Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Whoops... been a while

Wow, it has been a while since I posted. Please forgive me. God has been working in my life more than I could ever have imagined.
I could not say that God has commanded me to be silent. It just seems to have worked out that way. I got a gentle nudging to post so here I am.

There has certainly been a lot going on. Our church got its tent up and we have been meeting there on Sunday Mornings. The service has changed to 10:30 AM (was 9:30) due to the cold weather as we need to warm the tent up hours before starting service. Last Sunday we could see our breath as we sang! Brrr! Don't think I have seen a pastor with a beanie and gloves on while preaching the Word either!
There was a terrible forest fire near us in August. There were two huge fires that threatened the Aeneas Valley for over a month, the Tunk complex and the Northstar complex. Both were south of the valley, but from the east and west sides and were about to meet. God showed up. The firefighters were amazed that the fire would threaten the ridges that would allow the fire to overtake the valley and the flames would die down as if not allowed to go further. Many of us evacuated as the valley was on level 3 evac notice. That means get out now.
We left and gave it to God. Our travels are a story in and of themselves which I will not go into here. Let's just say that God was with us in every step, along every mile and with every situation. Praise the Lord! All is well in the valley as the fire went around the sides of us. Others were not so lucky and need our prayers and help.

Frontier Hubby (FH) and I took a break from Growth group meetings. These are discipleship meetings to help others grow into small group, home-meeting leaders. Awesome time of fellowship and learning how to incorporate God into our lives!

We are starting growth group meetings again. Just one. We said we had thought about it and a bunch of people said, "How about Thursday?" People are hungry for God and fellowship.

In the next few months, FH and I are looking to start a marriage solidarity group. It's purpose is to bring couples together stronger than ever. It is a Christ centered ministry. FH and I have experienced a tremendous leap in the strength of our marriage (it was spiraling downwards) as we have put God first and gotten some good information. This helps to mend us more and more into the oneness mentioned in the Bible. We expect the sessions to be about four months long if we meet weekly for 2-4 hours. No start date or curriculum is finalized.

There are announcements being made this Sunday at the church. Important ones. Please be there if you can. For location and other church related info, visit avefc.org.

