Showing posts from 2014

Did Jesus Say Welcome Only the Documented Stranger?

Can I Follow You As I Follow Christ?

My latest article for Christianity Today's Gifted for Leadership: Can I Follow You As I Follow Christ?

September Missions Update 2014

When I arrived on September 3rd on the mission field in Ghana, West Africa, I hit the ground running. I arrived in the middle of the church celebrating its 18th year in ministry. The ministry celebrated by hosting a camp-meeting. This camp-meeting included all branch churches, visitors, friends, and missionaries. It was a wonderful celebration. The days were filled with praise, worship, teachings, prayer, presentations, and tribal dances.

One of my favorite parts of the services is when members of the church danced to African drummers; each tribe had a special tribal dance. It was simply amazing; the young and old danced with joy. The professional dancers pulled me and another young lady out to dance, let’s just say I have a lot to learn about African dance. It was so much fun! On top of the dancing, we were challenged everyday by great speakers. We prayed intensely and worshiped with reckless abandonment. 

Throughout the week, the church (along with many supporters here and the US) do…

Peanut Butter, Simple, Yet Powerful!

Friends, here is a request from my friends in Haiti: GVCM is conducting a peanut butter drive with the goal of filling a 40 foot container that will be shipped to Haiti for its orphanage and school children. The intent of the organization is to ensure that all children are receiving enough protein in their daily diets. They have noticed many children are attending school who appear to be malnourished. The ministry has decided that one way to address this concern is providing peanut butter sandwiches.

The school in Haiti (Thomassique) has about 1800 students and the country is predicting a state of emergencythis year due to the drought, that will result in a lack of food production, more malnutrition, and limited resources for children to attend school.

The Haitian government has already agreed to allow the ministry to bring the container duty free! Please support this effort by donating jars of peanut butter. The peanut butter can be shipped to the Laparkan Warehouse in Miami at: Lap…

What is Hunger? How Can You Help?

I once heard someone say that hunger is not your stomach growling and deciding what you will eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Hunger is when you have stomach pains from hunger and you have no idea when, where, or if you will eat again.  Most of us have never known true hunger because we can easily go to our kitchens, a restaurant, or a food pantry for food.

I serve with a ministry called Maranatha Power Ministries, Intl. who seeks to serve "the least of these." Every week in December leading up to Christmas, the ministry travels to several villages to feed hungry children and the disabled.  However, the reality is, most parents come to the party, as well. They are also hungry. The ministry fed over 24,000 people last year.  When I watched the video from last year, I saw a man crying.  The pastor told us that the man was crying because he had never had that much food to eat.  He's never had more than enough food on Christmas.  While many of us expect countless gifts …

Keep Holding On

I once heard that God doesn't promise that you will never go through a storm, but He does promise to be in the storm with us.  I've learned that God doesn't promise that we will never go through pain, but He does promise to comfort us.  He promises to give us strength day by day.

We question why we must drink the cup that has been given to us.  We look at television and the people around us and wonder why they seem to be happy and we are so sad.  We fail to realize that everyone is going through their own trial and tribulation.  Matthew 5:45 reminds us that, "...He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."  It seems so unfair.  I love you Lord, so why must I suffer so much?

I had the privilege to have lunch with some powerful women of God this weekend.  We shared amazing stories of redemption and triumphing over painful circumstances.  I believe we were all amazed and shocked at the stories we shared …

One Reason People Won't Join Your Church

Why Won't You Mourn With Me?

Romans calls for us to "mourn with those who mourn."  Rom. 12:15. Yet, #MikeBrown is shot and killed, and the first response is not to mourn, it is to judge.  The response is to demonize the victim. The response is to ask questions that really don't have anything to do with the issue.  When will people take off the blinders and face systemic racism heads on?  This is not a black issue!  This is an American issue!  This is a issue of justice!

The most painful part of this process is watching the silence of friends and the Church.  Should we acquire more information? Yes. Are there unanswered questions? Yes, but one fact remains: an unarmed man was shot dead and left in the street for hours like an animal.  This is combined with the deaths of #JohnCrawford, #EricGarner, #Travon Martin, and #JordanDavis.  I find it hard to watch news clips, read articles, and even look at social media because the pain can be unbearable.

I shop at the Wal-Mart in Beavercreek where #JohnCrawf…

Suicide and Pain: What Are We Missing?

