Archive for the ‘Church’ Category


A recurrent theme in our family lately has been, “How do we hear God’s voice when He speaks?  Or, what does God’s voice sound like?”  While we consistently tell our kids that one of the best ways to hear God’s voice is to read His Word because that is His love letter to us, it is also important that our children understand that being a Christian is all about being in a PERSONAL relationship with the Creator.  That means that, if we will have “ears to hear” Him, He will speak to us individually in intimate, personal ways.  I had such an experience yesterday.

I went for my morning run.  As I was walking to warm up, I thought about which route I wanted to run, country route to be alone or street route among the neighbors.  I chose country route because I was stressed, grumpy and just wanted to get away.  About .75 miles into my run, the thought occurred to me that I was running one of my neighborhood routes backwards and I could change my mind and go through a neighborhood.  I had a feeling that the thought was placed there by God, but I had no idea why.  I told God that if He wanted me to go that way for some reason, I would but He needed to confirm that this thought was His rather than mine, because I really just wanted to go the country route.  The thoughts kept coming that I could go the neighborhood route, but I had no confirmation that it wasn’t anything more than just my thoughts.  So, at the decision point where I had to go right (to the country) or left (through the neighborhood), I went right.

At that moment, the thought occurred to me that if God had actually wanted me to go through the neighborhood for some reason, I would now never know why.  That thought caused me to turn around and go the neighborhood route. (OK, God.  Something better happen to make this worth it, because I really wanted to go the other route.)

I passed two men in a garage changing out a water heater.  (Is this why I came this way?)  They didn’t even look my direction.  (Apparently, not).  I kept running.

(I could keep going straight here instead of turning left on my normal route and cut my run short.  But then I might miss whatever it is God has in store for me, if anything.)  I turned left.

About 1.5 miles into my run, I looked ahead and saw a white car blocking the sidewalk in front of me.  I could tell that it had 2 hearts on the door and wondered if the logo was for a dating service or something.  As I approached, I was able to read the print.  Whoever drove the car worked for Hospice.  I have a special place in my heart for Hospice because my daddy had a very special Hospice nurse when he passed away from cancer 23 years ago.

As I got a few steps away from the car, I felt as if God were telling me to stop and pray.  (This is it.  This is why He brought me this way.)  So I stopped running, paused my running app, placed my hand on the back of the car, and prayed.  Not knowing whether the person who drove the car lived in the house or was there to aid someone ill in the house, I didn’t know exactly how to pray.  I asked God to be with the person who drove the car, to help them to have an effective ministry and to be able to bring peace to those in the greatest need of their lives.  (Amen.)

I looked around and saw no one.  I looked down to my armband preparing to restart my running app and be on my way.  I felt another nudge.  (No, God.  Please.)  I felt the nudge to go knock on the front door of the house.  (God, if this is really You asking me to do this, I’ll do it.  But how do I know it’s You and not just me over-thinking this?  Show me a sign.)  No sign, but still the nudge to act.  (God, if this is not You, it will be so embarrassing.  Not to mention that if someone is in there with their loved one lying on their deathbed, they don’t want to talk to me, if it’s not You speaking to me!)  No sign, but still the nudge to act.  (God, I want to be obedient to You.  If You want me to speak to them, confirm to me somehow that this is really coming from You.  Let them open the door or something.)

AT THAT EXACT MOMENT, the garage door began to raise.  (OK, God.  I get it.  Thank you.)  I saw a pair of legs getting into the van.  The door continued to raise.  The van began to back out.  Then, I assume they saw me standing behind them just waiting, they stopped suddenly.  I continued to stand there and lifted my sunglasses from my eyes onto my head so they could see me as I spoke to them.  I was nervous, but convinced at this point that I was doing what God wanted me to do, even if I didn’t know why.  They, realizing that I wasn’t going anywhere, continued to back out and began rolling down their driver’s side window.  The van stopped in front of me and I looked into the concerned face of a man.

“Hi,” I said to him.  “I was on my morning run and this car here and felt the urge to stop and pray for the person who drives it.  I don’t know if someone who lives here drives it or if someone who lives here is in need of the services provided by them, but I prayed for both.”  The concern melted away from his face and he plunged his hand through the window to shake mine.

“My name is Brian,” he said.  “I drive that car.  I work for them.”  Pointing to the passenger’s seat, he said, “This is my son, Evan.”

“Hello, Evan.  My name is Jodi.  I live in the neighborhood.  My dad died of cancer a long time ago and Hospice helped us greatly.  I really am thankful for that ministry.  So, thank you Brian, for doing what you do.”

“You’re welcome!” he said.  “Have a good day.”

“You, too!  God bless!”  I said, as I ran off, restarting my running app.  Within a couple of steps, as Brian drove away, I began to weep uncontrollably.  (Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You, God!  I don’t know why You wanted that exchange to take place today, but I am convinced that You did!  Thank You for using me!  Thank You for speaking to me!  Just, thank You!)

