Geri's Advent – Day 6

Advent

Day 6

Sometimes for no apparent reason I randomly remember the craziest of things. While enjoying a mother daughter date today I suddenly remember I neglected to add a scripture verse yesterday! I should have money stopped from my wages…. Oh hang on I don’t get paid- ummm

Today I got to lie in- no alarm, what a treat. Then a leisurely breakfast and catch up on facebook before Beth and I headed out to a ‘red white and blue’ bizarre at the school, a ‘small businesses’ event and finally a trip to Farmstead Antiques. It was great to attend these events, see such beautiful crafts, products, furniture, services, and meet friendly folk. We had great fun and after we had sampled everything…., twice, we headed for ‘The Tea Cup’, an awesome tea shop, a super tasty chicken pot pie and maybe a little cake. Sitting to write today’s pause for thought, I reflected on my day and how much it reminded me of home. Then I reflected on the word ‘home’. I tried to ascertain exactly where home was. Was it England? Staffordshire, where I grew up and where my family are? Do I consider Cranleigh, Guildford, Uwhurst, Godalming, Bridgend, Littlethorpe, or even Pensacola as home? What had I actually experienced that felt like ‘home?’

We often say to people, “where’s home?” Or “Wow you are a long way from home?” And so I got to thinking about ‘home’. As a teacher I clearly remember doing an assembly on this topic, finishing with the phrase- ‘Home is Where the Heart is!’ It was my mantra for a long time even to the point of having a ‘sampler’ with it on, hanging in my living room. So is home where the heart is? I am going to say NO. But I would welcome your feedback. In recent years I have wrestled with being so far from Staffordshire and my immediate family. It is hard being so very far away and not being able to travel freely due to the cost etc of going back to the UK.

Home is not so much where my heart is, for me anyway, it is where God has put me. But here is the thing, when we decide to make God our focus and our home where ever He has placed us, our hearts follow.

When we surrender to the will of God and leave, family, friends and careers to follow where God leads; when we are obedient to the call, and the work of that call, then despite the challenge, we find something, a contentedness, peace, comfort and hope, a knowledge that if God has called us to it, it will be OK. Don’t get me wrong, or misinterpret my choice of words. Note I did not say you find things easy, pink and fluffy with a great feel good factor, and just full to the brim with overflowing happiness and joy. In fact I can say from experience that I have not been happy on many occasions. I have felt frustrated, angry, fearful, and if I am honest, resentful at times. Thankfully, God in His wisdom and mercy has brought people into my life that have talked Godly sense. Obedience does not always bring immediate peace, sometimes because of, in my case, a stubborn and determined will, peace is delayed. This year has seen many challenges for me and my family, in fact we are facing one right now. Only 10 weeks ago we moved from Pensacola to WA- 4627 miles, 5 nights, 6 days travelling, with everything we owned in a small Penske Truck. Starting again to make new friends, settle into a new school, house, ministry. Then there is the task of finding a church, dentist, doctor, mechanic, hairdresser, emergency facility, shops, banks ….. the list is endless and the paperwork never ending and the cost more than I want to think about.

I have come to realize that ‘home’ is not where my heart is but where my focus is. If my focus is on the past, places, or things of this world, then that is where my heart is. If my heart is anywhere but on God then I am frankly doomed. If I have learned anything it is this, my relationship with God, is imperative to my functioning, living and loving, effectively in the world and with everyone in it, and making “home” right where I am.

Luke 18:29-30New King James Version (NKJV)
29 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Matthew 6:21
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Geri's Advent – Day 5

Advent

Day 5

This morning as prayed I was reminded of a series of incidents that were totally disconnected, spread over years and even countries. I prayed for guidance, was there a link? Was there something in all of this that God wanted me to share?

Well I have sat down to write and I am just going to let God lead.

The first incident that came to mind, happened while attending a bible study. The group had undertaken a study that required us to learn scripture and spend 40 days in the word. Thriving on structure I enjoyed the daily discipline and tasks. I had time on my hands and used the opportunity to make the most of the study. As we came together it seemed that the opinions of the course within the church was varied, very varied. It lead to me being somewhat confused. I trusted the leaders to choose a biblical study and yet the thoughts and opinions about it frankly surprised me. For the first time I found myself in some doubt and felt it necessary to check out not only the course material but the author as well. As with all studies and anything that comes forth from man, including my humble ramblings, it is important to check out the details and opinions or influences of the text. This is where being in a group really works to build the body, supporting each other, checking information, sharing knowledge and cultivating wisdom.

