Posted in Life Lessons Disciplines of the Faith, Uncategorized

Checking 13 Bags of Crazy Thru to Bucharest part III: Worship




If you’re like me, when other people report on a mission trip I kind of tune out a little.  It’s not that I don’t want to hear about their experience. It’s just that it’s hard to enter into their excitement since I didn’t experience it myself.  I must have heard a few dozen times before this trip about how people in other countries have such authentic worship as compared to Americans.  But, how does one process that information if they are American?  Does that make me a fake because I’m an American?  Or does it make me somehow inferior?  I mean, I’m doing the best I know, so why am I being shamed?  That’s how, I usually feel anyway…just sayin.  But, truly that’s not my intention in writing down my experiences here.  Oh, it is much different in Romania that is for sure.  But, so is the entire culture, so to say they are better than us isn’t really my point. They’re just different.  I’m pretty sure there are people in Romania who just show up to church, or who don’t come ready with hearts prepared to worship, just like here in America.   I do propose, though, that the number of those people is much fewer and I will explain why later, but what I’m trying to say is that not everyone there is a super Christian, just the same as here.  Some go to clear their conscience, some to please someone else, or some, because they are lonely or outcast, or curious.  But those who come ready, and prepared are definitely apparent and boy was it amazing to witness. Was I blessed and inspired?  Oh yes…immensely.  Has it changed my worship and views of church?  Hmmm, maybe some, but honestly, I’ve been trying to be authentic for years now.  Some years and days are better than others, and I’m sure I fall prey to the American trap of soft and non-sacrificial worship.   I believe with all of my heart though, I’ve been challenged to grow and move forward with walls down and roof off.  So, without judgments or offenses I give to you Romanian worship.

Our Group in front of the Rogova church/feeding center
Our Group in front of the Rogova church/feeding center

Saturday P.M.

Our first Service was at the church in a little village called Rogova, where our feeding center is located.  We arrived early to take a tour of the building, which housed the church and feeding center all in one.  The building itself has quite a history.  The Soviet Army used it for communist propaganda during WWII, then it went through different phases of being a movie house, a nightclub/disco and more.  At one time there was thought to be a ghost and the people of the town said that only the “Repenters” (their name for Baptist Christians which is meant to be derogatory, but I think is great!) could claim this building for good!  The church had been meeting in a small meeting room for a while, but after a group of teens from Kentucky had visited the ball got rolling and God provided in amazing ways for them to acquire this building.  I was so excited that our church had gotten to be a part of this building acquisition and reclaiming for the Lord.

Before the services started, Pastor Rica offered to take us on a walk around the village.  It was more like a stroll or even maybe a saunter, for we walked slowly and as we walked people came running out to greet Pastor Rica (even people who weren’t members of the church!).  Children joined us, and villagers greeted us.

Pastor Rica with friend Mac (who first brought him to Rogova) and a village boy
Pastor Rica with friend Mac (who first brought him to Rogova) and a village boy


Most of the properties are the same set up with a house, small yard and a wall around the property.  Many have benches setting outside of the front gates that they sit on in the evening and greet their neighbors.  The roads were dirt and pocked throughout.  There were the occasional “leftovers” from the flocks that were herded through town in the evening, so we had to watch our steps.  As we rounded one corner we saw the village water well, where they still came to get their water for some of the houses.  That itself is a sad topic, because most of the villagers had kidney problems from the well water.  Filtering could get rid of bacteria, but there is a problem with chemicals leaching into the rocks in this area and that cannot be filtered out.  It’s just a fact of life that they will have to deal with kidney problems as they grow.  Poor as they were, my most beautiful impression of this entire country is that they all try to make their space as beautiful as possible.  Geraniums were everywhere!  I guess I’ve always had an appeal for geraniums, so it really stood out to me.   Other flowers were used as well to try and bring some beauty to their little neck of the woods.