This morning I was prepared to write about being a sacred place where others could come for healing, encouragement and restoration.  I had no idea Robin Williams committed suicide yesterday.  I didn't hear the news because all evening I was sitting with a friend who is going through one of the most difficult times in her life.  I also rushed out the door this morning with two friends on my heart who were also going through a great deal of suffering.  It was late morning before I found out Robin Williams passed away.  Robin Williams, the great comedian?  The one who warmed my heart in Patch Adams. The man who challenged me, through Patch Adams, not to just be a professional, but a professional who cared for people.

I've read a lot of post on Facebook about how we (those still living) never know what a person is going through on the inside.  I've read that a person can be smiling on the outside, but hurting on the inside. While this is certainly true for some, I find many w…

Here I Am, Send Me!

It all started with having a conversation with my friend, Cecelia.  Cecelia shared amazing stories with me about her experience on mission trips.  I was in awe at how God had used her on the mission field.  She encouraged me to consider going because she thought God could use me in the same way.  I don't remember what I said, but I remember thinking that it could never happen!  I was a small town girl and living in the Midwest was a new adventure for me.  From time to time, she would mention it to me, so I vowed to pray.

One Sunday, a pastor from another church came to do a presentation about missions.  He highlighted an upcoming trip to Ghana, West Africa.  My spirit leaped for joy and I felt the Lord telling me that I was to go. I thought, "Me, Lord.  But, how?"  I kept the word in my heart and soon I shared it with a lady in my church. She was so excited for me.  I asked her, "But, what about the money?"  She responded, "Oh, the Lord will provide.&quo…

Turning a Blind Eye Is Not an Option

People of God, we must speak up and out against abuse.My article on Gifted For Leadership today.

August: Clergy Sexual Abuse & Prevention Month

This campaign is designed to bring awareness to sexual abuse in the Church.  This horrific behavior is not confined to the Roman Catholic Church, but the Protestant Church, as well.  It crosses denominational, cultural, racial, and socio-economic barriers.  We must stop acquiescing this behavior and speak up!  If you or someone you know is a victim, you can find help at:  God can heal you and you will receive beauty for the ashes.  Isaiah 61:3.

Suffering Is Apart of the Christian Journey: Reject the Prosperity Gospel

Prosperity Gospel, Name It/Claim It, Health and Wealth: whatever you want to call it!  It is not biblical. Does God want the best for His children?  Yes.  Does he love us? Yes.  But, that doesn't mean that we won't have trials and tribulations in our lives.  I was recently told by a pastor that a lady died of cancer because she didn't have enough faith.  Really?  Does this sound like Jesus to you?  However, this is what Christianity has been reduced to.  We are teaching in our pulpits and bible studies that the Christian should have perfect health and wealth; but I don't see that in the Bible.  We preach that God wants us wealthy, so people spend their prayers and money on seeking health and wealth.

I've been reading the gospel of Luke and the first passage that jumped out at me is the plight of Zechariah and Elizabeth.  The Bible states that they were both righteous before God, obedient to the commandments, and blameless.  Luke 1: 6.  Yet, they had a desire that …

Are You Willing to Help?

Can you imagine not having food to eat, clothes to wear, or shoes for your feet?  Most of us can't imagine that, but that is a sad reality for many people in the bush of Ghana, West Africa.  An elderly lady gave her entire estate to create a "kitchen on wheels" to feed the poor in Ghana.  Also, this kitchen contains 7500 dresses, 300 pairs of shoes, sewing machines and threads, and 800 pairs of sunglasses.  What's the problem?  Shipment costs.  Would you be willing to help us be a blessing by shipping this kitchen (and other items) to Ghana?  All donations are tax-deductible. Please send me a message if you are interested. Or, you can mail a check to: Maranatha Power Minitries: 3195 Dayton Xenia Rd., PMB #204, Suite 900, Beavercreek, OH 45434-6390.

The Power of Love: Birthday Reflections!

Psalm 31:7 states, "I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction, and knew the anguish of my soul.  This scripture is the song of my heart today.  Today is my birthday and it is a joyous one!  I can rejoice today because God loves me and finally I can be confident in that!  I can rest in the love of God; and, because I know His love, I have learned how to truly love myself.

When you learn to love yourself, you know your self-worth and you refuse to allow other people to devalue you.  You also learn to make room in your life for people who truly love and care for you.  You stop allowing yourself to be taken advantage of and you refuse to settle for less than God has for you!

