safaris

Friday we don't know where we are going to go!! Stay tuned!!

So that's it for now, more blog posts to come as we explore Disney World this week!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

My first Mother's Day without my mom and second as a mom

My first Mother's Day without my mom and my second as a mom. First I'd like to say a BIG Thank You to all my friends and family that have personally reached out to let me know they are thinking about me and praying for me. It is truly the comfort of the Holy Spirit that is helping me find joy in such a difficult day, which is so close to my mother, Doris Beardsley's, passing. 

To be honest, I am still kind of in shock that she is gone even after a month. I still call her and leave her messages. It feels like I am just waiting to hear from her until she calls me back. When the Lord calls me back we can finish our conversation. We sure will have a lot of catching up to do. 

When we talk in Heaven, I can tell her, again, how much she meant to me. How brave I knew she was, to fight through her pain everyday and never let anyone know how bad it was. She taught me that no one was perfect and to show myself grace. I'll tell her how much I learned from her: being kind and helping everyone as much as I can, being strong and courageous, living my life to the fullest, acting like a lady, learning and improving my knowledge constantly, and most of all loving with my whole heart!!!

Even as I write this I am starting to get emotional, thinking about how I won't hear her voice or her fun laugh again, in this lifetime. Heaven is eternity which will make this lifetime seem short, anyway. It still hurts and everyday it gets a little easier to live with the fact that she is gone. 

I am always going to remember all the memories we had together. Growing up knowing she would do and did anything for me and our family. Respecting her for working so hard to get her PhD in education. All the fun places we went together, traveling abroad and locally. Spending time at the lake on the weekends or even just watching Law and Order at nights growing up.

I am taking comfort that she is  with Jesus and with our Heavenly Father and Lord. She also is resting in such a beautiful place with such a great view overlooking the Atlanta & Buckhead skyline. It is a nice peaceful place to sit and hang out with her. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Jen Behnke remembers her mom, Dr. Doris G Beardsley

James Kyle's First Birthday Party
Doris Beardsley was born in NYC and raised in Bergen County, NJ. She met my dad, Jed Beardsley, when he was on summer break from University of Virginia after his freshman year and the day before her Senior Prom. Their third date was to her high school graduation. They dated long distance all through college and she graduated with honors in only three years from William Patterson University. After college, they got married and moved to Atlanta.  My dad started Emory University's Law School and Masters in Business Administration programs.

Doris began teaching elementary education in DeKalb County in 1977. Then after a few years she went back to school to get a Masters in Education. Then she taught gifted elementary students. She was an awesome mom and still made every soccer game, jazz dance, tennis match, cross country race and still had time to help with homework and school projects. When my brother and I were teenagers she went back to school and after seven years she finished her PhD in Administration and Supervision. She also got multiple Teacher of the Year awards at different schools and one AJC GA Teacher of the year award.

Christmas 2014

Doris had a love for dogs and being on the water. Our home in Peachtree Corners was on the Chattahoochee River and later we bought a private 3 acre lake front cabin. Then more recently they sold that and bought a lake house on Lake Oconee. This is where she loved to play fetch with our dogs. She raised a litter of Vizsla puppies and kept a girl she named Amberley. Once she got Amber certified to be a service dog she took her everywhere with her. The main reason is Amber helped her know when she might fall and would come beside her to let her know.

Lake Oconee 2015

She took her on planes as she traveled to see Michael, his wife Viki, and their two children, two of her grandchildren, Michelle and Steven. She loved to do crafts with them, play and read stories. She also loved her other grandson, her “sweet boy,” James Kyle Behnke.  She loved them all very much. She spent time with her grandchildren any chance she got.

She was a member of Atlanta’s Ivy Garden Club and was appointed as a member to the Life Member committee. She also did Pet Ministry with Amberley once a week at two different senior living homes. The seniors loved Doris. The liked Amber and enjoyed the games they played with her.  It was just one of the ways she volunteered and gave back to the community.

Governor Nathan Deal's Inaugural Ball

Doris loved to travel with Jed and they went all over the world. From huge trips to Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Prague, St. Petersburg, Scandinavia, Germany, Paris, Stonehenge, the Mayan ruins and the occasional trip to Mexico. Of course, she loved photography and capturing all the amazing memories all along her road of life.

