Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday Bible Study

For the past two years I've facilitated a Thursday afternoon women's Bible study in my house. Here we are: Maria and her youngest, me and my youngest, Callie and her kids, Joanne, and Hayley.

Because we announced that we would be moving to Texas soon, Callie took the lead and started having the ladies meet at her house for the study. This picture was taken there the last time we all met.

Well, today is Thursday and I know the girls will get together without me for the first time. I pray God will bless them with wisdom and understanding as they read the scriptures together. I also pray for their individual spiritual growth as well as growth in their group as they share the love of Jesus with those around them. I already miss them all terribly. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Our Last Meeting

Sunday was the first time our entire south Florida church family got together. Even Chris and Jenna made the drive down to be with us. And this little guy (Terry and Maria's six-week old Kevin) made his debut showing:
So, here we all are:
Because we will be moving to Texas in a matter of days, this group will probably not meet as a whole again on this earth. I started to name this post "Our Final Meeting" but quickly changed that, because our final meeting will actually go more like this:

At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 
And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, 
from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. (Mark 13) 

We broke bread together, talked, cried, and laughed. We reminisced and dreamed about the future. It was a bittersweet day--the culmination of two and a half years of ministry--that we will always cherish. 
John and I already see God working miracles in these precious lives: strengthened marriages, overcome addictions, hearts for outreach and benevolence, spiritual awareness and hunger for an understanding of the scriptures, a newfound joy and zeal for life, and resolve to live blamelessly. As difficult as it is for us to leave this fledging church family, we are confident that God's spirit abides with them and will use them for great things.

Texas Bound

A neighbor asked me several months ago if things were all right at home. When I wondered out loud why she asked, she said John had mentioned something about problems we were having. I knew that wasn't true and politely let her know, to which she hemmed and hawed and finally admitted that she had made it up. She was trying to find out why his car hadn't been in the driveway as much as usual. (Remember Mrs. Kravits from Bewitched?)  I told her about the parenting program he was visiting in Jacksonville and assured her we were fine. She then asked how I was so sure about what John didn't say. "I know him," I said.

That conversation started me thinking about how well I actually know God. Can I be confident about what He would or would not say or do? I could tell my neighbor was bluffing about John because I spend so much time with him. We've taken time out of almost every day for fifteen years to sit down and talk to each other. Obviously, having a basic understanding of the Bible is the beginning of a relationship with God, but without spending time with Him in prayer and quiet I wouldn't be able to say I know Him at all. This is especially important in the midst of a big decision. After much time spent with each other and with God, John and I have finally made one such big decision--to move to Texas. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a couple of years ago, and we are mainly going there to be near her.

Since making that decision, we've been preparing the church here for our departure. Over the past two years, due to our limited resources, we have intentionally maintained a small group of dedicated individuals to meet in our home, rather than establishing a larger church with a building and programs to sustain. We are now very happy God led us to do it this way. Our focus has been on teaching the Bible and discipling on a small, personal scale in order to lay a strong foundation that will not easily be corrupted. We have every reason to believe that God will personally guide each of these new but committed Christians onto the very ministry He has prepared for them.

We've put our house on the market, and we plan to travel to Colorado at the end of this month where John will marry his niece and her boyfriend. From there we continue on to Texas to see what God has in store for our next mission.