Village water well in Rogova
Village water well in Rogova

This part of their beauty was heart warming, however, what was sad was when we rounded the corner where the Orthodox Church stood.  Majestic and mighty, gilded and beautiful, it was a pillar of false doctrine and thievery.  I grieved the lies that were preached as the “church” used up all of the money.  Small idol centers were a staple item along roadways in many villages throughout the country.  It was a place people go and light a candle and pray to a dead “saint” trying to appease this false idea of who God is and what He requires.  Yet, as we continued our walkabout, and people flocked to Pastor Rica, I was heartened by what he represented to them…TRUTH!  He preaches a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  With the Bible as authority (not man or priest), He teaches them the truth that through this personal relationship with Christ we can be forgiven and set free from sin.  We serve a risen Savior and a living God who cares about them where they are (more to come on this).


Chippy and friend who followed us around on our walk through Rogova
Chippy and friend who followed us around on our walk through Rogova


The Orthodox Church in Rogova
The Orthodox Church in Rogova



Faces of Rogova
Faces of Rogova

As we arrived back at the church, people were beginning to gather for services.  2nd man was getting the honor and privilege to preach at the three services we would be attending and he took this privilege seriously and humbly, so we were anxious to get started.  Inside the building I started taking some pictures as people allowed.  I am still in debt to them in that I need to get them developed and mailed back, as they love to have a copy or see their pictures.  I kept a small journal with me throughout the trip and especially during services I’d jot down observations such as these:


“I don’t understand a word, but the people are so loving and attentive.”

“The service:  starts with singing

Rogova congregation
Rogova congregation
  • –     a gentleman from the congregation brings a small devotion
  • –     the natives around me (kids and teens) are restless in the back of the room…at least the young ones
  • –     The little boy next to me on his sister’s lap whispers something I cannot understand. His sister says in broken English ‘he says you are angel’ um tear!
  • –     There was no room by our group to sit, so I ended up in the middle of all of these kids! Love it!”
  • –     After the devotion was prayer time. Started with a young boy about Jarod’s age (8yrs) and then one at a time others would just stand up and pray. No hesitation or coaxing, just fervent sincere prayers!”
My little friend who said, "You are angel!"
My little friend who said, “You are angel!”
  • –     The group behind me came tonight, probably to see the American visitors. They were restless and kind of noisy, I’m sure it’s a process to teach them to behave in church. The girl in front of me opens a candy bar and water and the little ones flock to her like ducks right in the middle of service!
  • –     When the little ones next to me were talking during preaching the woman to my left reached right over me and whacked them with her paper fan! She paid no mind to my being there…too funny!!
  • –     After the prayer time the mandolin band played. I love this music! It’s kind of like Euro bluegrass. Sounded like Fiddler on the Roof…without the fiddler….mandolins instead…never mind. 

    New friends in Rogova
    New friends in Rogova
  • Jerry Abbot gave intros. Of the American group
  • –     Kyliegh Garza played piano and then her mom, Connie, gave her testimony of how God provided them the way to make the trip. She was visibly nervous at first, but pulled it together and did a perfect job!
  • –     A woman’s group sang for us after that
  • –     Then 2nd man got up to preach with an interpreter or as he called it, and interrupterAfter the service a trio of Muslim teenage boys approached 2 Man and one in particular asked him some pointed questions about his claims that God cares. 2nd man took the opportunity to graciously answer their questions the best he could and you could see their countenances begin to soften as he talked to them with tenderness and not defensiveness. After about 15 or 20 minutes, they left with plenty to think about.

    2nd Man talking with some teen boys in Rogova
    2nd Man talking with some teen boys in Rogova
  •       We waited for a few minutes as the shepherds drove their sheep into town after a days grazing and the loaded on the bus back to Severin.
  • He preached from II Kings 6 about the story of Elisha and the floating ax head with his main points being that God cares for you. He cares about the big and the little things and He doesn’t want us to worry. That’s pretty simplified, but He’s the eloquent one in the family.”