Doris will be missed by her husband, Jed, her son Michael, his wife Viki,  her daughter Jen, her husband Kyle, her grandchildren Michelle, Steven, and James Kyle, the Greene family in NJ, her friends, her neighbors, other teachers, students, and her sweet dog Amberley, brother and momma dogs General and Ruby Leigh. The world truly lost a loving, kind, humble soul with a big heart and laugh.  We love you Doris and your memory is living in our hearts forever!! We hope we continue to make you proud.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter 2015 "Unbelievably Believable"

"Unbelievably Believable"
Andy Stanley
North Point Community Church
Easter April 5, 2015
Full message:

We do not believe that Jesus rose from the dead because the Bible tells us so. We believe the Easter narrative because of what Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, James, Paul and hundreds of people said they saw, a resurrected Savior. But, the end of the story comes as a complete surprise to everyone.

The Easter Story:
John the Baptist came first and told everyone to get ready. He told people to get ready for what God is going to do. He told them he was not a Messiah but was paving the way for the One to come.  Then when Jesus came he healed hundreds of people, fed thousands, taught and made disciples. He continued to raise the standards so everyone knew they were sinners and needed a Savior. Then Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and the "crowds went wild."

"If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.” (John 11:48 NIV). Which was bad for them because then their religion and politics came together to undermine the biggest event in history. They would lose their authority. "So from that day on they plotted to take his life." (John 11:53 NIV)

If it was made up Matthew, Mark, Luke and John would have written themselves into the story as heroes. If they made up the stories they would have Spin: courageous, faithful led, sweet skills. Instead they were  Real: real scared, real insecure, real concerned... for themselves.

If you were making it up you would have written them as standing by Jesus when He was persecuted, if he goes I'll go. But it is unbelievably believable. They all denied him and ran off. They were cowards. After he was crucified, none of them stick around even for his funeral. Jesus loses, Rome wins. A fearful believer and a Pharisee buried him and none of his friends were even there!

Jesus' enemies had more confidence in the Jesus movement than Jesus' followers. Then the chief priest and temple leaders went to Pilate. Pilate let them take Jesus' body and they buried it, instead of the custom of letting crucified bodies rot on the cross. So the religious leaders asked Pilate to give them the authority and soldiers to guard the body.

"So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” (Matthew 27:64-65 NIV)

There was no way the Jesus followers would have stolen the body.  Stealing the body was dangerous and pointless. Since they weren't willing to die for him when he was alive, there is no way they would risk their lives when he is dead. Why die for a dead man whose death disproved everything he asked you to believe while he was alive? If Jesus could not save himself, how could they save themselves? If he didn't want to save himself why should they? Jesus' message was all about himself. His death undermined everything he had taught. They last thing they were thinking about was stealing his body.

Now you have: nervous religious leaders, terrified Apostles, despondent women, and confused Roman soldiers. You don't have anyone anticipating a resurrection. You have exactly what you would expect if this really happened.

We're not here because: someone stole a body, someone died on a cross, someone gave a series of lectures. We're here because despondent women to came to re-embalm the body of their precious Savior. They got there and the tomb was empty and Jesus was raised from the dead. Then he lived on the Earth again and hundreds of people saw him as he was resurrected and apostles wrote it all down 30-40 years later.

"Nobody was expecting no body."

In this same the city, where the cowards and women who were not expecting no body now had a very different message. They went into the streets yelling: You killed him. God raised him from the dead. We've seen Him. Now say you're sorry!

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born." (1 Corinthians 15:3-8 NIV)

It was not 100 years later like a fable or fairy tale. Believers during that time, could meet with men and women who saw them. Paul was least of them because he had persecuted Christians, had them arrested, tortured, and killed. How humble he felt now after he believed.

Your faith is not in vain. Your faithfulness is not in vain. When you volunteer and support your local church or in your market place, your faithfulness is not in vain. Your curiosity is not in vain. Your consideration not in vain. Your belief is not in vain.

From a distance it seems unbelievable but when you look at what happened next and through thousands of years it is unbelievably believable. Not because of the Bible. It is because they saw a resurrected Savior. Your your confidence is not in vain.

