Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Reckless lover's of Christ

Reckless Lover’s of Christ

Here’s to the hero of the San Francisco marathon who crossed the finish line without seeing it (He was blind).

Here’s to the woman whose husband left her with a nest of kids to raise and bills to pay, but who somehow tells me every Sunday that god has never been closer.

Here’s to the single father of two girls who learned to braid their hair.

Here’s to the grandparents who came out of retirement to raise the children their children couldn’t raise.

Here’s to the foster parents who took in a child long enough for that child to take their hearts -then gave the child up again.

Here’s to the girl, told by everyone to abort the baby, who chose to keep the baby.

Here’s to the doctor who treats more than half of his patients for free.

Here is to the heroin addict turned missionary.

Heres to the executive who every Tuesday hosts a 5:30 am meeting for
Bible study and prayer.

Here is to all of your reckless lovers of God.

In the Eye of the Storm

*Allow me continue on….

Here’s to the Dad who coaches and prays with his team… he may be the only man doing this in these children’s lives.

Here’s to ALL the women who cook for those in need even though they are still busy with their own young families.

Here’s to the teacher who stays after school to share the word of God with students.

Here’s to the women who volunteer in the nursery so other women can be fed.

Here’s to the elderly woman who works at the grocery store…she always has a smile even though she is still living paycheck to paycheck. 

Here’s to the family who’s little boy is suffering with cancer, yet they praise God and trust Him with their son’s life.

Here’s to the child who sticks up for the one being bullied.

Here’s to the teacher who sees the beauty in every student she has ever taught because they were handcrafted by God.

Here’s to the woman fighting stage 4 cancer…praying her entire family becomes saved through her suffering.

I could go on….and on….and on…..about reckless lovers of life.

So thankful to The Giver of life…

Who are the reckless lovers of life in YOUR life?

From Max Lucado's "You Changed my Life" and Janelle at Comfy in the Kichen.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Facing my fears.

We had gone to the Outer Banks about 8 years ago. So when our friends called to invite us to go again, I knew what to expect.

I remembered the lighthouses and the wild horses.
The beautiful, natural beaches and the dunes.
And the tunnel.

The dreaded, underwater tunnel.
I hyperventilated eight years ago while riding through this tunnel and now I was faced with taking my children through it.
Seriously, I considered not going just because of this tunnel.
Running a close second to the tunnel....bridges! Not just any bridges - long bridges that seemed as if they were sitting on top of the ocean with big hills in the middle of them.
That seems to be a common thing when you choose to vacation on an island. Seeing how it is an island. You know, land surrounded by a body of water. That kind of island.

So, what to do? I knew we would never have an opportunity to stay for free at an oceanfront beach house anytime soon. I knew that the boys, especially Joshua, had been hounding me to go to the beach for two years. I knew that a vacation was something that we all needed.

I knew that while I'm great at spouting off the perfect "church" answer to other peoples problems or quoting just the right bible verse for a situation, this situation would make me face the real deal. My fears. As unrealistic as they may be.

I'm afraid of tunnels, and bridges, and small spaces. There, I said it. And instead of "growing out of it" or getting better at dealing with my fears with age, I was actually getting worse.

I packed my only, lonely Xanax that I had left over from an MRI on my shoulder two years ago. I was ready to face the tunnel.

Then, it happened.

Have you ever been listening to the radio and had a song stuck in your head? That's what happened to me, only I wasn't listening to the radio. On the nine hour drive down, one thing kept popping into my head.

"Fear not, for I am with you
do not be dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you'
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

When the time came, I drove through the tunnel and over the bridges. And while, in the interest of honesty, I did still take some deep breaths and white knuckle the steering wheel - I made it. And I did it without pharmacological help.

I love that I serve a God who cares so much about me.
Irrational fears and all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Is God Letting Your Family Down?

Is God Letting Your Family Down?

Tim Palla

The portable incubator

Thanks to the local 4-H office I have an egg incubator in my study. I thought it would be a fun project -- for the kids, of course. As it turns out, it's not a project at all. You set up the incubator, put eggs in the holders, set the thermostat to the correct temperature, and wait. That's it. What was I thinking?

It takes 21 days for chicken eggs to hatch, but that's irrelevant to the five resident egg inspectors that bear my last name. They intrude my study more now than ever -- especially the three youngest ones. "Hi, Dad! Just checking for peeps." I have a hunch this phrase will be repeated often enough to wear holes in my eardrums.

"Hey Dad, will you call me if anything happens?" they inquire. "Sure will," I reply with a slight nod. The fact that I've answered that same question, or a variation of it, twice already this morning means nothing to them. They need my reassurance and I'll continue to give it. This is one of my higher callings in life.

