Saturday, December 21, 2013

There is just nothing like of true family - love of brothers and sisters in Christ with one common heart to serve the King, uniting and serving together.

We had a blessed time at Morning Glory Apartments yesterday.  We sang CHRISTmas carols and gave food boxes and homemade gift baskets. (Special thanks to Bull City Outreach Ministries for providing the boxes below for our ministry.)

We hugged the necks of residents, praised the name of Jesus, laid hands on and prayed for a resident recovering from surgery, and even had a Word from the Lord spoken over a few of us.

We gave out our ministry cards with our contact numbers and extended ourselves to be of service to these wonderful folks.  We were even able to make a near-future appointment to help one of the residents clean her house.  Ms. Dorothy is in her 80s, has to use a walker to get around, and just needs a helping hand with a simple task.....a task that I take for granted on a daily basis.

After our outreach, we came home and had a ministry, Christmas, fellowshiping night - with pizza, preaching and prayer.  Wow.....does it even get any better??

Dean and I had a conversation recently with someone about joy.....and how sometimes life gets us so entangled, bogged down, exhausted, anxious.....and we literally seem to lose our joy.  And that even in prayer and Bible reading regularly we can still feel like we are void of joy.

I've been there.


I know you may have been there too.

But Dean spoke a true word into our conversation that day that.....and that is, we can have our true joy, the Joy of the Lord, when we are walking in the Spirit in service and love - when we are sharing with others what He has done for us.  We are made complete and full when we are doing what He made us for....and that's sharing Him.

This may be a little cliche, but this deep yearning is real in my heart right now:

I just want to live and breathe and walk and talk the Lord God Almighty....

to breathe in His Spirit

to speak His Words

to be His Hands and Feet

to get lost in the Presence of His Glory each day.

Prices must be paid to have this sort of intimacy.  More of the flesh and the self has to die.  Things must be given up.  This world must be just a fleeting thought.  Popularity and materialism must go out the window.

And that's scary to's scary to all of us.  Some days I feel like a failure and I don't think I'll ever get there.  I worry that people will always only see the "old Melissa" - the Melissa of 10 years ago, the Melissa of 5 years ago, the Melissa of 1 year ago, the Melissa of last week.....

But the more of the Word that I read and study, the more I can't deny that THIS is what Jesus is really calling us I put my hope in this:

"being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ"  Philippians 1:6

And I know that this is a good work He has begun....because there is no way I could have done it myself.

Until next time - which is hopefully soon.

Loving Radically Through Christ,


Friday, December 20, 2013

Closing Out for 2013 and Looking Forward to 2014!!

Wow - 2013 has flown by!  We have been a busy family and ministry!  Life has surely changed for us over the last few months.....the biggest being my decision to follow the Lord's leading to leave my full-time job and stay home to homeschool Courtney, currently in the 9th grade.  I could probably write 10 or more pages just about that adventure, but I won't bore you with the details.  It was definitely a calling from the Lord and is something I will always cherish and never regret - even on the tough days.  (Please feel free to email me if you have any specific questions on the homeschooling.  I'd love to chat with anyone who is further interested.)

Since the last blog posting of Dean's article with The Independent Weekly, we have ministered at the NC Pride Parade in Durham, continued with jail ministry with Bull City Outreach Ministries, continued weekend food distributions to needy families in the area, participated in the Stem Christmas parade (where "Jesus" was escorted up to the front of the parade line up to remind everyone of the real reason for the season), continued weekly Bible study/fellowship in our home, and joined a new, local, in-home, women's Bible study where we learned to "say YES to God" (Lysa Terkeurst video study).

This afternoon/evening is our next outreach.  We will be taking gift baskets and individual food boxes to each resident of Morning Glory Apartments in Butner (the elderly apartment complex).  We will also sing some Christ-focused Christmas carols to them.  All of these residents are older people who live alone, and we always want them to know that we are available to serve them with anything they need.

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

I would like to thank three special donors that have made these gift baskets possible.  One will not allow me to mention his name, the other has never told me not to, so thank you Minette, and the last, but definitely not least, is Dean's mom, Marcia.  She is a vital part of our ministry in many aspects and is a faithful monthly donor.  Without her, we wouldn't be able to do half of the outreach activities that we do.

The cooler weather always leaves less time for outdoor ministry, and more time for introspection and growing closer to the Lord as we brainstorm for next year.  The last few months have seen some major spiritual battles with all members of our ministry group.  But we have held onto our hope, encouraged one another, and grown stronger through it all.  We "consider it all joy" and look forward to 2014 and what the Lord has in store for each of us as we continue to serve Him and follow the Spirit's leading.

Please continue to pray for us.  I hope to be able to update the blog soon with upcoming 2014 events.

Loving Radically Through Christ,