Having heard the conflicting opinions of fellow group members I sat with my husband and talked it through. He is exceptionally good at searching and challenging materials ensuring that it measures up with God’s infallible word. Sometimes I have seen him wrestle with certain things for a long time before he has felt able to come to a conclusion. I have come to acknowledge and respect this talent of his, and his willingness to change in view of new information. As a result, I have learned the value of questioning, anything said or written by man, not to demean it, but to protect me.

Learning to filter the good, the bad and clever is not something I find easy, but it is vital if we are to grow strong in the ways of the Lord and not the ways of the world or the, ‘impersonators’.

Over the years I have completed many excellent courses, Alpha, The Mind of Christ, Master Life, 40 Days in the Word, The Names of God, Wellspring, Solutions, Power of Prayer, frankly the list is endless. I have listened to sermons by RT Kendall, Derek Prince, David Pawson, Pastors on both sides of the big pond, and this I have learned, “don’t believe everything you hear, see or read; conversely, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”

The truth can only be found in the Word of God, not man. God has raised up great men and women to speak to the people and lead them to the foot of the cross. To guide, instruct, inspire, encourage and challenge, to equip and make disciples. The work they have done and continue to do is amazing and I thank God for them. But they are human and have the potential to slip, fall, lose sight, misinterpret, and even deceive. There are those that have given real words of wisdom but then fallen and become lost. As a Christian it is not my job to judge them, and suddenly refute all their works, on the one thing that is clearly not of God, but rather to seek God and His confirmation that once a man or woman that had been used mightily and that during that time, his/her work was and still is valid. All too often we reject the whole when only a part, did not come under God’s authority.

Today’s pause for thought is this, there is a wealth of information, books, DVDs, studies, and downloads, but there is only one God. We all need to go deeper, learn and understand how to overcome and rise up to be the men and women of God that He has destined you to be, therefore, seek and you will find, ask and you will receive, draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Read cautiously, listen selectively, and pray that God will reveal truth from lie. Ask for wisdom in every aspect of your life and He will answer pouring out His gifts that you may become a child of the one true God.

Amen

Geri's Advent – Day 4

Advent

Day Four

Today was the opposite of yesterday, no visitors, no stories, no surprises, just quiet and uneventful in many ways. But our routine marched on as always, getting up, breakfast, devotional, school run, washing, cleaning, and day to day ministry work. It is this routine that keeps the boat of life on an even keel, even when the waves come. Yesterday, despite the visitors and business the house still functioned. The routine, as boring as it may appear, allows the boat to navigate awhile by itself.

As I ambled through my day I could see that this can be likened to our faith. If we have routine in the form of, prayers, studies, fellowship, worship, and outreach we forge a deep, lasting and solid relationship with our Creator, Savior and friend. That ongoing and consistent bond equips us to deal with the storms. Being in that communion with God means that as soon as anything comes along to challenge our lives we are prepared, pertinent scripture verses come to mind that help guide, give comfort and encourage; prayer comes naturally and is intimate, we are in tune and able to hear the gentle voice of our Lord. The fellowship with others becomes a trusted support network, and worship shifts our focus and lifts our souls.

While we don’t know what is going to happen day by day. We do know who holds our future, is over events and situations and can be relied upon to walk with us and carry us. Much will come along and change our perspective, opportunities or influence us in some way, but our routine of weaving God into every aspect of our lives means that regardless of the ups and down, the occasional thrown curve ball or emotional roller coaster, we can be rest assured, our worlds will hold steady and stand strong.

Today, my routine does not seem so mundane, but rather an opportunity to go deeper into God and be prepared during rough weather not only for my own walk, but to help and support others in their rough seas too.

Geri's Advent – Day 3

Advent
Day Three

It does not bode well when I am only on day three and am trying hard to write the right thing. I am struggling not because I can’t think of anything but because today has been no ordinary day by a long shot.