Seeing is believing

Fertilized bird eggs aren't fair to their onlookers. Day after day, eggs look the same. Nothing changes. When the barn cat became pregnant, we watched her go from a size "00" to an 8-XXL in a matter of days. We knew when she was about to pop. It was obvious through the changes in her body. After the Collie was bred, we were mesmerized by the dozen or so spigots which protruded from her sagging abdomen. They appeared overnight. Nevertheless, there is nothing exciting about egg-watching. Eggs are boring. It's always the same scene, just a different day.

There are several reasons why this could get frustrating. First of all, I don't know which ones will hatch and which ones will rot. I can't tell a fertilized egg from an unfertilized one at this point. Second of all, other than plugging in a couple of electrical cords, my work requires no effort, no specialized skill, no talent. I can't make anything happen. My job is simply to wait. Zzzzzzzz... Zzzzzzzz... Zzzzzzzz...

It's hard to be optimistic and excited when nothing changes. What thrill is there when, day in and day out, the temperature never varies and the shell is just as round and hard and smooth as it was the day before? Soon you hear yourself asking strange questions. "What if this is all in vain? What if nothing ever happens and it's all a big joke? What if I'm disappointed? What if God lets me down?"

Seeing through God's eyes

One morning it dawned on me. These eggs are not boring at all -- they're actually encouraging. A dear friend from church was frustrated with a spouse who had no interest in spiritual things. "I pray and pray and pray. I talk and witness and then I cry, worry, and pray more. Still, nothing changes. It makes no difference."

Without missing a beat, I glanced over at the climate-controlled box on top of my file cabinet. I explained to my friend that life's most awesome mysteries happen in the most boring places. When there's no visible changes, no reason to believe, no hope on the horizon...then stand back and "see the salvation of the Lord." He works on the inside -- in the soul -- where no human eye can detect His secret ways.

Sure, things look the same on the outside, but only the Lord can see what's going on in the heart. It may seem to us that nothing is changing. The outer shell still appears to be hard and stubborn, but who can tell what's growing on the inside? Not me. My part is to trust, faithfully obey, and wait. I know I'll be amazed when God reveals the power of His grace, but it's hard to remember that grace is sown in the heart, not on the skin. We're not Chia pets.

Out of the mouth of babes

Today, I was lifted and encouraged by 17 brown eggs. The Lord used them to teach me to "walk by faith, not by sight." I'm thankful that God has hid some things from my eyes and revealed other things to "babes." My own wide-eyed optimistic "babes" seem to have more revelation than I do at this point. There's a lesson in it for me (and you), I'm sure.

Against my counsel, 3 of my youngest children have started picking out "chicken names." My daughter (the baby) will choose names like Jade (after one of her dolls) or Heather (a young woman who has recently started attending our church). The boys have chosen names based upon the size and shades of the sepia-toned shells: Big Brownie, Tiny Tan. Their creativity and optimism increase each day. They instinctively know that something's "goin'-on" inside those eggs -- something they can't see -- yet they expect the "big reveal" every day. They aren't sitting back waiting for day 21 like their Dad, and they're not bored.

For the next few days five inquisitive minds will sporadically gaze into a borrowed incubator from sunrise to sunset. Their anxious gestures will remind me that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." While you and I may look on the outside and think nothing has changed, God is diligently shaping what's inside. Isn't that where He always starts? If you have adopted the frustrating mindset of "nothing ever changes," remember that the miracle is occurring inside the egg. Today, have hope... and wait like a child.

Timothy Palla is the pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in the Lucasville/Minford area of Southern Ohio. He and his lovely wife Jennifer have five children; Drew, Dane, Aidan, Ethan, and Meghan. You may contact him at

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sharing Compassion.

As you can see from this video, your sponsorship of a child has great potential
to dramatically change that child's life for the better. And just as Michelle
spoke of how she was able to eventually sponsor a child herself, only God knows
how far the effects of your sponsorship will truly reach.

If you feel God calling you to sponsor a child, I encourage you to be obedient.
You may reach Selena Campbell at 304.363.0944, to look through the several child
packets that she still has available; or you can visit the Compassion website and choose a specific child and begin your sponsorship today.

Guest post by Selena Campbell.

Ladies Day Tea

Thanks to Lori Shaffer for the great pictures.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Things my Mother taught me....

My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE .
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

My mother taught me RELIGION.
"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

My mother taught me LOGIC.
"Because, I said so, that's why."

My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
"If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

My mother taught me IRONY.
"Keep crying and I'll give you something to cry about."

My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

My mother taught me about WEATHER.
"This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
"If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out"

My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait until we get home."

My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way."

My mother taught me HUMOR.
"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.
"If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"

My mother taught me WISDOM.
"When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Some Mother's Day thoughts.