A prayer: I believe when Jesus died he died for me. I believe he died on a cross and was buried. Jesus rose from the dead and was seen.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Part Four: On Purpose and for a Purpose

The Good Life Series
Gavin Adams
Watermarke Church
Watermarke Curch- "The Good Life Series"

Links to previous FunLovingJen posts:
"The Good Life Series"- Part 1: Taking a Walk
"The Good Life Series"- Part 2: Maintaining Your Pace
"The Good Life Series"- Part 3: Whatever You Do

We believe there is a good God with a good plan. Believing is one thing but discovering it is different because it is deeply personal to you. So he is a good God with a good, unique plan. God's plan is unique to us, because each of us is unique.

There are seven billion sets of fingerprints on this planet and each one is unique. But our individuality runs deeper than fingerprints. Each of us has a unique set of experiences, talents, and temperaments.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14 NIV)

You are created on purpose. Things that are uniquely you: Personality, Passions, Skills, Abilities, Strengths, & Spiritual gifts. Who you are is really important to find out!

"There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why." William Barclay

Who you are= person
Where you are= placement
Why you are= purpose

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)

We are the light of the world?  Yes, who you are is a light. No one is just like you, or placed in your unique position. Your unique placement is at your work place, on your team, in your neighborhood, at home, to just name a few. Who you are and where you are = your purpose.

Person + placement = purpose

We are a light created to illuminate a path to a better way.  Most of us are at church because someone invited you. They illuminated a path. Now we experience a loving Heavenly Father. You are a light when you serve. When you serve with kids, you are a light to the next generation. When you are serving, people notice. Show them your generosity.

But the #1 way to be a light is to show GRACE. Grace is a beautiful thing. Usually you get what you deserve, which makes grace hard to understand. Grace is when someone messes up or sins against you, you love and forgive them anyway. This is what Jesus did. Jesus took on all of our sins, forgave us, and died for us, so we could have a relationship with God. Heaven is here on Earth when we show grace. When people experience our grace, we are showing them what God is like.

Who are you? Where you are? Finding this out makes you a light. Put them together, and you have your purpose. The world is dark. But even a little bit of light can pierce the darkness.

“You are the light of the world..." (Matthew 5:14 NIV)

Whatever you do, shine your light to honor God when you do it. Own our purpose, to shine unique light on our Heavenly Father because we understand what it means to be forgiven. Shine the light of God on the darkness of this world. Light is the only thing that can penetrate darkness.

Be the light of life!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Part Three: Whatever You Do

The Good Life Series
Gavin Adams
Watermarke Church

Links to previous FunLovingJen posts:
"The Good Life Series" Part 1: Taking a Walk
"The Good Life Series"- Part 2: Maintaining Your Pace

Link to next FunLovingJen post
"The Good Life Series"- Part 4: On Purpose for a Purpose

The first week, we talked about how there is a Good God, with a Good Plan, with a plan that is uniquely personal to each one of us. Believing in God's will is one thing, but discovering God's plan is something different. God's personal direction requires a personal connection.

The second week, we talked about walking with God & growing with our personal relationship with Jesus.  If we stop walking with Jesus, his plan for our life stagnates. When we live God's way we discover our way. An obstacle that causes us to stumble, is part of God's way. The list of things that cause us to stumble was very convicting and may have been hard to think about in relation to our struggles and obstacles that can keep us away from God's plan for our life.

If you believe in God or not, we all would love to have a plan for our life!

Gavin told a story about delivering shoe box care packages to children in the Republic of Panama for Operation Christmas from the Be Rich campaign. During his visit he was able to see so many children and their joy of receiving a shoe box of items and toys. One of the stops was at a church where he met Pastor William Wilbur. In 1976 pastor Wilbur had a calling from God to relocate to Panama to start his church. He was there when Panama was under the dictatorship, then the US invasion, when it was very dangerous. He also runs a prison ministry.

Gavin started asking himself questions like:
Have I found a calling for my life?
Have I found a purpose for my life?
Did I have it and now I lost it?

Gavin thought about times like marrying his wife, quitting his job in consulting to go into ministry, and moving to Woodstock to be a pastor at Watermarke. After Gavin's trip he wondered if he knew his plan. What is next for him?

Knowing the plan requires us to know how we define it: Understanding God's personal plan changes our direction. To to go from personally to what is next we have to understand how God's personal plan changes our direction.

