Snag a Button

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Give me your eyes!!!

Brandon Heath--Give Me your Eyes
Wow---my friend Valentina tuned me into this musician and this song...and then I was reminded of it by another friend Ginger. You might think that this would be a "typical" song for me to like because of us working with kids that are broken, but in fact, I sooooo need His eyes even more---these past 7 months have been very interesting, to say the least. Just because brokenness is right in front of you, doesn't mean that you see it or have the compassion to understand it. I read this morning in Isaiah 50: 4 how Jesus had the perfect word because He had hearing ears!---such verses to pray:
4The Lord GOD has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens;
he awakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught.
5 The Lord GOD has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious;
I turned not backward.
6 I gave my back to those who strike,
and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;
I hid not my face
from disgrace and spitting.(I included the last verse--so you could see how it was really Jesus that is being prophecied about here---notice---his obedience in verse 5 was a choice and not a given because of who He was.)

Brandon Heath - Give Me Your Eyes from Brandon Heath on Vimeo.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Where is God telling you to cast your net?

This blog below is written by future author Tim Heath, husband to a new friend of mine here in Russia. This is so good, I wanted to share it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fishing inside the 'Now Will of God'
Luke 5:4-7When he (Jesus) had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

These are very familiar verses to well read Christians, and yet something of their meaning has not left me since I once again came across them.Picture the scene - Simon Peter and his friends were experienced, professional fisher men. This is what they did! It was hard, wet and dangerous work. It was long hours. It was their living. Their best efforts that night had seen them working all night and yet they hadn't caught anything. Did they lack ability? Clearly not, but that night they caught nothing.When Jesus turned up in the proceeding verses (1-3), Simon and his team were already on the shore, cleaning their nets. No doubt tired and down hearted, they still offered help to Jesus when he asked by letting him use the boat to speak to a crowd of people standing on the shore. There was nothing in it for Simon, it seemed. No promise of payment or reward, just a service that he could offer, as the owner of the boat, in allowing Jesus to use it to speak from.Simon must have liked what he heard, because when Jesus had finished and had turned to Simon suggesting they put out to deep water and lower the nets again (as they had just been doing all night long), the experienced but tired fisherman replied that because it was Jesus that asked, he would listen to him.

Right here I am going to jump into our own situation. My family came to Russia because I heard God tell me too. In England, we had fished for a long time, with very little success, just a few things here and there, it seemed (everything done for God though is rewarded). We didn't feel very able though. We didn't see any abundance so as to break our nets. But having obeyed God and followed him to St Petersburg, without doing anything else, or anything special, now when we've lowered the nets, there is a big catch! Nearly everyone we invite, it seems, is able to come. In England, we invited just as many people, but they wouldn't come. Here they do? And it seems the same for several others within the church plant team.Having only met for meals on Wednesday nights for two months, we are getting 30 people most weeks...each week anything between 3-10 new people that haven't been before come along. So in two months maybe 60, or more, different people have come through the doors.

What has changed?Well, at this point I'll tie the two stories together, I hope. In both settings it was clear that human ability alone hadn't done the trick. Both had tried their best but hadn't caught the kind of catch they wanted. And then Jesus spoke. The Authority of God was on the situation. Through obedience, in both settings movement was done to go to where God told them. And once there, doing nothing different to what we had done before (so as to be clear that it was God going the gathering and not 'man') suddenly, there is an abundant catch.

The lesson?When you are obedient and in the place Jesus had asked you to be, and therefore within the Now Will of God under his authority, you will find that Jesus himself breathes life into your best efforts and it is He that makes them successful - for his glory!So where is the Now Will of God?For you, I don't know. But God does!

Have you asked him about it lately? And remember, its the Now will of God so that even if you are in a place that God spoke to you about ten years ago, has he said other stuff since to which you have not obeyed? Maybe he hasn't, but what if he has? Would you therefore still be in the most fruitful and blessed place?I hope you have found this helpful. To God be the glory! (Great things he has done..)
Posted by Tim Heath

Friday, March 20, 2009

Previetiik Lostichka

I have learned a new phrase of greeting in Russian...but in would sound like Hello Swallow(as in the bird!). So, I must say that my thoughts of a swallow are not very pretty, so I thought I'd look it up to see why Russians think Swallows are beautiful! and a compliment too!
Check out the wikipedia site about swallows...most of them are pretty--much to my surprise. I don't think I would say this phrase in America, but when in Russia, speak like the Russians.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Our recent American or Tex Mex Dishes

So, when you are in a different country...sometimes to overcome some "missing this" feelings, we try to make some similar things that we made back in Texas.
So, I have done the following things:

Sopilla Cheesecake(thanks to Beth Fox for that recipe!!!---aren't you drooling??? Only problem with this is that 7oz of cream cheese costs about $4!!!---so let's just say that I have only made it once!!---and no, they don't have crescent roll I must improvise.)

Chocolate Chip Cookies(thanks to Tammy Kenney---All the Russians love your recipe!!!---and thanks to the McCords and Pam for Chocolate Chips and Brown Sugar!!! and the Mundts for VANILLA!!)

Burrittos(we use an Armenian type of "tortilla" called Lavash---works perfectly!--we even found cheddar cheese!)

Pizza---(we found Mozzarella and pizza dough and of course we don't use pepperoni, just sausage---which is found here in bulk!!! Russians love Kalbaca!!)

Cheese Dip(aka---Queso---we make it with a soft cheese in a small tub called VIOLA---and Adjeeka--a Russian version of salsa)---a big hit too!!