May you find all things new in Him, Frontier Woman @ FrontierChristianLiving

Monday, April 20, 2015

Snowy Day Proves it is Not Spring Yet

Silly conclusion isn't it? Looking at a day in time does not prove the season. Yet that is how science makes conclusions now and usually how we make conclusions too.
Is the Bible true? This is an eternal questions with eternal consequences. I do not pretend to be so knowledgeable to give a grand and fully reasoned answer. All I can offer is my experience (in a very shortened version) and another question.
I had my doubts. I thought maybe God's days were longer than ours. I have reasoned that God uses parables to teach and that maybe the Bible was just a collection of stories. Maybe God is so distant from us, that we don't matter to Him, it's just us against the world.
Then, I found some teaching that presented the Bible as fact. They read the stories as if we were a part of them. What were the people in the stories thinking, experiencing? How did they feel and what did they do right or wrong? Easy to see when sitting in a pew, but what if that was us? It's like the difference between playing football and sitting on the couch telling the players what they should be doing. The stories such as Jonah came to life like a movie and Frontier Hubby and I would talk for hours, sometimes days afterwards.
OK, if you are bored jumped down to the section after the line to read the second question.
There is a whole 'nother discussion about creation vs. evolution that I cannot do justice. It boils down to your underlying belief system. Science in no way disproves God. It totally depends on your basis of belief. In fact, there are a lot of scientific proofs for God and creation. Here is a website that discusses scientific finds from both perspectives. creationrevolution.com
I loved physics and biology in school. Loved them. I was fascinated by how things worked and getting down into cell structures and reproduction, how muscles worked, how the body was put together and all that was of great interest. I liked physics for how it showed how things worked. It also showed me the difference from hypothesis (educated guess), theory (testable guess) and law (proven consistency when tested). I could apply laws and theories to things in nature and get an outcome. Cause and effect. Story of my life in a way.
Now, I see these words tossed around like people do not understand their meaning. The "Big Bang Theory" can only be a hypothesis since it cannot be tested, but hypothesis does not sound strong enough.  Global warming can only be a hypothesis too as it is a suggested conclusion to some facts that many scientist (even some who worked on the project) do not agree with. The world goes through heat and cold cycles over years. In the 70s we were told an ice age is coming and that no one could live north of California by the year 2000. Doesn't that sound silly now? But it was what the people were told to get laws made and give the government more control. Same 'ole same 'ole.
So what has all that to do with the Bible? I believe God shows Himself in His works. Go out and visit the mountains, deserts, beaches, rivers, valleys and such where there is little or no sign of man. Wow, it is breathtaking. Look in a microscope at a cell reproducing. The complexity of all things individually and then together, shout there is a God.
Spiritually, I have had a couple of scary moments that I could only describe as spiritual attacks and the instant I finally got the name "Jesus" out of my mouth, the attacks were gone.  That convinced me right then and there that there is an unseen world.
Now as I read in the Bible, I can see God is consistent, yet surprising. He is loving, yet just. He had a plan from the beginning and it works.
I read a book, Cold-Case Christianity, that was written by a guy who was actually out to prove Jesus didn't exist and even if he did, Jesus was not the Son of God. He was a cold case detective and started reading the first books of the New Testament. He used his skills from his job to read the testimonies of the gospel writers. What he did convinced himself that Jesus was real and that God is the one represented in the Bible. He states that you have to go into any evaluation with an open mind and let the evidence take you where it will. Deciding beforehand that someone is guilty, does not bring justice. It only brings your own desires into play. There are a lot of stories about people who set out to disprove God exists by reading the Bible and God shows up. It's awesome.
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So why did I write all the above? Because of the second question I have. We ask ourselves this at church and growth groups (small Bible studies that review Sunday's sermon.)
"If the Bible is true, what does that mean to us?"
If God is God and he is the personal, caring God that the Bible represents Him as, shouldn't we somehow change? That question has rocked my world. I want to just fit Him into my life and keep on doing things my way, but that question makes me stop and wonder what it is that I have to change to fit better into His world.
How have the changes that I have been making affected me?
1. My marriage is better. Frontier Hubby was a diehard atheist and even he came to see the reality of God through Jesus since we have been in Aeneas Valley. We both have made Biblical principle based changes into our marriage. Our fighting is reduced to about 10% of what it was and is less emotionally harmful to each other.
2. We have a lot of friends. Now, understand I have had a few friends all my life and make new friends fairly easily. Frontier Hubby does not like people that much. In fact, we moved here to "get away" from everyone. But God in His infinite wisdom has put us in a place that has a multitude of exceptionally bright people in similar circumstances. They have built, with God's help, an extensive community interwoven with folks of different backgrounds and skills that help each other and get along fairly well. They are a blessing to us!
3. I am growing emotionally and spiritually. I look to God much more often. I love people more than ever. I am so grateful for what I have and no longer feel like I need more to be happy. These are all works in process and I feel like I am improving in so many ways I cannot write about them all.
If you are interested in learning more about God but have been put-off by hypocritical Christians, find a church that isn't put-offing. They are out there like AVEFC. It is worth the effort!
Are we going to change our life to be more like what God wants us to be? How? Each lesson we learn helps us do just that and that is the purpose of this blog, to share what I am learning.
May you find all things new in Him,
Frontier Woman @ FrontierChristianLiving


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter Sunday


This service was one that I think many people will remember. Pastor Shane showed us the perspective of the criminal on another cross, the one who acknowledge Jesus. The Holy Spirit was sweet and convicting. Easter always brings up in me what Jesus went through on the cross. This offered an aspect I had not seen before. How even through the horrid pain He was suffering, He was able to give the criminal salvation and hope. WOW!
Songs:
Joyful
Crown Him
Jesus Loves Me
Above All
Jesus Messiah

We started with a reading of Psalm 139. This is a psalm where David says "Lord search my heart . . ."

