Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Friendly reminder: This week is Casting The Net Sunday. Our service will be "shorter", geared more towards evangelism in the sense that we will tell the world that Jesus saves and that the Kingdom is at hand, and we'll be watching a film: ESCAPE FROM HELL.

Invite anyone and everyone. When Jesus told the disciples to cast their nets into deep water, the only fish caught would be ones who *wanted* to be caught. So if you're not inviting someone, either there's no one around you *wanting to get caught* - and that's quite possibly on your shoulders, living out Jesus in front of them every day - or you don't have a net - again, might be on your shoulders to strike up the conversation in deep water.

I look forward to seeing you, and your fishy friends, this weekend. - peace - rick

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

I think the last few months have been this huge pothole that I hit that made me wake up. I was just on cruise control down the road of life until then. Now since Mike's cancer diagnosis and treatment, I am beginning to ask a lot of questions I never thought of before. A lot of things have been different.

We started hiring babysitters and doing stuff together for fun, because after all, our life was passing our marriage by. We started "weekend living" every night of the week. Enjoy every moment you can. You know, renting movies and eating homemade cookies. Until you start craving some balance in your life and missing wierd things like routine and discipline (and a few vegetables).

I'm thankful that God is there to lean on in the things I dont know. But I have also realized that there is a ton of stuff I don't know and I'm mad at God for it.

I want life to never be the same again since cancer entered it, and I just want things to go back to the way they were at the same time.

Why are the doctors telling Mike he will survive his cancer and telling my best friend's mother that she will die from hers? Who's life is God at work in? We're so quick to give God all the glory for one, but what about the other? Does God get the victory in Ms. Joyce's life too?

So many questions, just as many opportunities to trust and have faith. Is faith faking what you don't know until you talk yourself into it? Claiming healing when you're dying? Saying you have peace when you can't sleep? Saying you trust God in the face of your questions?

I don't ever want to go back to blindly going through life again, but at the same time, I 'd just like one week without the big stuff hanging over me. It would be so refreshing to just for one day only have to think about what I'm going to cook for supper.

I think I'm losing it. I'm learning that even when the treatment ends, cancer will always be a part of our lives. Continuous checks for relapse, always having to deal with it, never being able to put it behind you. I feel like I took a deep breath last October and have not been allowed to let it out, relieve the presssure,and let that isolated experience find its way into our past. Instead, I have learned that I will never be able to exhale this one, it will always be a part of our present, a stress that I am ready to give up but don't have the luxury of doing. Asking the tough questions is tiring, and not getting too many answers is making me weary.

Why am I making such a big deal out of cancer? We're all terminal after all, and thank God, because then we get to really start living. Maybe I'm way too satisfied with this life. Want to feel secure and safe, and in control, like I used to. But that is a lie/deception from the enemy. You never really are secure and in control. You just think you are. Maybe ignorance really is bliss. But the word says, "They perish for their lack of knowledge." So do I feed my spirit or the flesh?

I'm tired. This is mind-boggling. So, I guess I'll continue to say I have faith in the midst of my fears/qeustions/doubts and pray for answers to the tough questions or that they would just go away as mysteriously as they showed up.

I know this isn't a great debut on the blog, but it is kind of nice just to sit and type and get it out. Maybe I can be my more "put together" self next time.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

For those of you who were late to church this morning, you missed out - and it was something you probably needed. Now I don't throw that around flippantly - I hate it when people use that to make others feel bad; it feels manipulative most of the time. But today, I mean it - we all need the encouragement of watching first love, and, well, if you missed it, you missed it.

This morning, three young men were baptized: Jermaine, Coutrney and Michael - and there was such a spirit of encouragement in the building. It was refreshing, and I remembered back to my own dunking, and to seeing others light up as they made this public, symbolic confession before their friends and family. There's something physically spiritual about the whole thing - making real and tangible what you know is going on inside of this new brother in the Lord.