Waiting for the herd to pass before getting back on the bus in Rogova
Waiting for the herd to pass before getting back on the bus in Rogova


Sunday A.M.:

Services in Severin Sunday morning started out much the same way as in Rogova.  Severin was the city church that we had first seen when we arrived.  The gentleman who gave the morning devotional gave it on 2. Cor. 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:  old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  I didn’t understand a word, but boy could that man preach with passion!  Afterwards the prayer service and music services proceeded much like in the Rogova church.  Bro. Sammy Ciupuliga worked hard in preparation for our arrival and it was evident in the music service.  The mandolin group along with others who weren’t there the night before played beautifully!  They even surprised us by playing our national anthem!  They are a very musically talented group and practically had a cantata ending with “To God be The Glory.”

2nd Man preaching in Severin
2nd Man preaching in Severin

2nd man then preached from Isaiah 6 about God’s core attribute of holiness.  It was a well put together sermon that he gave flawlessly with the help of Bro. Sammy.  They worked well together and really got into a rhythm.  The congregation was a responsive group with many who spoke out “Amen!” (Pronounced, a mean)


Morning Devotion time in Severin church
Morning Devotion time in Severin church

Most of the people in this church, though wealthier than the village people, walked to and from church.  As they left that day, they went through a line of us giving handshakes and expressing the word “Pace” (pronounced pacha) which means Peace.  It was a word that under communist rule would let them know who was a believer without getting caught.  It stuck and to this day the believers greet each other with this expression.  There was a gypsy woman who has been attending lately and she just all out grabbed my face and kissed both sides!


Lupsa Church
Lupsa Church

Sunday P.M.

After eating lunch at the church we loaded up in the bus to head to our next church service.  Well, let me back up first.  A few of our ladies had to get something ( I don’t even know what) from the grocery and asked if they could walk over before we left.  They hadn’t returned when we needed to leave so we drove the bus over to the store to try and find them.  There had been some sort of mix up with money and communication and it held them up.  So, 2nd Man, Brother Abbot and Pastor Rica all went in to try and find the ladies.  As they all returned to the bus I was giggling as the men surrounded these ladies and looked just like the shepherds that had herded their sheep into town the night before.  So, then, we headed to our next service. This was a bumpy 1-½ hour drive into the small mountain village of Lupsa.  This village was composed of about 400 people and was where Pastor Rica and his wife Cathy had grown up.  The church is located upstairs from a small Manna feeding center nestled into a hill and surrounded by dogs, chickens, ducks and even bee hives.  Pastor Rica’s own mother lives in a tiny apartment in the back of this building with just a bed, and small bathroom that takes buckets of water to flush down the toilet.  Such humble living.

The congregation in Lupsa
The congregation in Lupsa

The ladies all showed up with scarved heads greeting us much he same way as the other two churches with warmth and expressions of “Pace.”  The spirit was incredibly welcoming and casual.  I was stupidly out of place in that I hadn’t had time to change into flat shoes and stumbled my way up the hill into the church.

It was hot.  No other way to put it.  People in Romania just don’t have or use air conditioning and especially in a little remote church such as this one.  The room that was the church was about 25’ x 25’ in size with a patio out in front of it.  The Mandolin band had traveled with us to this service and set up outside on the patio.  They were delayed in their playing a bit because of the humidity in the air that affected their strings.  Two little girls who stood in front of us to sing touched me.  The younger one in particular was exceptionally talented in her singing.  Here they live in some remote forgotten village corner of the world, but yet they praise Him in their song.

The ladies and men from the congregation did much like the other churches in praying, but they also stood and read a scripture or sang a song or read a poem or gave a testimony from their week.  It was so moving even though we couldn’t understand them.  The singing was beautiful and the idea that a precious village lady who didn’t know much about the outside world, knew enough to stand and read poetry about the Lord!  It was convicting in the sense that we are, as Americans, emotionally handicapped in our praise, either leaning too heavy on feelings or not feeling at all.  This was genuine praise stripped down and raw, and real.