Luke 23: 32-43
This seems to be a time of reflection for me. I do not have many words to write. I highly recommend you take some time to watch the video. You can do so at avefc.org and pick the video from 4/5/15.
As Jesus hung from the cross, there was a lot of mocking going on from different groups: the crowd, rulers, soldiers, and a criminal also hanging on a cross. But the other criminal rebuked him, confessed his sin, then asked to be remembered by Jesus. It was a really beautiful moment of faith and by that faith he was saved. There was a lot packed into this message, so please watch the video and God bless you.

We missed the previous Sunday as we were traveling over the weekend. So I did not post last week. We did go over it in our growth groups and got a lot out of it. It is also posted in the same place as the Easter service. Mark 2:13-17 on 3/22/15.

May you find all things new in Him,
Frontier Woman @ FrontierChristianLiving 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Can God be trusted to make all things work for good?

Any small community has pros and cons. But how about a church full of professing Christians, me included? One would think the love of Jesus would rule our lives, and it does to a point. Because we are all human, we naturally lean to our own understandings, forgetting about God. We fumble around and there are the inevitable bumps in the road. Can God be trusted to make all things work for good like the Bible teaches?
We love our congregation at AVEFC. Not just as a "feeling" but in real ways such as concern, helping, being available when called. How do you love them all when one is doing something that may hurt another person? For me it is not making judgments, and knowing God is big enough to handle the tough situations. I pray to be in His will. Sometimes that becomes awkward so I keep moving forward so that He can work things out. That has to be God, because my nature is to not get involved and stay hidden. He gives me strength and love. I must rely solely on Him.
At one point last year, the church leadership at AVEFC realized that as we grow, the church will get messy. What does that mean? Well the Aeneas Valley is a small population base and their backgrounds vary a lot! And there are many broken people in this valley.  As they all come in to be part of God's family, we need to love them. PERIOD. Let God work out any flaws in their lives as He works out the flaws in ours. Its a process and we will always be in process until we get to heaven. We very much expect messiness from a group of people who have different belief backgrounds, such as Catholic, Lutheran, Assembly of God, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, Messianic Jews, and even non-believers just looking to see what we are about. Frontier Hubby was a diehard atheist until attending this church and meeting Jesus in a new way. AVEFC wants to be a place where people can learn about God in a non-judgmental environment. A safe place. I hope that can become the reality. All Christians are in the family of God. Let's take keep our eyes on Him and not ourselves. In the scope of eternity, denominations and other differences should not keep us from loving one another with agape love -- no judgments, no expectations, no grudges.
If you are curious come check us out. It is a different experience from most churches. The people are real, the preaching is different, the Word of God is explored, and hopefully, then applied to our lives. Bring a teachable spirit. It does not help much if you come in already knowing everything. We all have much to learn. See more at avefc.org
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Frontier Hubby had a really tough week last week. He was preparing to give a teaching Sunday morning on a chapter in the Firm Foundations series. As a new Christian, only 3.5 years old, his depth of knowledge is limited, but he is truly searching out the Word and has been successful at getting the lessons across. This is not a pastoral thing, but as Frontier Hubby has a background in teaching, he is comfortable being up-front. As a teacher/seminar leader, he was an expert in his field. Now that 'expert' prop is gone, he is learning to rely on God -- a difficult lesson for a lifelong, self-reliant man.
He was preparing his teaching and smack in the middle of the week, he was exposed to a horrendous scene of a video on the internet sent via email. It was a sick violence that disturbed him to his core. He could not unsee it. There was an instant hatred that entered him. He began praying about it and God gave him much relief. Over the next few days, his hatred turned to prayers for the people involved. God is showing him how to love those who we would normally hate for their actions. That has to be divine as Frontier Hubby is not one to just love and forgive his way through life.
With all that going on, Frontier Hubby was having problems concentrating how to give his presentation. On Sunday after the service, it was Frontier Hubby's time to talk. We had some great discussion on the scripture and its interpretation, mostly on legalism. He ended his session by talking about his week and how this video affected him and how God was blessing him through this time. His final statement was awesome, "Jesus is enough for me."
The congregation was clapping when it was done. That rather shocked Frontier Hubby as he hardly knew where the words were coming from when he spoke. I think God was helping him to say what He needed to be said. There seemed to be a shift in the room as God touched the hearts of people.
Pastor Shane often tells of problems that come up during the week that relate to what he is preaching about on Sunday. Ken is now learning that God works like that in his life too. Their messages are so much stronger and real when they share what has been going on during the week. It is clearly a God thing to make it so relative to the scripture to be covered. How does He do that? Guess because He is God and He does work all things out for good. Just sometimes we don't always see the good, but it is there.

