Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bulgaria Baby!!!

          So everyone is asking if this trip is spur of the moment, everyone except Kenne. That is because Kenne and I have been praying about me going for about 2 months. But neither of us have heard God. Things started to happen to me, like my bank going under and not even having enough money to buy a gallon of milk. Vance's sister has been fighting cancer and I wasn't going to leave her, especially if she was to continue chemo. And Christmas was coming so the flights would be to expensive even if I could find some money. So I laid my desire to go before Christmas at the foot of the throne and left it at God's feet.
          Then we got some money in the bank and I felt like I would rather use it to send Brad to Calvary Chapel Bible College, I always want to support my kids choices. Jan's tumor had shrunk, to where they were possibly going to operate on it soon. And we just made a big move from one apartment to another. And I always wrestle about going to Bulgaria, is it just me wanting to go is it God sending me? I never book a ticket until I know it is Him and not me. So I figured since I hadn't heard Him on the subject, it was me and not Him this time and I resolved myself to the fact that for the first time in 9 years I will not go to Bulgaria this year.
         Then my birthday came.  Every year on my birthday a sweet friend gives me a "message" from God. Sometimes it takes a while for me to understand it, this time it only took less then 24 hours. God had said to not be afraid of making a wrong move, that He is guiding my path and because I am seeking to please Him, whatever I do in His name will be used for His glory. My heart has been in a really good place with God, I will share more about that as I blog this trip. God had told me to do what was in my heart. So as I went to bed I prayed for God to show me what is in my heart to do.
        The next day in the car I asked Vance if he wanted to hear what my message was this year, and he said yes. So before I told him what the message was I told him there have been 3 things in my heart.
1.  Is this Calvary Chapel home for us, should I make the commitment to be a part of this body or keep looking for a church?
2.   I have been thinking about starting a kids club here in the apartment complex, a club where I can be with the kids once or twice a month doing fun stuff and building relationships with them in hopes of sharing God's love outside the walls of a church building.
3.  I was still longing to return to the land that I love, Bulgaria.
        So I read the message to Vance and said to him what do you get out of this? And he said to me "What do YOU get out of this?"  Well it is time to commit to this body, I have heard God talk to me there, I have felt his spirit move, so Calvary Chapel Westbrook is home for me now, and I should make myself part of the family. Also I need to approach the management here about starting a kids club. I can't even describe the next thing that I felt, it was my words, but it was God's Spirit saying to me I AM GOING TO BULGARIA. Vance says "What, when?"..... I said I think monday, if I can get the ticket at a good price, I am going monday. Vance says "Good luck getting a ticket at Christmas time for that price.".
         In the next 8 hours, I found a ticket $500.00 cheaper then when we fly in July. As I was checking dates I could hear God tell me go Wednesday. Wowsers, that made it so I would be in gone just shy of 3 weeks which was the maximum time Vance would endure me being away. But what about Jan, I can't leave her, she needs me. 30 minutes later she called to say she is not having surgery. It was like I already knew that deep down from the moment I heard I was going. Me being me, struggled with booking that ticket on faith alone, (Vance said just do it God is gonna give you a place to stay) I needed to know I had a place to stay. I received an email only a few hours later that I had a place to stay.
        I jumped, I laughed, I screamed,  I hugged my sweet supportive husband so tight, and cried. Because I thought when I left Bulgaria the last time that I would be back soon to stay a year, and instead I was moved to the foul-brown city named Bakersfield. I thought when I moved to Bakersfield I would never see Bulgaria again. That it was only for a season, and I could accept that except I didn't get to say goodbye to those I love so much. I have been crying all day, when I think of the moment I see Bistra, and Raisi. At the thought of laughing and joking with Gencho and Georgie. At the thought of sweet moments of hospitality with Nikki and Tvseta, Kali and Viki. The moment I will see my bulgarian birthday twin Iva. At being with Christina when she prays and talking with Vinci, Yoanna and Niki. I know I will weep when I worship in Blagavest with my bulgarian family and when I listen Pastor Ludmil feed my heart from God's word. And when I see all the beautiful little orphan smiles. and when I get to love on the kids in Stolnik. My heart just can't contain it all. Dobie, Eti, Raya, Eli, Nikki, Mila, Mina, Moni, Ani, Tsetska, Stefcho, Ivo, Dani, Miki, Chrissy ....the names and faces go one and one and I love each one.
      haha they will think i am a big cry baby but I don't care, because yesterday morning I wasn't sure I would ever see them again in this life, but tomorrow morning I will board a plane to Bulgaria, and I will treasure every moment there as a beautiful gift that God has given to me. He has blessed me with the desire of my heart, to return to the land and the people I love one more time.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desire of your heart. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. Ps. 37:4-5