As I sat taking it all in, I was caught up in the whole environment.  As 2nd man preached, he was accompanied by clucking and quacking and rooster crows, I was soaking, soaking, soaking it all in.  A couple of hours later the services were all over.

A little piece of beauty
A little piece of beauty

No, people in other countries aren’t necessarily better than us and I’m not trying to shame anyone.  The truth is we do tend to get caught up in our soft living and mighty pride over here in America.  But, I do believe that we can learn much from our brothers and sisters in Christ who have faced harder times than we.  You see, while Romania was under communist rule until the late 80s people had no options of riding the fence in their Christianity.  You were either in or out, the choice had to be made, for the risk was great.  Risk breeds commitment and we just don’t face that here…yet.  Oh I don’t want to face risk any more than the next person, but I do want to learn what I can from a people who have faced the risk and blessedly come through!








Posted in Daily Musings, Healthy Living, Life Lessons Disciplines of the Faith, My Interests

I’m a Runner not a Singer

            The woman in this photo is not me.  Oh I wish I were that cute.  The man isn’t 2nd man either.  I like 2nd man the way he is though…I don’t want this guy.  Anyway, I just had to find a picture for today’s post.  It’s about running –in case you didn’t guess. 
Yes, in my never-ending quest to get healthy and look kinda cute too, we’ve taken up running.  We’re now in week 6 of the 9 week Couch potato to 5K running plan.  (I mentioned it in a previous post last week sometime.)   Anyway, I’m starting to get past the “What am I doing out here?” stage and moving into the excited, “I think I can” stage.  It feels good to be accomplishing something.  Especially since my running partner is a foot taller than I am and running brings on all sorts of heat rashes that they just don’t talk about on those biggest loser shows. 
I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, for about 10 years now to lose weight.  Everyone in my family is unhealthy and quite frankly, I’m scared to death to end up that way.  However, I’m beginning to wonder what my body’s deal is anyway.  The more I try – the unhealthier I get.  Since starting P90X and incorporating clean eating, I’ve now gained 10 lbs in the past year and my cholesterol has gone up.  So you might understand that I need to set goals that lead to other things than health and weight loss.  We’re on our way to doing this 5K in just four short weeks.  Then I can go around saying things like, “yeah, I’m a runner.”  Or “In my last 5k…”  I’ll let ya know if I make it.
This is not me either.  It’s my beautiful first born, Katie.  She can sing, so can my other daughter too.  I’m not sure where they got it, certainly not me.   However, I almost got my big chance last night.  Our new song leader, Jose approached me to inquire if I was a singer.  (Jose is an exciting new addition to the church staff.  I first heard him sing last winter at a youth retreat.  I could listen to him all day, such a beautiful and soothing voice.  He hails from West Coast Baptist Bible College and Lancaster Baptist church in Lancaster, CA.  I never thought he’d come to the middle of, well, here to be a song leader, But God is good and we got him!  And I just love to say his name, don’t know why, it just has such and exotic and fun feel to it.) Anyway, I hesitated for a few awkward moments trying to figure out how to answer him.    I finally went with the honest answer and told him no.  Our last song leader always said he’d save me a spot to sing on Thursdays of revival weeks.  That would be great except our revivals generally run Sunday through Wednesday.  Instead, I call myself an appreciator.  Society needs artists, singers and creative minds.  Those great minds need an audience, someone to appreciate them.  That’s where I fall in, as an appreciator.  It’s a non-glamorous job, but I try to do my part. 
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Life Lessons Disciplines of the Faith

Where have I been?