May you find all things new in Him,
Frontier Woman @ FrontierChristianLiving 


Monday, March 16, 2015

A Cleansing of Sorts

Today is beautiful. It is a day of sunshine after a day of snow and rain. The land has a clean white covering. A lot like what Jesus has done for us on the cross. This snow covering will bring new life with it as it waters the plants over time as Jesus is our living water.
The AVEFC camera was broken, so we do not have video. This post might be a little longer so I can capture as much as possible for us. Still, I am giving you Pastor Shane's sermon from my perspective with my thoughts during and after the service.
Songs:
Blessed be Your Name
Crown Him
I Will Rise
Exalted

March 15, Mark 1:40-45. A leper came begging Jesus to heal him if He would. The man submitted himself to Jesus' will. He was humble and desperate. Being a leper meant being cut off from life and all you hold dear: family, friends, home, land, job, everything. They lived in a cave dependent on others for food and clothing, yet no one would go near them. And to the Jews, touching a leper was like touching a dead thing and you had to be cleansed at the temple using special rights. It was a big deal. For a leper to leave their cave to wander the streets was also a big deal, yet this one came to Jesus to ask for healing.
Jesus felt compassion. Do we?
Touching the leper, Jesus said "I will." He wants to heal us. "Be clean!" He commanded. The leprosy left and he was cured. The word cured here also means cleansed.
Jesus then sent him away with instructions to go to the temple, show the priest, make his required sacrifices and to tell NO one about this. Well, just like the rest of us, he went away not following instructions. Apparently, he never made it to the temple. He was told to show the priest. He did not. Was there a specific response that Jesus wanted from that priest? We will never know. The leper was told to make the sacrifices for his cleansing but he did not. As Jesus had not died yet, the sacrifices were still in place.
Jesus was trying to keep His notoriety low, but the leper told everyone. Jesus had to stay out of towns, where He wanted to teach because of the pressing crowds.
We silly people get excited and dance away from a divine experience, jabbering to anyone who will stand still long enough to hear. Do we look to God for His will at that point? Probably not. Our joy and the thrill of seeing God work overcomes us. His timing is perfect and we get in the way. He being all powerful can still circumvent the disobedience, but the impact may not be what He wanted. He still gives us free will and in doing so is probably constantly making up for our downfalls. He is a gracious God.
Can you imagine being a disciple at this time? They agreed to follow a rabbi. Priests taught about God. This one acts like God. How does someone comprehend what they are seeing. Are they questioning the daunting task of healing and casting out demons themselves someday? That was not done, much like our times. I bet there was a lot of backroom discussions between them.
Some other scriptures regarding the word that was used for cured: Matt 4:24, 1 Jphn 1:7, Heb 9:22-23, Acts 15:9.
Jesus is the source of healing. He does not worry about catching "it" whatever the sickness is.  1 Cor 6:9-11 tells us how we are sinners and lists some of the yuck we come from. Then the cleansing word is used again in 11. "You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." Washed, sanctified and justified. Jesus and the Holy Spirit cleansed us as though we had gone through the process of sacrifice at the temple.
So here is where things get a little tougher. If this study is true, if Jesus was here on earth to heal us and bring hope, what should our response be? More than just a cursory thank you and move on I should hope.
What is it like to follow Jesus? Like nothing on earth that is for sure.
We should be praying to be used for the kingdom no matter where it leads. He wants us to be ready to leave everything; that does not mean he asks us to actually do it. But there is a letting go of ownership and control that is difficult to do, but His blessings outweigh any loss.
We should empty ourselves like Jesus did for God. Offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God to cleanse and use us as He sees fit. I feel so far from there.
I am beginning to pray with less hesitation to be in His will. There is a feeling of awe and wonder at what that might entail. Will I be asked to give up my home and family? Oh, I hope not. That is my Achilles heel so to speak. I don't feel like that is what He will be asking. I think He wants me to get out of my comfort zone and speak up. That is certainly not my nature and will be all Him. I am drawn to the concept of healing and pray that someday I will know why He is putting healing in my path. Maybe just to have a better understanding. Maybe someday He will have me pray for a healing and I can watch Him work. I just want to be in His will so I am praying for that.