So be encouraged - even if you missed today's service, or if you were running a little late. Your salvation is full of encouragement for the Christian. Coming together, we encourage one another, and keep each other from stumbling... and I was reminded of that this morning.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Upcoming @ CWO:

* This weekend 02/16 is the deadline for signing up to get the study guide for the BAIT OF SATAN video series, slated to start March 6th. John Bevere is good and fairly thorough in presenting material, and the guide - if it's anything like the one for UNDER COVER - will contain a transcript of his preaching. Very useful in following along and really digging into the material. Guides are $10, and the sign-up sheet is in the back of the sanctuary.

* KIDS Church changes format, day and time. Starting Wednesday March 5th @ 6:30pm: the new eKIDS, Extreme Kids In Divine Service.

* Living To Win, a new overall physical, mental & spiritual fitness group, will be cranking up soon: Friday 02/38 @ 6:30 for Orientation, and weekly meetings starting Wednesday 03/12..

* I've updated the CWO website - let me know if I've left anything off!

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

I hope this blog flies. I mean, we have some talented people in our midst, with bright ideas and good comunication skills. For now, this outlet is a wonderful way to document what we're doing, how we're doing it, and what's happening in us and through us in the midst of it all. But in the meantime, it's hard to get motivated, you know?

I guess the addage if it's worth doing, it's worth doing well might come into play here. I'm not sure I've done a good job expressing the it's worth doing part. I think everyone would do it well, if convinced it was worth it. And that probably goes for alot of things in life: work, school, family life. If we could only be convinced that it was worth doing - not just something we plod through or tolerate in our existence, but something of real, longterm and transformational value - I would like to think I and alot of other folks would be more apt to do our best and give it a good effort.

So I'll be the cheerleader, trying to extol the benefits of a *free* outlet for our story. And while I don't envision this site being overtly evangelistic, I do think that our story is the greatest witness we have to God's faithfulness and the advancement of His kingdom in our midst.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

I am tired and feel like I am getting the flu so I was not all there mentally or physically at church this morning, and I would like to say that I heard a lot of what Pastor Mike said this morning in our service, but he pretty much lost me after he said "you cannot mock God"... At first, I wanted to say, "I do not mock my God, I am not that stupid..." but somehow that this just not true... I think I have missed His truth in my life so many times, that I have probably mocked Him more than I really want to admit. I still can't get the phrase out of my head. We were in Galatians 6 (Verses 7-8, and of course a lot of other places). I am going to have to think about these verses this week. I don't know when and where I have mocked my Lord, but it is something I need to pray about this week. I also need to focus on the places in my life that sow into the flesh.. I agree that too many times we hear a message and focus on which of our friends or family members that needed to hear it. Well I needed this morning's message, and I want to search this week for the ways the message this morning applied to me. (Well, really my lazy nature doesn't). Pray for my own quest this week.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

hey, i'd like to invite you to join quest devotion as we learn to rely on God. read to see how king asa faced consequences when he didn't rely on God. 2 Chronicles 16 ......peace

This has been our "logo shot" since the beginning of CWO. I like the depths of the blues, and I think the ripples and the bounce are cool. Our vision of being "a healing place for a hurting world" (or un lugar curativo para un mundo herido in spanish) is captured a little in this pic, I think. Anyway, I'm trying to see if our church could participate in a team blog, where we write what's on our hearts, journal our church history, etc.

Friday, February 07, 2003

Matthew's House - kind of a "model" for our own community blog.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

I think that the idea of having a "community journal" is very intriguing. Columbia World Outreach is about six years old (I think that's right), and this local body of believers has had such an impact on my own spiritual journey, that I'd love to "document" what's going on for each of us. I've got plenty of outlets, but to do something like this with a "team" of writers, and with the ability to add comments for anyone else, is really cool.

I'll probably start with an exercise in documenting our "history" - looking back at where we've been and what has shaped us. Would be helpful in envisioning what God's calling to become further down the road.

I look forward to everyone hopping onboard.

Just starting... team blog... CWO... 1J13, 1 John 1:3... Rick, and others. That's the intention anyway...

peace in your followthrough....