Many times Christians pray then wait. Pray then wait. Pray then wait. There is no place more frustrating than God's waiting room. But, when we wait for God's plans to be revealed we become so frustrated we might walk away from God, walk by ourselves, or define our own plan for our lives. This is where the "Good Life" comes in for us. Not knowing God's plan we settle for a good plan, our own plan. What if our struggle was one of definition, not direction. Jesus has a plan, he knows what is next for you, he even has a course correction, which is a huge part of God's personal plan.

In one of Paul's letters, he writes about wives submitting to husbands, and husbands loving your wives as Christ loves us and Christ died for us.... Then he talks about children obeying your parents but also, parents don't make it difficult for them to obey you. Parents be for your kids.

Slaves (indentured, to pay off a debt), obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. (Colossians 3:22 NIV)

We know people work hard when your boss or coach is watching. But God also says, work hard when no one is watching out of reverence for the Lord. For example if you love your wife like crazy, she will love you.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, (Colossians 3:23 NIV)

Your list of whatever you do might be:
Work, marriage, parenting, friendships, recreation, housework, ESPN, whatever you do. Especially when no one is watching!!! Work for the Lord!

since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:24 NIV)

Don't miss what is now because of what is next. It's easier to think of God's future plan for you instead of right now. God gives a calling while you wait on a calling. Whether it is your wife, your children, live like Jesus is in charge. Until God tells you what to do, do what you can and do it to your best of your ability. Then you can have a deep personal relationship now. God has always given you something while you wait.

God is your boss!

Part Two: Maintaining Your Pace

The Good Life Series
Gavin Adams
Watermarke Church
Watermarke Church: "The Good Life Series"

Links to previous FunLovingJen post
"The Good Life Series"- Part 1: Taking a Walk

Links to next FunLovingJen posts:
"The Good Life Series"- Part 3: Whatever You Do"
"The Good Life Series"- Part 4: On Purpose and for a Purpose

How many times do people say to themselves, "If I had what they had, I would be happy." The grass can seem greener when it isn't on your lawn! But, of course every relationship is tricky!!

There is always a journey in any relationship:
The journey starts
You take steps together
The new relationship is exciting
Trust forms over time
Then trust is tested

But in any relationship, if we stop we stagnate. You have to trust each other. If you trust each other you will travel together. All of our relationship problems with Jesus are on our end.

There are three types of relationships with Jesus:
1. Providential
2. Moral
3. Personal

Think about how the apostle Paul planted churches and his books in the Bible he was writing letters to the different churches.  During this time the Romans were immoral.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship." (Romans 12:1 NIV)

Even how unloveable you are, because of God's mercy, God loves you anyway. We need to put God's will over yours, though. The way to honor God is by trusting him always.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2 NIV)

Don't do what the world believes. The world believes this is as good as it gets, but is it? Take a journey with Jesus and allow him to transform the way you think. Renewal in you, through you by Jesus. See yourself how God sees you. You are worth sending Jesus to die for you so, you could have a direct relationship with God. God's providential will asks us to follow. But God's moral will asks us to trust him if we want to discover his plan for your life.

Where do you struggle to trust God?
Loving people that aren't like you?
Praying for your enemies?
Trusting God with your finances?
Coveting people other than your spouse?
Do you need to stop Gossiping?!?!

Our Lord & Savior pauses with you when you pause on your walk with Him. God says "I know why you are pausing, but my grace is enough to not let you fall but you have to trust me." The great news is God's good plan is better than our Good Life.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

Life would be easy if you trust God with your whole heart. The straight path doesn't equal an easy path but it makes the best path. The struggles in our lives certainly don't go away, but we are so close to Jesus we have peace and perseverance.

In conclusion, step into struggles with the moral will of God!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Part One: Taking a Walk

Taking a Walk

The Good Life Series
by: Gavin Adams
Watermarke Church
The Good Life Series, Watermarke Church

Next FunLovingJen posts:
"The Good Life Series"- Part 2: Maintaining Your Pace
"The Good Life Series"- Part 3: Whatever Your Do
"The Good Life Series" Part 4: On Purpose and for a Purpose

First, let's talk about God's Providential Will.

Jesus followers many times will pray, "God I just want to know where you want me to go," in regards to the direction to go with their life.

We think there is a Good God with a Good plan. When he won't tell us what the plan is it can sometimes erode our faith. Is God being distant? Is God not good at revealing the plan for your life?