Today started like no other, with a call reminding me a medical bill was due at around 6.15 am. Up at that time ish anyway I continue to follow my routine, shower, prepare breakfast for Joe and sit with him a while. We share a devotion and read the related verses; today John 6: 1-9,

John 6:1-6 NKJV Two phrases struck a deep cord.

6 After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 –

“Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. -”

3 And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.
4 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” 6 But this He said to test him, for ……………

“He Himself knew what He would do.”

Joe and I prayed and then we stepped outside, breathing in the cold, frosty, crisp clean air as we headed for the car. I set the engine going and begin the task of de-icing. The words of the scripture were ringing around my head.


Back home I sit at my kitchen table and consider today’s pause for thought, nothing flows. I read more scripture, nothing flows, Paul comes in and we have our prayer time, it is heartfelt, nothing flows. I check out Pr 31 ministries, read the daily devotion, laugh out loud, but still nothing flows.

A local member of the community heard we needed wood and called to ask if he could help. We said absolutely, and he delivered half a cord, after he had got his wife ready for the day; she is disabled, we heard some of his story. I returned to the table and still nothing flowed.

Another neighbor called with some warm clothes she thought I would like, I do! We chatted a while, I returned to the table, nothing flowed. Yet another neighbor came, this time to collect some items I had set aside for a family in need, we chatted and she shared how she and her family had lost everything when the volcano erupted, and how on that fateful day she bundled her precious children in the car and headed for safety. I returned to my table and nothing flowed.

Yet another neighbor came who has been helping with some plumbing; he knew we had a need, came fixed it and left, no charge! I returned to my table, nothing flowed.

Thinking that activity might help me process, I stacked the logs, clean out the fire place, prepared a fire with the new wood, added to the ‘imitation snowmen’, (they are still not complete), swept, and washed. I collected the mail and opened it find not one, but two substantial donations for the ministry. We had some disappointing news about a special visitor that couldn’t come for Christmas. I sat once again to my table and still nothing flowed.

You would think by now that the ideas would have flooded and tumbled out, spoilt for choice as to what to share. The fact is that today was like no other. Each moment from waking, God began speaking to me, through His word, my prayer, neighbors, anonymous donations, other people’s stories and my own.

The words of today’s scripture resounded, some only followed Jesus, (then and now), because of the miracles He performed.

Today God stirred my heart in a way it has not been for a very long time. I do not want to be the ‘imitation’ that I spoke about yesterday. I prayed hard, studied, reflected, shared time, and stories, listened, (not something I am known for) and experienced a myriad of emotions as I, in my humble way, tried to walk the talk. All this in just 12 hours. I do not want to be known as ‘a crowd that follows Jesus because of His miracles’, I want my faith, walk, and relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, to be authentic, the real thing and not something that tickles my ears and gives me the ‘feel good’ service. But to be ‘the real thing’ I have to step out, be obedient, humble, staying steadfast, trusting and surrendering, why? Because….. He Himself knew what He would do. Today, I have struggled to write, not for lack of things to write about but because I really didn’t know how to choose just one. I have wrestled with what I have read, heard and felt. Were things easy today? Absolutely not! Did my heart break today? Totally. Was I shocked disappointed, frustrated, bowled over, thankful and deeply touched? YES!

My desire yesterday to be the real thing was put to the test today, not to be just what I can be for Christ, but also to humble. Sometimes we find it easier to give than receive, share then listen, react rather than wait. Today, I have given, received, shared, listened, reacted and waited. Phew.

A bill board went up around America today that said- Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is to not to go to Church, I don’t believe in fairy tales’.

Today, I say, Lord all I want for Christmas is to BE your Church, because I don’t believe in fairy tales!

Blessings all

Geri

Geri's Advent – Day 2

Advent

Day Two

Tire SnowmenOver the last few days we have been making Christmas decorations, and decorating our tree. We have been disappointed that we have not had enough snow to build a snowman, so having seen a project on Pinterest we decided we would have a go at something a bit different.

Using old tires we stacked them to get the general shape of a snowman, painted them white, covered them in fake snow and put them at the edge of the property, 3 of them.
They are still a work in progress and need arms, eyes, noses, buttons and a scarf but they are on their way. Thing is no matter how good they look or how much fun it has been to build them they are not the real thing. You don’t have to look too closely to see they are an effective ‘imitation’.