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Seek opportunities to give - Romans 12:9-13

 I was so blessed this week by a phone call I received from a friend asking for help. The hardest kind of help to ask for, money. In a country where we have so much in abundance, that our homes can not even contain all that we store up,  we in the church can be so blinded to the people around us in financial need. We feel the money we make is for our consumption or for us to stock pile for retirement so we justify not giving to the people we see in need. Oh sure we love to give at Christmas time to the children who need food or clothes. But what about the friend that has to rent a car to go out of town? What about the friend with babies or elderly who needs the AC fixed in the summer? Or the one who can't make the electric bill this month. Or someone called to the mission field who needs the whole ticket paid for. Aren't these needs? How much is to much to give? Consider this devotional from "One Year With God" ......

      "Our spiritual gospel has far-reaching, material implications. It commands us to focus on eternal realities rather than temporary provisions. It calls for an increasing detachment from the things that once griped us. And one of the ways to cultivate such a focus and detachment is by a radical and voluntary meeting of needs.
      The Bible commands us to share. We who have much are to notice those who have little. The implication is not that we will grudgingly give when confronted; the New Testament context implies that we will seek opportunities to give.
      Why is this such an imperative in Christian fellowship? Because our fellowship is meant to reflect Jesus' kingdom. We are to be a taste of heaven on earth. We are to reflect God's glory, and His glory is displayed when He meets our needs. That means our reflection will involve meeting the needs of others. The generous God calls us to be generous. The hospitable God who will welcome us into heaven with open arms calls us to welcome others with the same spirit.
      It is our divine mission, given us by the One who called us to follow Him in every area of our lives. How did Jesus display heaven? He touched and healed, fed and watered, taught and cultivated, forgave and poured out his life. His followers can do no less if we are in fact to be His followers. Share on earth as you will share in heaven. Let the hospitality of heaven define your hospitality here. Let His kingdom be demonstrated in you."

I love that I have friends that know they can call me and let me know their need. I love that I have the reputation of being a giver, wether it is to borrow my vacuum, or borrow my car, wether to ask for money, or ask help. I especially love when God gives me the ability to give when someone hasn't asked, wether it is  a ticket to Bulgaria or a computer for Bible college, or paying the electric bill or giving something to someone instead of selling it to them.

Now that the economy has gotten tighter it will be easy to make even more excuses to not give. But having gone through a year of severe downsizing, and 3 months of living in Bulgaria, I will tell you, if you make some simple changes in your lifestyle you will be able not only to give but to give big. And as hard as it is to be the one giving, it is even harder to be the one receiving. Because in our culture we value self-suffientcy, we expect it from others as well as from ourselves. But the kingdom of God encourages us to be dependent on God and to be dependable for others.

So I challenge you...... 1. Look for opportunities to give 2. Ask God to show you what life changes you could make in order to give more  3. Strive to be that person others know they can depend on 4. Give big and trust God to meet your need.

LORD, why can't I hear YOU?

LORD, why can't I hear YOU?
Take off your headphones, God has something to say to you