When I got home, I was able to share this experience with my family.  I don’t know how, if at all, this experience impacted Brian, but I know it impacted me.  It was another fingerprint of God in my life.  It is another example to my children of who God is, how much He cares about us and how He speaks to us, because HE DOES STILL SPEAK!


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Some of you know that Shmoopy and I have decided to give up the safety of Suburbia and simply follow where the Holy Spirit leads…no matter the cost.  There are several reasons for this decision, but that’s another post for another day. (We actually intend to start a blog about this new journey of ours. Stay tuned.)  Well, we’ve been earnestly praying and seeking God’s will as to what He would have us do and where He would have us do it.  We feel pretty sure that we are called to live among the poor, but we have not known whether that would be in inner-city America, Cambodia, Kenya or somewhere else.  We’ve done massive amounts of research in addition to our prayers in the last month in hopes that a door would open.  We still don’t have an open door, but we may have been told today which direction to look in, which is a HUGE answer to prayer when you consider how big this world of ours is!

The answer began on day last week.  I was getting anxious and depressed because I felt like we weren’t feeling any direction for our journey.  I fell asleep one night praying, begging, that God would tell us where to go.  We didn’t care where; we would definitely go if He would just tell us where.  The next morning, I awoke with a single word running through my mind very loudly, very clearly: BRAZIL, BRAZIL, BRAZIL…

This had happened to me once before in answer to earnest prayer, but, again, that’s another post for another day.  Honestly, I kind of thought to myself that God wouldn’t make it that easy for me and I had probably just read something about Brazil and it was just a subconscious response.  Brazil wasn’t even on our radar; it wasn’t one of the places we had found possible opportunities.  So I dismissed the notion that God may be calling us to go to Brazil, and didn’t even mention it to Shmoopy.

Then this morning as we were in the car on our way to San Antonio for a house church conference, I was praying again, begging God to just tell us where He wanted us to go, and we would go.  All of a sudden, a picture flashed in my mind for the briefest of seconds.  However, brief, though, it was a very clear picture.  It was the huge statue of Jesus that overlooks Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  My thoughts were:

1. That was weird.

2. Hey, that thing’s in Brazil and I had Brazil on my mind the other morning. Weird!

3.Again, I’m just trying to make something out of nothing because I want so desperately for God to reveal our destination to us.

So, again, I dismissed the notion that this was possibly an answer to our earnest prayers and didn’t even mention it to Shmoopy.

Then, this afternoon, as we were on a hot bus taking a tour of house churches in San Antonio, I received the following message from my dear friend Kyle (who happens to be at the Q conference in Chicago with his wife this week):

“If you all are interested in being missionaries to a hot zone, research Rio de Janeiro. Home of the 2016 Olympics.  One of the most beautiful cities in the world and also one of the most dangerous.  And they need Jesus in a big way!”

Shmoopy and I were talking, I can’t remember who was in mid-sentence, but whomever it was stopped.  He could see the utter shock on my face and my eyes welling with tears, so he asked me what was wrong.  I tried my best to explain all of the above to him through my tears and hyperventilation.  It was as if God were telling met o “WAKE UP!  I KEEP TELLING YOU WHERE TO GO AND YOU KEEP ASKING AGAIN!!!  GO TO BRAZIL!”

I’m not sure what all this means, but I do know that Shmoopy and I will be fervently researching Rio de Janeiro while continuing to pray for the Holy Spirit’s continued leading.  Man, God is always so faithful to us, and I don’t just mean Shmoopy and I.  He’s faithful to all of us.  And what an adventure it is to finally trust Him with EVERYTHING!

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I began reading the Bible to Boss when he was a newborn baby.  I’ve tried to read it to him everyday, though there are days when it just doesn’t get done…and that’s okay.  Well, tonight, in anticipation of his 6th birthday tomorrow, we finished the last chapter of Revelation.  We read the entire Bible together!!!  It took us 6 years, but we did it!  The great thing about it is that he loves reading his Bible!  He asks me every night if we can have Bible time.  I pray that this love of God’s word continues in his life.  And I’m so glad to be able to share this accomplishment with “my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

Note: In case you’re wondering, Bubba and I are in 1 Chronicles and Sissy and I are in Judges!

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I just realized that I wrote a post last Mother’s Day and never hit publish, so, for those of you who care, here it is:

My Mother’s Day was so nice and restful…for the most part.  First, my mom, God bless her, asked if the boys could come spend the night with her Saturday night and go to church with her this morning.  I jumped on that and said, “Yes, please”, (after checking with Shmoopy to make sure it wouldn’t ruin any surprise for them to do so).