Where have I been?  Hmmmm well, you wouldn’t think that’s such a complicated question to answer, but hmmm.  Ok I’ll start with blaming the 2nd man on this one.  It all started when he preached a nifty little sermon a few weeks ago about murmuring and complaining.  To be exact it was on Philippians 2:14 “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.”  Need I even say more?  You know where I’m going already don’t ya?  My first fleshly response to this marvelous message was “Well fantastic!  I don’t sing, play piano, or any other good preachers wife kind of things.  The one thing I do great in life is murmur and complain and now that’s taken away!”  Just kidding…sort of ahem.    However, summer and the youth pastor’s wife don’t always agree with each other and I had found myself in a wonderful tizzy of disliking people, luggage, yards that needed mowing, flowers that needed watering, our falling apart house and cars, and pretty much anything else that was set in front of me.  To be perfectly honest, I was kind of disliking ministry too.  Now don’t give me that tsk tsk.  I love my Lord and savior.  I love my husband and family, it’s just that everything else was,well…a lot to ask of a worn out melancholy.  So, needless to say, though he didn’t intend on the message being just for me, it was.  I needed a good spiritual Bible slap to knock some sense and love back into this ole girl. 
            With that being said, a small battle of getting my mind and spirit straight ensued and I just couldn’t think of a thing to say on this blog that wouldn’t sound negative.  I’m coming out of the funk now.  School has started and routines are now getting back to our regular abnormal normal (whatever that means). The patience level is rising and the desire to strangle people with stupid questions is waning.  My respect for the Lord Jesus and his earthly ministry is once again full of a renewed awe.  How in the world he puts up with all of us (yes, myself included) is flabbergasting.
            Here’s the negative that’s happened since my last post about our Chicago trip in early July:
·        Another 3 day youth conference (also on the positive list)
·        A bug infested hotel room at the 3 day youth conference
·        My Grandma in Ohio passed away
·        No money to go to Grandma’s funeral
·        Feeling like the worst daughter in the world because of the funeral no go
·        Had to purchase glasses for daughter #1 with no insurance
·        Getting braces on daughter #2 with no insurance
·        It’s been like 105 + degrees for months now
·        No garden production due to the aforementioned heat and drought
·        Our pool finally gave up and collapsed
·        The schedule has been grueling and non stop
·        I’m dealing with some crazy physical pain and extreme fatigue in the midst of all of this
I’d expand and explain, but that would be crossing over more into the murmuring/complaining realm if I haven’t already.
 However, life isn’t all negative and God is good all of the time.  There have been some pretty special positives occur as well in the last month or so.  Here are a few:
·        Another 3 day youth conference filled with wonderful preaching and laughter filled memories with the teens.
·        We were given a non-bug infested room the 2nd night of the conference
·        I’ve talked with my parents more in the last week than in the past two months.
·        My daddy still loves me even though I couldn’t get to Ohio.
·        The church gave 2nd man a very generous raise this year, since last year there were no raises due to the economy.
·        We forgot to cancel our homeowners insurance when we switched insurance companies last year.  Therefore we received a very nice and unexpected check in the mail that will help to cover, glasses, braces and home schooling supplies!! Woot woot!
·        Since there’s such a drought, I haven’t really spent the time caring so much about the garden…even mowed some of it down.
·        The pool finally gave up and collapsed (yes this is a positive from the pool maintenance girl’s point of view)
·        The schedule is now getting more manageable
·        2nd man has started a running program with me to try to break through this pain barrier and get fit.
·        2nd man and I celebrated 14 years of marriage and were able to use hotel points (no cash!) to get away for a day or so.
·        Let’s face it the positives far outweigh the negatives and there are numerous more I could name and I know there are even more I don’t know about this side of Heaven.  Thank you Jesus for taking such good care of us!
Nobody reading this blog probably cares too much about my little lists.  But they are at least started for my benefit to look back on in thankfulness.  I’ve been away, but I’m ready to put on my Christian girl skirt and behave a little better now.  I really do love the people in our church and am grateful for them all.  Yes, really, all of them even the weird ones and the ones with stupid questions because, I’m probably that kind of person to someone else. 
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Life Lessons Disciplines of the Faith