The web is full right now of great, inspirational stories of all the wonderful things Moms do. Trust me, I know.  Having the privilege to be Joshua, John & Josiah's mom is truly a blessing I never thought I would have.

I can remember very clearly several Mother's Day's prior to their arrival. It was a dreaded experience. I hated the commercials, the cards, and especially the church service. I finally stopped attending church on Mother's Day because it was too painful.

You see, everyone else was celebrating having what I wanted so very badly, but couldn't have - for reasons only God knows.

And yes, I was eventually able to carry three healthy full term baby boys, but I still remember how it felt.

So would you join me in something that might be a little different for you this year? In the midst of celebrating all things Mom, take a moment and ask God to comfort those who are struggling with infertility, uncertain pregnancies or loss.

We may never know why we go through difficult times, but we can be certain that we have a God that is with us every step of the way.

Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Refreshing.....and refreshments!

I was talking with Tammy last night about the Ladies Tea.  You see, I've not gone in many years.  My grandma is not able to attend anymore, my mom doesn't want to go, and I have all boys.  It always kind of seemed like it really wasn't meant for me. 

But last night, it was like a little light went off.  While I don't have anyone to attend with me as a "Mother/Daughter" tea,  I have lots of wonderful church family to attend with.  Ladies who I am so blessed to know as well as others I need to get to know better.  What better opportunity than a gathering of women where the purpose is fellowship and celebrating the women and girls in our church!

Heather Sprenger will be sharing with us.  I love to hear her speak - she should do it more often.  The IMPACT girls have been working hard on their song with Mackenzie West.  And the talented Emily DeWitt will be leading us in worship.  Tammy and the group have a great spread set up for us:  flavored teas, punch, bundt cakes, veggie pizzas, chicken salad, fruits, veggies....and PB&J and cookies for the girls.  I'm sure it will be delish and beautiful as always.

So, if you like me and it wasn't your intention to go, would just think about it?  I think we'll have a great time.

It's not to late to sign up.  Sign up tonight at church, at the welcome center or call the church and just let them know you'll be attending. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Celebrate What Matters 2012


Of course you are!

That's why we're loading up a bus full of ladies and heading to Columbus on August 3rd. 

Here's the plan:

We'll leave on Friday morning, taking a shopping break at Easton Town Center, then continue on to Women of Faith for the Friday evening session. 
After a refreshing nights sleep in a room that you don't have to clean, we'll head back to Women of Faith for a day of fellowship and fun.  (Did you see that my girl Mandisa will be there.....she's awesome!)  It should end around 4 or 5pm.  Then it's a bus ride back home. 

The cost is $185.00, that includes everything except your food and whatever shopping you choose to do. 

Turn your committment form and $50.00 in to Sylvia soon to save your spot.  The remaining money will be due by July 1st. 

Sounds like a great time!

Friday, May 4, 2012

One Final Look.....

Photos courtesy of Whitney Slagle.

A big thanks to all of our Sister's in Christ for joining us for a wonderful conference!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A New Kind of Normal.

I just wanted to pass on a letter that was received after the conference. 

Dearest Tammy:

In the Hebrew language there is a beautiful word, "Avodah," which translates
"labor." You and your team have surely "labored" for the Carol Kent
conference . . . but it was a "Labor of Love" to a multitude of ladies!!!

Walking through the door really took my breath away. I stood to take in the
wonderfully draped fabric. What a brilliant idea and whole lot of work!!!!!
I have seen pictures of that and have even seen worship teams use vast
amounts of fabric as they moved throughout the congregation. However, these
were in place and spoke to me throughout the entire day! Thank you for
making that happen. AND, it is STILL SPEAKING to me!

Everywhere I went, there was MUCH ATTENTION given to detail to love on,
pamper, minister, and honor the ladies. The tables were so colorful and
elegant. I noticed all of the "girly girl" things in the restrooms. Don't
we have lovely restrooms, by the way! Your team has a real "flare" for
taking over the men's room!!!

Someone even thought about NOT putting the warmed chicken sandwich in the
box ahead of time. HATS OFF to the Heplers in ALL that they do and bless!
That volume of people just flowed right into the process very nicely. Even
the iced water was a unique presentation!

It just thrilled me to watch and listen as the ladies commented on all that
your team did to make that happen. What a beautiful thing to be made
soooooo very welcome as people are driving in from other locations and
different churches. I sat by a lady from Elkins who heard it on the radio!

I heard lots of great comments and saw many tender tears as these ladies
were "loved on" and "tended to" in a very personal and healing way. You and
your team flow in a spirit of excellence. I am certain that group of ladies
will remember this for many years to come because of the prayers, words,
healing, and delivering deeds of love and kindness.

Peace be unto you and yours,

Brenda Nickolich

Photo courtesy of Linda Day.