There is more, but I need to do school now...thanks for visiting my blog...if I don't have a recent post...browse my favorites on the left---My Blog List...and you will find some good posts there too.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I suspect someone has been praying!

From my early days, I have been told that I didn't sleep through the night at all until I was four!! My poor mom! (If my dad was like John or most dads, he slept through more of it than my mom). So, on that note, I have four children...that have done better than I did. But, when one has four kids and the first one starts getting teeth at 3 months, and they are all about 2 years apart...sleeping through the night for mommy hasn't lasted very long each time someone starts sleeping throught the night...another might have issues.

Since we have been in Russia, and all four kids share a room and the boys share a sleeper couch, Matthew wakes up 1-2 times a, not every night, but sometimes it feels like that. Sometimes, his waking up lasts for a few weeks, then I get a couple nights sleep then we are back at it. I can't let him cry it out or work through this season, like I would do in my old house, because---when you live in 800 sq feet or so with 9 people...I run to get him to stop crying before he would wake up the whole house! Fortunately, I am only trying to keep him from waking Lena and keeping her awake because she and I are only ones that wake up to it. Yep, all the others sleep right through most of those times. That's a relief!

Well, I think I have gone about 5 nights now, so I suspect that someone is praying along with us for Matthew to sleep at night. One of the nights, I asked John to get up with Matthew---he didn't hear him cry, but he had offered the first time I heard him that night(he stopped on his own the first time) the time John went to his room, Matthew had stopped crying, so I am counting that in my series of him sleeping through the night! When he wakes up, he is just wanting to be covered or he fell off the couch cushion.

I think my parents have been praying for me to get some sleep...along with me starting to pray for it too!!! I am so thankful for the sleep! It makes a difference. Prayer has really made a difference in this area!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thoughts from Matthew!!--not the book of the Bible--but our son!!

Scenario: John was praying in our room and since our whole family only occupies two rooms, that leaves only one room to play in. Matthew wanted to go into our room(which is actually the living room). I told him from the kids' room that he could not go in.

Matthew comes into his room where I am matching socks(a favorite past time of mine!) and asks why he couldn't go in. I told him daddy was praying. Matthew then proceeds to share his thoughts...

"That's because Daddy wants God to believe in him. He also wants God to help him be nice!"
I wish I had it on tape!! It's so funny to hear a three year old's logic! Especially Matthew's!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


One thing that we like about Russian culture is that people can just pop in and hang out. It really helps you develop good relationships and it is a casual way of developing friendships. Since we are Americans living in Russia, we tend to get a little more famous people drop in. Here are a few pictures we would like to share of our new friends.

Prime Minister Putin came just to hang out and discuss the free market economy. He didn't like my views so he left pretty abruptly.

Also, President Bush stopped by to see us during his farewell tour in Europe. It was good to talk about our time in Texas. We both miss Texas steak.

We also enjoyed a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She's not so bad in person until you talk about the "husband is the head of the household" topic. Then, not so much.

Just so you don't think we only get the political peeps to visit us, we also had a visit by Snoop Dogg when he was here back in September. He didn't stay long because the kids were still up and he is not so "kid friendly." I must say, that guy can rap about anything. He went on for about 3 minutes about pelmeni and borsch. Crazy.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Things that make you go HMMMMM...spiritually! (this is a post for adults)

Before you read this forewarned, this is not a light if you visit just for fun, be forewarned:)!

First, some background...I am a very Bible kind of gal! If it's in the Word, I feel very strongly about following it! I like things spelled out...I'm a black and white kind of person...a rule follower, a conviction get the picture. I do tend to not keep my mouth shut if my convictions are brought up in a conversation. I don't try to push my ways onto people, but I do come across rather strong, I think.

So, what has made me go hmmmm...a few things. Here in Russia, there are no movie how would you know to watch or not to watch without just word of mouth?(Movies that I watch are decided upon by a big conviction of mine)---okay, this is not my main bother right now...but just an example...the next one is the one that has me thinking...

Also, there are so many people that are "living" with someone...they may not be sleeping together(although most of them probably are), but they are living in the same room, not just same apartment, I said same room! Ok, so what would Jesus do? say? I find that my standards are being redefined...not changed, but the approach to talking about them might be changing in this Russian culture. Some of my friends and family--might even be smiling by now...thinking---well, it's about time??? I still feel a big big question mark with these thoughts of what should I do? say? but I have discovered something that I don't think I had a grasp on before. Jesus hung out with the sinners, right? But, did He say nothing to them about their sin? How did He talk with them? Did He just love them? Point out the sin? What???

My observation: with the religious people...He went straight to the issue of pride, sin and more!
With the sinners...He taught them about Himself, His Father and then said...I do not condemn you...go and sin no more!!! Whoa....He didn't condemn them...the sinners???? If Jesus did this, are we not expected to do the same? We aren't to condemn, but to point them to Jesus and God, the Father and the Holy Spirit and say...go and sin no more. So, the sin is not to be accepted but is not necessarily the focus??

Notice, the conversation with Jesus and the woman caught in adultery---was not about her sin, but the change He called her to...and the woman at the well---Jesus talked to her about a couple lines about her lifestyle, but mostly about living water and worship!!!

I does still drive me nuts that so many people are living together with no desire or thought of marriage...I thought it was common in America, but it goes beyond that here. But, with this driving me nuts, it is causing me to seek the Lord on His thoughts not mine!!

This makes me think of my Holland friend Laura!! So, Laura---your thoughts???
Mary??? Elizabeth??? Any of you??? If you feel that your thoughts are too long for a comment...just email me:)