On another note, God has given me some wonderful friends here. Seems lately that they are going through some very rough times. I ask you help me pray for them. Just ask, God knows who they are and the circumstances. Thank you.


May you find all things new in Him,
Frontier Woman @ FrontierChristianLiving 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March 8, Sermon at AVEFC

Another week has raced by. I can hardly believe it is Tuesday. Every day is filled; no time to turn around even.

To help get you in the right spirit, you can use these links to sing along to the songs we did. Enjoy. (It is good etiquette to let the ads run if they do not offend. It helps the artists make something since we are not buying their songs.)
10,000 Reasons - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtwIT8JjddM&list=PLfeMYZA1gW6ZlIFHbxfhXwBqVs6eqQHOU&index=6
Jesus Loves Me - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8gKXu6J2wE
Knowing You - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69tDg_m3lvw&list=PL5UNCqFDiVjimZN8-RkoZxcqw-G5uuxfd
Jesus Messiah - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdxSC1tHJn0


The sermon was from Mark 1:29-38. Go here to see it, as my writings are only a part of it.
Jesus went to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon's mother-in-law was sick. Jesus helped her up and she was healed.
Hmmm. She didn't ask. She didn't need faith. She didn't do anything. Her proximity to Jesus healed her. He didn't command it, he touched her.
I have been trying to learn what it is God wants of us to be healed. I am still not sure. But seeing this account of a healing where one's faith is not involved means a lot to me. I don't think it is all based on our faith. Although God's ways are beyond our knowing, He has made things pretty simple when you find the right verses or experience. I have been healed from a death-bed. I did not participate in coming back, but I did believe He was with me, near me, near enough to touch me. Was that it? Then why am I not always healed of everything?
Guess that is what keeps me coming back is that there is so much to learn. Maybe He does not want me to feel like He is in my back pocket and I can just access Him whenever I like. I am pretty sure God is bigger than any pocket!
Did you see that the sick and demon possessed were brought? The two are common occurrences in those times and today we only allow for sickness. It seems the 2 overlap some, too. But Jesus is the cure for all.
I am sure that knowing Jesus personally makes a huge difference. Knowledge of Him and His deeds and words are not enough. One of my favorite songs is "Whom then Shall I Fear" and the line is "The One who reigns forever, He is a friend of mine." Wow, do you think of Jesus as your buddy, your friend? I am learning to do that as well as my Brother, my Advocate, my Savior and my Lord.
Now, if you have not noticed, God is a big fan of timing things just right. We went to John 2:1-11 where Jesus turned water to wine for his mother. He said it was not His time, yet his mother pressed Him into doing something by telling the servants to do whatever He says. I wonder how many times He performed small miracles for His household.
So after a day of teaching at the synagog, walking to Simon's house and healing his mom-in-law, that evening a crowd shows up with all their sick and possessed. Jesus healed many and drove out demons without letting them talk because they knew who He was. More of that timing thing showing up. Jesus got up before dawn the next morning, tired but determined to spend time alone with God. The disciples went looking for Him as people were showing up again. But Jesus said, No he wanted to go preach in other villages because, "That is why I have come." So Jesus is here to speak words to the lost. Jesus is the Word and he came to tell us about the Word, through the scriptures! I was really blown away about that revelation. Jesus = The Word of God and he his here to speak about himself using words he gave the prophets to write! How simple and yet it is so intricately wound into the fabric of the scriptures. I never saw it. Thank you Jesus for showing that to me. He is restoring God's word to the people and the people to God.
Matthew 7:21-23. I pray I am not going to be in the "I never knew you. Away from me." group. Don't get caught up in doing that which looks Godly, but is not called of God. It is so easy to be deceived, I must make sure I don't get into thinking I am doing right when it is not what God wants me doing or for the right reasons.
 Luke 19:6-10 Jesus went to the house of Zaccheaeus, a sinner, which was frowned upon. but Zacc said he would give away much and make reparations to those he harmed. Jesus answered his actions, "Today salvation has come to this house . . . For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."
We look for the easy way to do things and God has another way, sometimes harder, but always better. Will you say "I will do it Your way. I will follow you."