I got to thinking as we worked hard to make them as realistic as possible, that as Christians we can be guilty of the same thing. We often strive, really strive, to do what we think we should, to appear to be authentic, when actually on inspection we are falling short. Sometimes we spend hours on projects, going to studies, being active in a church body, doing all manner of things that keep us busy, when God has never asked or wanted us to do any of those things.

God never intended ‘used tires to be snowmen’! Why then as Christians do we think it is OK to embrace the influences and opinions of the world, be busy doing everything except what God has called us to do and profess to be ‘born again’ Christians walking with God. All too often I think without my God filter, act without my Jesus filter, and react without my Holy Spirit guidance filter. Every day I am challenged to stay focused on what God desires rather than what I desire.

Going to church for what I can get, not give, talking the talk to sound wise when the depth of knowledge is lacking , saying I will pray for people with needs, but forgetting or not even having the intention of doing so, reading the bible but not studying it, makes me just like that ‘tire snowman’, ‘an imitation’, an ‘impersonator’ and someone who will be quickly shown as shallow and without substance.

Every day I fall short in one way or another, don’t pray as I should, rush reading, push back study, neglect to worship and tally with the Lord. The difference is, I know that to do so leaves me empty, vulnerable, and weak. I strive to be what I can be, and I fall short, but God’s grace comes gently along and nudges me, longing me to spend time with him. In striving to become the ‘Real Thing’, authentic and Christ like, will take me down God’s path not mine, will have me doing His projects, not mine, and loving those He brings into my life. When I do this people will see that while I am not Christ, my actions, reactions, and responses are showing me to be a Christ –like, work in progress.

Today I challenge you to surrender 10 minutes of your time and seek God’s agenda for your life, the answers may shock you as they did me. Don’t be a tire snowman day.

Ephesians 5:1-2
5 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Geri

The Mountain and the Word – Pilot #1 Broadcast

The first pilot episode of The Mountain and the Word was broadcast earlier tonight. You cam listen to the podcast right here.

Check Out Christianity Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Paul F Taylor on BlogTalkRadio

We are looking for sponsors for this show. The next level of BlogTalkRadio hosting costs $39 pcm. We are looking for up to 4 sponsors, donating $10 or $20 per month to get the show going. We will mention our sponsors prominently during the show.

Also, please check out the special BTW page for The Mountain and the Word at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/tmatw. You can also podcast the show. Copy the code below, and paste it into your podcast software.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/tmatw.rss

Geri's Advent – Day 1

Advent

Day one

AdventWell I said I would post something every day and I intend to do so throughout December.

Sadly, my phone camera is no longer working and so uploading the awesome pictures of the mountain, and the passed weekend I thought I had taken are lost.

This got me thinking, so often there are times in our lives that we wish we could capture moments, events, or feelings that the camera cannot fully seize or truly convey.

Today my daughter and I began the clean up after our Thanksgiving Weekend of fun and craft, when visitors made a Thankful Paper chain, decorations, posters and all manner of mess. They also sampled Jamie’s awesome cookies, my mince pies, coffee, tea and hot chocolate.

As we worked we reminisced about the weekend, the highlights and our favourite bits. Recalling the events filled me with a sense of warmth and thankfulness. I met so many wonderful people who just wanted to come and support us, to get to know us and to find out more about the mountain and the ministry.

There were so many wonderful memories that while my camera failed to capture, my mind did not. I met a young man called Sam, he doesn't mind me sharing, he has Downs Syndrome, his incredible mum dad and grandma, had been staying around the corner and saw our literature in the office of the RV site. They wanted to find out more and came along. Sam came straight in and offered me the biggest and best hug I have had in a long time. He trusted me, a stranger, with his hug. At first his mum and dad were unsure how I would react, but for me there was no doubt, I checked to see if it was OK with them to respond, was given the all clear and hugged Sam back.

Sam spent a few hours with us, he was awesome at the treasure hunt, made a beautiful angel tree decoration, munched a few cookies and made me smile. I also got several more hugs and a great big thank you as he left. No camera could have captured the impression this young man made on my heart. A memory I will treasure for a long time, thank you Sam for your hugs, your innocence and trust.