We have to know deep in our hearts that God's personal plan for our lives is a unique plan meant especially for us. Importantly also, God's will is way bigger than ours.

God has 3 different types of will:
Providential Will- the directions your life will go in that God has decided for you without your permission

Part two of this series covers:
Moral Will- God wants us to live according to His word

Part three of this series covers:
Personal Will- what he will do in our lives

We have to remember that God's Grace is in all three and they are connected.

Then we think about Abraham. Many religions will agree, Abraham is the Father of Faith and just look at his life!

"The Lord had said to Abraham, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you." (Genesis 12:1 NIV)

Maybe Abraham said, "Where?" God would have replied, "I'll show you. Don't worry. I'll show you." This would frustrate some people, to not know where God wanted us to go.

"So Abraham went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abraham was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there." (Genesis 12:4-5 NIV)

When the Bible references the possessions someone had it meant someone had a Good Life. So Abraham was very well off. He stopped at many places including at the great tree of Moreh at Shechem.

"Abraham traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him." (Genesis 12:6-7 NIV)

In those days, people created an alter as a reminder of God's provision with stones. It was a way of remembering that God showed up promised

Is there a reason for God to not tell people the plan for their lives?  Why doesn't God just tell them the plan to at least have clarity. That is what we want. Just knowing the plan is helpful.

Can't God just tell us, "Go toward the west." But, God is strategic. He is the definition of love, so why is He so vague? But there is a bigger question besides where or why...

Maybe God needed to just take a walk with Abraham.

What if God's personal plan begins with a Providential Walk? Where we don't know where we are going, we are just trusting God that He is with us.

Then we think about how Abraham's lineage leads to Jesus!!! But, before God could do something through Abraham, had to do something in Abraham. At every alter, at every step, His relationship with God grew.

God's personal direction always requires a personal connection and Sometimes we need to just take a walk with God.

Some people may be sitting with their arms crossed, looking at God waving to come to follow Him have their doubts.  A connection with God always precedes God revealing His direction for your life.

So the first part is to take a step towards God, to start to follow.  This is a starting point.

If you are not sure and have doubts, that is ok, pick up your doubts and take a step. Faith actually requires doubt. If we knew everything we wouldn't have faith. So doubts are ok, because we are not going to have all the answers.

The next steps is to trust God. Try to have less things around you that may distract you from your relationship with God.
For every obstacle we need to step over each obstacle. Are you scared? That is ok. Do you have curiosity? You must figure it out your obstacles or they will hinder you. Stepping is walking, and walking is growing.

Just remember: Life lived in the centered of God's plan is the best plan!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

How God Parents Us

(Notes by Sharon Turner from Danny Silk's book "Loving our Kids on Purpose")

Is. 59:21  “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,” says the LORD.

The heart of The Father towards you, your children, grandchildren, etc. is based on Covenant.  We want to build lasting relationship by teaching, training, and building momentum from generation to generation.

Our job as parents is to have a heart that trains them up in the way they have been created by God.  They have a natural bent, a calling and destiny because of how He created them.  We want to protect that relational covenant that we have with them so that as they grow into who they are, not who we want them to be.

When we introduce fear, intimidation, and punishment we open up the door of their souls to go on a quest to go look for a better covenant relationship.

We want them to grow up knowing God’s covenant relationship with us and being able to discern between fear and love.  We want them to understand the difference between freedom and control.

Jer. 31:33  “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.

The Law was to be a schoolmaster to drive us to Jesus.  This transition from Old Covenant to New Covenant is we move from an external relationship with God to an internal relationship with God.  Now He lives inside of us and that is a whole different relationship dynamic.  Now there is an internal force inside of me that I relate to from the inside out.

It’s important to understand how important freedom is to God.

There were TWO trees in the garden of Eden.

Gen. 2:9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

You can’t have freedom if you don’t have a choice, you cannot have love if you don’t have freedom.  This is the foundation of how our Heavenly Father interacts with us.

The role of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to teach us to manage ourselves in all the freedoms that God has afforded us.  The Holy Spirit’s job is not to control us.

1John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

The New Covenant is all about relationship and love.  The ultimate to strive for is heart to heart connection.  That is what God is after.  The test of love, the test of covenant, the test of relationship is – am I going to adjust how I am behaving based on how it is affecting our relationship?