Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hope Springs Eternal

It's funny, you know (well, not funny "ha, ha" but funny, odd), how after a series of disappointments you tell yourself not to get your hopes up. That way you won't feel so crushed if things don't work out. And yet, God created us as a people of hope. It's at the very core of our beings. God forbid should we actually kill that hope within us! "To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory," Colossians 1:27 (NIV).

That's the challenge, isn't it? Remaining pliable when every instinct says to "toughen up, build a wall." It's impossible to remain vulnerable but not beaten, without the Lord. He's always calling us to stretch, to open up, to risk, to give...to love.

Doug has another interview today at 1 for a position he is well equipped to do. We don't yet know what it pays, and that is the key. He is excited about it and so am I, kinda. I guess I'm self-protecting, which is the same as not trusting.

I've been concerned about school starting in two weeks and how we'll pay for my daughter's books (much less dorm room essentials, and school clothes and supplies for both her and her brother). A few books have shown up in the used realm, and I've snatched them up so fast your head would spin. But there are still some left to buy new because 1) the latest edition is absolutely necessary (ha!) and 2) it's for a class exclusive to this school. Note the sarcasm - I see it as a gift, but God - not so much. Still, He is faithful. I just received a call from my mom saying she was sending a check to help. She's a great mom!

This week the kids are at church camp. God was faithful there, too. Roxanne is interning, which paid for her trip, and Zach got a scholarship. YAY! I know God has amazing things for them this week and I'm excited to see it! I hate missing camp, but it just wasn't possible this year. I love family camp!

Well, that's all the news from Lake Wobegone. Pray for Doug today, please!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Some bloggy love

I'm just stopping for a quick note to encourage all 5 1/2 of you who read me, to visit my daughter's blog The New Me at dastardlystar.blogspot.com . She has written twice in the last week or so and is worth the read. Besides, she could use the support about now.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Beth Moore has nothing to worry about!

It's Tuesday, and I've just about recovered from preaching on Sunday. Wow, it was...surreal, amazing, draining! Next time you try to talk to your pastor after church, just don't expect it to register. At times it was almost an out-of-body experience...other times I felt like Bob in What About Bob, "I'm preaching! I'm a preacher!" while lashed to the pulpit. I almost didn't make it through my final prayer, I was so overcome with emotion. That has everything to do with the message the Lord gave to me:

God Is Faithful
a) to redeem what was sold - Hosea 1:2 and Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
b) to restore what was lost - Joel 2:25, the story of Job, and the story of C.S. Lewis
c) to revive what has died - Genesis 18:10-12 and 21:1-2

Pretty close to home, huh? I finished up by singing (acapella) "How Deep the Father's Love For Us" by Stuart Townend:

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

God is in the Storm

Welcome to the longest post ever. I promise it's worth the reading. Happy 4th of July!

WOW! I received a Rockin' Girl Blogger award from Bev at Scratchin' the Surface! That is SO COOL! THANK YOU! Here's what she had to say, "I've met her once, liked her immediately, wish I could meet with her weekly to fix all that ails me. She's genuine to the core, funny, smart. She's like the Energizer Rabbit - she just doesn't quit no matter how tough it gets."

You never really know how you impact others. There have been two wilderness times in my life: now and 20 years ago in Oregon. In both times when I was just struggling to put one foot in front of the other and hold on to Jesus with what little strength I had, God was using me to impact others. It was not anything I was conscious of at the time, so I can certainly not take credit for it. Even through the fulfillment of my dream of going back to school - I was inspiring others. Go figure.

I just have to share with you the amazing story of last week. A couple of years ago my church put together a cd, "Hymns of Our Faith," to give out at a community event. For the most part it was a family project as my nephew and his wife, my niece and her husband, my mom, my sister-in-law, my friend Lauren and I did an "unplugged" version of several hymns. I haven't thought much about that cd - I've given out a couple, but raised in a Pentecostal/Baptist home, it felt a lot like showing off, which is not good! That kinda goes against my love for the stage, so you can imagine my constant inner conflict.