The Stages of a Youth Pastor’s Wife Part II: The Honeymoon

Now, I’d like to start looking a little more specifically at different stages of being a youth pastor’s wife.  The first I’d like to tackle is the honeymoon stage.  No, not the marital honeymoon, but rather that first exciting year in ministry that is full of fire and energy.  Everyone has this stage whether it is a first ministry or even a move to a new ministry.  People are welcoming and you’re the newest and greatest thing to come along in most people’s minds.  Here comes the warning:  this stage does wear off!  That’s not to be said in a negative way.  Actually, it’s kind of nice when it does wear off so the focus can be off of you and, hopefully, onto the Lord and His work. 
When people think of a honeymoon stage they often think of it in mostly the positive light of a fresh new stage that is full of happiness.  However, just like in marriage, it is also full of learning and stumbling along the way in dealing with others.  We found that it was hardest on the older teenagers who had been under the ministry of another youth pastor for a long while.  They didn’t like change and some even resented it.  I laugh now, because one of our dearest graduates from the first year who is now in ministry himself, talks so kindly and fondly of us.  What he forgets is that he was one of the loudest objectors to change we had that first year.  We often heard the phrases, “But we’ve always done it this way!” or “ We never do that!”  To which we’d just grit our teeth and smile and go on. 
One example that comes to mind is in regards to camp.  Our church had, unfortunately, developed a reputation as a rebel group who pulled pranks all the time.  2nd man and I aren’t fuddy duddies, but we do like to help enforce rules of those hosting our camps and retreats.  Harmless horseplay is one thing, but our group would do nasty things that damaged people and property.  I even slept with a fully loaded squirt gun under my pillow always ready to counter attack the girls. They know now that, though I can appreciate some jokes, I don’t like to lose sleep or have my person wet or dirty due to a prank.  Upon, learning of this reputation, 2nd man made it known to the kids that we weren’t going to be pursuing that route anymore and we’d appreciate it if the kids would refrain from bringing prank items to camp.  We received a phone call one evening, after this announcement, from a mother of one of the older teens.   2nd man expected her to be thanking him; instead, she chewed him out!  “I understand you’re not allowing pranks this year.”  She started, “Yes, that’s correct.”  He replied.  “Well, how do you expect them to have any fun?  This is just ridiculous!”  And on and on she went.  When he hung up we both were astounded.  After returning from camp and exhausted from the week we were awakened at 6 am the next morning to our doorbell ringing…several times.  People wanted to know when our garage sale started.  (This was in the day when beanie babies were all the rage).  People would race to be the first at garage sales selling them.  “I’m not having a garage sale.” I replied to several angry people.   We later found out that the previously complaining mother had put an ad in the newspaper with our address for a garage sale with the beanie babies.  She figured she’d pull her own prank.  The funny thing is, when we had testimony time Sunday evening, her own son got up in front of the entire congregation and announced that he had been disappointed about the whole “no prank” thing, but that this was the first year of camp where he’d actually felt like God spoke to him about some things in his life.  I have to admit, that was a great moment of satisfaction to 2nd man and I. 
As a wife to my 2nd man, I felt very defensive during this stage.  I was excited to help him kick start this ministry, but often felt the need to defend it instead.  I had to establish with others that they couldn’t get to him through me.  Instead, if they had an issue they could make an appointment.  This was when I had to learn to support him in ways I never expected that he’d need.  Just as he was feeling out and getting comfortable with his ministry, I was learning what my part was in it for him.  I was also trying to get used to new surroundings and people.  Sometimes that can be hard on a woman.  He got to go into the office everyday and grew by leaps and bounds in his relationships with the staff.  Meanwhile I was sitting at home wondering what to do and what my place would be.  I had just graduated college and was trying to figure out if I’d teach in the public school system or the Christian school or at all.  I was also trying to weed through the many people who would show up at my door, often unannounced, just to see the newly renovated missions house that the church allowed us to live in for a year or so until we got our own place.  I even had some ladies look in my closets as they toured the house!  I kid you not, it was like a sitcom.  I must have had a dozen or more people offer to help with the youth.  I look back now and laugh at some of the ones who offered.  They said they had a heart for youth, then when I’d see them with their own kids they were like scream machines.  You know, the ones you see at Wal-Mart constantly making more noise shushing their screaming child than what the child makes.   “Uh, no thank you J we have enough help right now, but I’ll keep you in mind if 2nd man says there’s a need.” Became my rote response. 
I had been warned by another woman, who had grown up in the same church as I and had married a minister, “beware the ones that meet you at the train.”  I didn’t understand fully what she meant until a few months into the ministry here.  It seems that there are those who want to be the first to meet and greet you and pick your brains about all things youth.  It would seem, also, that these same people want to somehow have a hand in the control of what you think about the youth.  We had several of these when we first came to Oklahoma, those that wanted to steer different activities, or those who wanted to be youth workers with us, but were constantly handling things amiss.  I’m not sure how many fires had to be put out because of these people, and though we loved and still love them, we’re glad that there was a changing of the guard after a while and 2nd man was able to hand select the helpers. 
That brings me to what I said earlier and that is when the honeymoon is over and how great things start to get.  It is then, that changes can really begin to take place.  People are used to you and more accepting of the changes you want to make.  It isn’t taken as an affront to them or any previous pastor who had been in that position.  It’s when you can make the ministry your own according to how you feel led of the Lord. 
Honeymoons are nice.  When I was first married to 2nd man, I couldn’t believe that I could ever love him more.  However, I look back now and realize how I hardly knew him and had so much to learn.  The same is true in ministry.  The honeymoon is a nice stage, where you feel liked and accepted.  But as time goes on you love the ministry and those you minister to. Enjoy your honeymoon, for sure, but expect and prepare for even greater things ahead!  
Posted in Life Lessons Disciplines of the Faith