May you find all things new in Him,
Frontier Woman @ FrontierChristianLiving 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Changing to Meet the Truth

All this talk about Jesus' authority, but what does it mean to me? My life? My responses to situations affecting me?
A question we ask ourselves at AVEFC is: if what we learn is truth, then what do we do about it? In this subject of authority, the easy answer is to just say accept it and live your life based on it. 
Ha! I don't know about you, but I am a rebellious soul. If my dad were still around you could ask him. He could tell you some stories. In general, when told to go right I go left (part of that is dyslexia LOL). Or more importantly, if told to do or not do something, there I would be doing the opposite. A life time of that nature running rampant is hard to reel in and change.
I am independent and had raised my boys, on my own, for 8 of their in-home years. I am used to looking at things with my own logic and experience. So, my first problem is simply remembering that I am not in charge. I go off on tangents without even giving a thought to God or that I should even pray about it. Then I start seeing unintended repercussions. That's bad and at that point is when i start thinking, "Hey God, come on. A little help here." My own fault that I didn't ask in the first place!
I have written earlier on a blog that I am working on contentment and gratitude. How can I do that if I don't let God lead me? That is where I am today--learning to follow Him. That does not mean I am going off into the wild jungles (I don't think), it simply means to look to Him first. Ask what He would have me do, how to respond or just wait.
I have started my blogs for some creative freedom and to share myself with whomever reads them. I prayed about them and felt an urge to make them happen.
I am having that same urge in finding a way to make some income. There are a few avenues open to me, but I want to honor Jesus not my abilities or follow some man-made plan. So I wait.
There are a few things I am working on ATM. Things like writing a fictional book, the church website, blogs, and doing other things online. I just wrote a book for my granddaughter, and feel led to do something in the realm of relationships--marriage, family, people--putting God into it but not sure how to go forward there and a number of other things.
My ability to focus is also reflected here

Writing a fictional book takes time and I have to keep God and my family responsibilities before it. If anyone has written or been passionate about something that is not directed towards your family, you know how hard it is to keep it all balanced. I tend to do many things at once, but only focus on one or two things with full force.
Take babies for example. The baby becomes the mom's focus and the husband is often left on the periphery somewhat ignored, especially his need for serious affection from his wife. Guilty here. I didn't know that I should have had a better balance, nor did I know how if I had been aware. That is something God has shown me. That is one reason to keep God first, He helps with making my marriage good and keeping a major focus on my Frontier Hubby! That change in me, made a change in him, too. We are so much better together now than ever. When either of us takes our eyes off God, we end up fighting because it then becomes all about us. If you do not know God, that may sound really off-base, but it works! I would rather be happy in my marriage than give into my need to be the number 1, most important person in my life. Been there, done that and flopped.
So, if Jesus' authority is real what should we do about it? I try to bring myself under His authority. He is not a selfish, power hungry person. He is God, the benevolent dictator, and He is concerned about us. There is talk about if we all love each other, there would be no war. Well, if people were not involved that might work, but whoever is in power will become corrupt. It is just human nature. So how about we all look to Jesus and love Him. The rest falls into place as long as we get out of the way!
So, what are you going to do about the truth of His authority?

May you find all things new in Him,
Frontier Woman @ FrontierChristianLiving