So this morning was much quieter than usual, though it started just as early as ever since we still had Sissy with us and she must be nursed at 7am!  Once we were all ready for church, Shmoopy told me he was taking me to breakfast before church wherever I wanted to go.  Now, I know this is weird, but I chose McDonald’s.  I’m allergic to eggs and, therefore, not big on breakfast foods anyway.  But McDonald’s has a steak and cheese bagel that I find yummy and their Mocha Lattes are delicious!  Say what you want, but that’s what I wanted and I got it!

Then we went to church, which is a house church.  Today was special in that the men, mostly Kyle (Thanks, Kyle, it was delish!), made the lunch and even cleaned up afterwards.  It was so nice.  I didn’t have to tend to the boys and beg them to eat.  I just got to sit back and relax!  Thanks, guys!

Also, my very sweet Shmoopy bought a single long-stemmed rose for all of the moms in our church, including me, of course!  He’s yummy, too!

Then, when the boys finally came home from Grammy’s house this afternoon, we went to Chili’s (again, my choice) for dinner.  This was preceded by the one not so sweet time of the day when Boss cried and cried for 15 minutes because his Daddy made him take his long-sleeved shirt and jeans off to change into something cooler.  My mother must’ve kept them up until midnight last night!

Anyway, somehow, Shmoopy was able to erase that poor attitude so much so that dinner was actually quite pleasant.  They even took turns saying what they loved about me.

Shmoopy said he loves how well I take care of the kids.

Boss said he loves when I run to him when he’s hurt and make it better.

Bubba said he just loves me!

Sissy couldn’t voice it, but I know she was thinking, “I’m thankful for her milk!”  (Hey, I know reality!)

All in all, it was a very peaceful, sweet day!  I’m thankful to be so beyond blessed!

To top it off, we had two couples tell us today that they’re ready to put deposits down on our rental house.  So now we have a decision to make.  God is so good and faithful to ALWAYS take care of us!

Happy Mother’s Day, indeed!mothers-day

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I promised a series about how I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God is real.  It took me awhile to get to it, but here is part 1 of the series.

When I was in third or fourth grade, I lived with my dad and stepmom in a run-down trailer house on the wrong side of town.  Daddy and his wife were avid bird lovers and owned over 100 birds.  Daddy was a carpenter and had built a green house that housed most of the birds right outside my bedroom window.  On colder nights, he would place space heaters in the green house to keep the birds warm.

One night, I was lying in my bed, which faced my bedroom window, sleeping when I heard a voice saying, “Jodi, wake up.  Wake up, Jodi.”  I woke up to a surprising sight.  It was Jesus surrounded by a bright light!  Almost as soon as I saw Him there, He disappeared.  I then noticed a flashing light coming from the window.  I got up and looked outside my window into the green house to see what was causing the flashing light and saw that there was a fire!

I ran out of my bedroom into the kitchen where my stepmom was sitting and told her.  She told me to go tell my dad, who was sleeping in their bedroom.  I ran in to tell him, and he got up and put out the fire before any of the birds were harmed.  One of the space heaters had started the fire because of an exposed wire.

This was very clear to me that God had woken me up in time to get the fire put out before it harmed anyone.  Trailers are notorious for burning very quickly.  If that fire had reached my bedroom wall, I most likely would not have had time to get out of my room because my bedroom door was directly adjacent to that wall and the only window out of the room was the one looking into the green house.  Say what you want, but that was proof to me that God is real, God cares about us and God has a purpose for my life.jesus

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god-is-realThere seems to be an epidemic in the Church of young adults choosing to leave once they are out of their parents’ homes.  I know it has been a hot topic of discussion in the board, committee and small group meetings I’ve been a part of in recent years.  The question posed is always, “Why?”.  I think the answer for many of them is that they are not experiencing the reality of God.  They go to Sunday School for 18 years in their mostly-safe suburban worlds and never are forced to depend on God.  The only reason they are left with to believe in God is that their parents believe in God.  And for many, that’s just not good enough…nor should it be.

Several weeks back, I taught the Kids’ Time in our church and focused on Real vs. Fake and emphasized that God is real, unlike many of the superheroes our kids hear about all the time (i.e.: Superman, Optimus Prime, Spiderman, etc…)  It’s of the utmost importance to me that my kids not only hear the stories of Christ as they grow and learn, but that they understand that those stories are real…God is real…and, therefore, God’s love for us is real.

I had a fairly crappy childhood, and I am convinced that I only survived it, and even flourished despite it, because I knew that God was real and I relied on Him to get me through the mire.  It became clear to me in college that many of my friends, who had not experienced the same kind of childhood that I had, had reached a crisis point as to why they believed the things they believed.  To some extent I wrestled with the same question, but I never doubted for one second that God is real.

In the next several posts I will tell some of the reasons why I believe, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that God is real and really loves me.  Some people may say these occurrences were conincidental, some may say I’m lying and some may say I’m mistaken.  Regardless, these will be stories of how God has reached down His loving arms into my life and proven His love for me…as if giving His only Son to die on the cross for my sins wasn’t enough.  I am so…beyond blessed!

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