Disciplines of the Faith : Memorization

            I find memorization to be one of the most challenging disciplines of the faith.  Well, for that fact so is prayer, oh and fasting and…. Ok ok so maybe it’s the discipline part I have a problem with when considering disciplines of faith.  Anyway, just recently, our Kings Character program, which is our children’s Wednesday night program, put out a challenge to the church.  They challenged us to memorize I Peter 2: 13-25.  Now, that’s a lot of verses.  I fiddled around with working on it for a while.  Then one of our daughters said it in her class and I was so impressed.  I started to get convicted at how hard my kids work at memorizing so I tacked the paper with the printed verses right next to the bathroom mirror.  I heard somewhere that this will help force me to face it everyday and work on it.  Well, it was a convenient place but somehow it didn’t just automatically download.  So, finally, about two weeks before it was due, I started really working on it.  I could be found quoting to the mirror at all hours of the day.  I’d quote to the sink as I did dishes and to the flowers as I watered.  Once a police officer even slowed down a little while on his rounds, when he saw me talking out loud to the garden.  I just smiled and waved.  I think he was hoping to see a bluetooth attached to my ear or something.
            When the due date finally came I worked and worked.  I could say it perfectly to my children.  Then, in the car on the way to church I tried quoting it to 2nd man.  Well, I was just about like Barney up there in the video.  What in the world!!  I had it!  Where’d it go?!  We were setting up for a picnic with the teenagers so 2nd man assured me that if I couldn’t find a Kings Character worker to say it to before church I could do it afterwards.  Well, that wasn’t going to work for me.  I knew I’d be stressed all evening if I had to wait.  I was hoping to find our pastors 25-year-old son, Jonno.  He’s great, friendly and very very laid back.  I knew he’d go easy on me.  However, no such luck finding him, so I finally found a lady that would listen.  Praise the Lord I had total recall!  Whew!  It was a very exhilarating feeling to have said it and I could look my kids in the eye and let them know I worked too. 
            Truly, the passage had a lot of meat to it and I’m so glad I put the work in.  It really is a satisfying way to meditate on God’s word and I really need to exercise myself this way much more.  So here’s my newest bandwagon and challenge, working on memorizing more.  Certainly I’m spoiled by my easy access to Gods word in written form, but what good does that do me if the brain and heart aren’t taking it in as much as they should and could.  No more Barney Fife for me.