Anyway, I received this email from my brother (the pastor) last week:

Dear Pastor Hulet,
I am an Active Duty Navy Chaplain, ordained through the Assemblies of God, presently serving as the Senior Officer Chaplain at Camp Bucca, Iraq. Camp Bucca is the largest Detention Facility in the world for Detainees. We have over double digit thousands here. The mission is difficult, tension filled, and fatiguing.
So , when I rummaged through a drawer, I found the CD: Hymns of Our Faith. The following words quickened my spirit and spoke to my weary soul:
"These songs are meant to offer a moment of peace and reflection in a world of stress and distraction."
I just finished a pastoral care counseling with a service member who received the news that his wife, pregnant at 8 1/2 months with their 3rd child, experienced a fetal demise. The devastation is indescribable.
The Hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness ministered to him and to me in ways I will never be able to articulate. Please thank Lisa Taylor, the vocalist on that hymn, on our behalf.
I don't know how this CD made it clear to Camp Bucca, Iraq but I am sure glad that it did. Mission accomplished! Thank you for your ministry and foresight to let the rich theology of these great hymns of the church speak life, liberty and strength to weary souls.
I salute you.


Chaplain Louis Rosa

I replied to Chaplain Lou:
I received your kind words about the song I sang, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," on the Hymns of Our Faith cd. It is amazing how God uses things we do in ways we can never imagine. I am so blessed to know that I was able to encourage and minister to someone through what I love doing the most. I often wonder what I could be doing to support our troops in such a difficult time - and now found that in some small way I have.

Please send my condolences to this service member in this time of loss. I have also lost a child, and know how painful it is. I'm certain it must be so difficult for him to not be with his wife to grieve and comfort.

I also am a counselor, and know that it can be difficult to lay down the burden at the end of the day. I'll be praying for you and for this man and his family. May God bring a swift end to this unrest, establish stable and strong leadership in Iraq, and bring you all home safely.


His reply was even more amazing, and I offer it today for anyone who has loved ones in the military at this difficult time:


I look fwd to meeting you one day. Your gift of music is more than a gift; it is the voice of Christ extended.

Your prayers and gift of music is more than sufficient to demonstrate your support of the troops. This is a very difficult environment for a host of reasons. However, the God of peace which surpasses all understanding is in the midst of it all. Your singing is proof positive of that.

The serviceman in question is home with his bride. We got him off on a bird as soon as it was available. He is now comforting his wife and they are beginning the process of good grief.

I am very sorry for your loss. The loss of a child is indescribably painful. I hope that you are able to practice the type of pain management that allows you to get on with life and own your grief at the same time.

In my 15 years of active duty, 10 years as a chaplain with the US Marines, I have seen a lot of death, destruction and devastation i.e. Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq (2004-2005) and now. I am confident that Genesis 1:2 is true: 'And the world was without form and void and the Spirit of God brooded upon the face of the waters.' God is in the chaos. I guess that is why I have always, with no exception, felt perfect peace even in the midst of some of the worse firefights seen in Iraq. We went through the battle for Fallujah during my last deployment. We sent 31 of our young Marines home in body bags and over 200 critically wounded. I know Christ was in the chaos.

Keep your gift flowing. It has reached the far ends of the earth. I play the CD often. Sometimes I play it while the troops enter the chapel for worship. Plz convey my thanks to Jenni, Lauren, Erica and Maurietta for their consecration and dedication to praise and worship.

Michelangelo once said that if the general public knew how hard he labored on each piece, it would diminish the magic of his work. I don't understand how difficult it is to make a great cd. If knowing means it will diminish it's beauty plz don't tell me. I want to appreciate it for what it is.

I look fwd to keeping in touch.



If you know someone who would be encouraged by reading this note from Chaplain Lou, please pass it along.