On Saturday, the sun shone and the mountain was majestic. We were visited by my some inspirational young folk who travelled from Portland to spend the afternoon. This wonderful group wasted no time in joining in. I had asked one of them some weeks before if he could think of some activities for young folks, he did not let me down. Not only did he think of a game, he brought along all the costumes and props to make it happen. As I continued to speak to other visitors or sit and complete tasks I would hear the group, my daughter and son included, howl with laughter. I heard accents from around the world and silly orders being banded about as part of the game. The fun these young people had was genuine and relaxed, it warmed my soul.

No camera could have come close to encapsulating this time- about 2 hours. After the game, they all worked as a team to rearrange the room as I cooked food. A movie went on the big screen and they all sat and watched as they munched away.

While I am greatly saddened I can’t retrieve the photos and share them, it doesn't mean that the events didn’t happen, I know they did, I saw them, heard them and was touched by them. I am recounting events and writing them down for others to read and enjoy and hopefully be touched be too, just as the writers of the Bible did.

They did not have cameras or videos, yet they documented everything. Was I there when they wrote? No, despite the fact that my children think I am old enough to have been. But those that were there did record it for those that would come after, that they too may hear and be touched, changed, and renewed.

I know that 25th Dec is not the actual date of Christ’s birth, but it is the day that for whatever reason, we now use to celebrate the birth of the one who would change the world forever.
Today I am thankful for the writers of the books of the Bible, for the legacy their writing left to us and the opportunity to they gave us to be born again, and follow Christ.

Thank you Sam, Arthur, Verity, Hope and everyone who came to the 7Wonders Museum, you touched my heart and made a memory better than any camera.

I pray that this season you will make memories that you too can treasure.

Feeling Blessed.

Geri

The Mountain and the Word

The Mountain and the Word

I love the whole idea of live, interactive talk radio. I actually used to do a regular monthly TV show on Revelation TV back in the UK, which actually worked like a talk radio show, in that I used to take live questions on air. Since moving to the United States, I have seen that live talk radio is used successfully by a large number of ministries. It enhances their reach, and enables them to teach biblical truths effectively and immediately.

The Mountain and the Word
The Mountain and the Word

Many live “radio” shows today are not broadcast on traditional FM and AM bands. The internet is becoming the broadcast medium of choice. For that reason, as well as for reasons of economy, I will be using the internet for broadcast purposes.

The show that I am about to launch is called The Mountain and The Word, and is the radio ministry of the Mount St Helens Creation Center. I have already done 4 test episodes. The first two were short and now deleted, but numbers 3 and 4 were to check that I could just keep talking by myself into the microphone for 30 minutes. I succeeded in doing that!

The next step is to make some preliminary broadcasts which will not be advertised, except to Facebook contacts. I will be giving my Facebook supporters notice of the broadcast times, and opening up the chat room for them to join in the program. These will be fairly unorganized, rambling affairs in the early days. But I am going to try 3 or 4 f these shows, before having a public launch for the show.

I am using the Blog Talk Radio platform for the TMATW shows. Although not ideal, it is cheap! In fact, in the early days, I will be using their free service, with 30 minute off-peak episodes, in which I have to host the show from my cellphone. The next step up is to have a 2 hour maximum show, that I can host more easily by direct input through the computer, But this first Premium level costs $39 a month, and our tiny ministry cannot afford that. So, if you are interested, I would like to seek 2, 3 or 4 sponsors for the show. Can you or your organisation sponsor this show by $10 or $20 per month for a minimum of 12 months? If so, please be in contact with me through this website, and I will mention the sponsors names and, if applicable, their websites or other details. I envisage maybe one big sponsor at $20 per month, and 2 smaller ones at $10 each per month, making a total of $40 per month, which will cover the Blog Talk Radio fees. As I said, if you are interested, get in touch.

Then – please keep an eye on our Facebook page, so that you know when the first preliminary broadcast will be taking place.

Family Fun Days

The countdown has begun for our first Family Fun Days at the 7 Wonders Museum, to be held at the Thanksgiving weekend.

The Creation Center will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but we will open again on Friday 28th November 2014 at 9:00 am. There will be a welcome from Director Paul Taylor at 10:00 am, followed by special activities, crafts, scavenger hunt, geocache and much more. Download our publicity leaflet here.