God loves me and I'm glad about it!  I've experienced much pain and suffering in my life, but the Lord saw me.  The Lord saw my affliction and knew the anguish  of my soul.  He's held me.  He's comforted me.  He has delivered my soul out of the pit.  He has healed my heart…

Anna the Prayer Warrior: the Faith of a Little Girl

I started attended a small prayer meeting a few months ago, but little did I know the lesson I would learn on faith.  I’ve walked with Jesus for a long time, but it took a 10 year old girl to teach me about unadulterated faith.   Anna*, a 10 year old girl, taught me about what it truly means to have faith.  She has touched my heart and I will remember her story of faith for the rest of my life.                     Anna attends our weekly prayer meeting with her parents.  She usually hangs out in another room watching television, but I now know that she does much more than that!  One day our pastor was teaching on the power of prayer and faith.  He was sharing his testimony about being hungry and not knowing where his next meal would come from.  He shared with our group about the times he had to go his cupboards and pray to the Lord to fill his home with food.  Our pastor told us he spoke to the cabinets and cried out to the Lord that it be filled in Jesus name; little did…

The Word of God for Times of Trials, Tribulations, and Suffering

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.“ Deut. 31:8
› I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8 
› In God, whose word I praise-- in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 56:4 
› I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.“ Ps. 91:2 
› They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD. Ps. 112:7 
› Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 
› You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28 
› Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Ps. 23:4 
› Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give wa…

Father's Love Letter: An Intimate Message From God to You

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1; I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2; I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3; Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31; For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27; In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28; For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28; I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5; I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12; You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16; I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26; You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14; I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13; And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6; 
I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44; I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16; …

Don’t Leave People of African Descent Out of the Immigration Debate

Attention Single Ladies: Don't Be Deceived, Real Christian Men Do Exist!

I've had countless conversations with people on the lack of single Christian men in the church. Well I must admit, when I look around in churches it does appear that the church is lacking a strong, godly male presence.  Many single women feel hopeless when they consider the prospects for future husbands.  They feel like all the good, Christian men are taken and they are left with "cultural" Christians.

I would describe cultural Christians as those who may believe in God, go to church, and speak some "Christianese."  However, when you dig deeper, they have no desire to truly follow God.  You hear the comments, "God knows my heart", "God is still working on me", "I'm not Jesus", "I'm human", "God wants me to have fun, too", "I need a good Christian woman; you can help me", and the comments go on and on. I'm not criticizing these men.  I'm just saying that a true woman of God wants a godly…

To Serve, We Must First Nourish Our Own Souls

You Don't Have to Eat the King's Meat

One of my favorite passages in the bible is the first chapter of Daniel.  This is one of the stories about Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and AbedNego.  The four young men were brought to serve the king in his palace.  The men were godly, good-looking, wise, knowledgeable, and intelligent.  Since these young men served in the king's palace, they had the right to partake in all the king's special food and wine.  However, Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not eat the king's delicacies and drink his wine.

Daniel did not want to defile himself and be disobedient to his God.  If Daniel and the other young men chose to eat and drink the king's food and wine, they would be sinning against God.  So, Daniel asked the king to only feed them vegetables and water.  But, the king was concerned that if he only gave them vegetables and water, they would not be as strong as the other men.  Daniel, trusting in his God, told the king to test them for 10 days, and if they were not o…

The Church Should Be a Hospital

The Church Should Be a Hospital. My article on Gifted For Leadership today.

How to Deal with Enemies

Enemies, haters, or whatever you want to call them: we all have them!  However, the question I raise today is: how do we deal with them?  Our natural instinct is to fight back.  We want to lash out and make our enemies suffer for any hurt or pain they've caused us.  We want revenge!  We want to tell our side of the story.  Or, we want to hurt them as much as they've hurt us.  I hear it in conversations and I see it in Facebook posts.  However, the best evidence is the conversations that takes place in my head.  My mind is flooded with things I want to say or do in retaliation.  Fortunately, I soon remember that I represent Jesus.  I remember...I can't say that.  I can't do that.  Bummer!

My mind is then flooded (probably by the Holy Spirit) with scriptures on loving your enenmies.  Jesus tells us, "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..." Matt. 5:44.  Huh, Jesus?  Love them?  Pray for them?  They hate me!  They are tearing me…

Stop Beating Yourself Up!

Let’s face it! We are our own worst enemies.We constantly beat ourselves up every day for things we’ve done, things we’ve said and the decisions we’ve made.Oh, how I wish there was a repeat button where we could go back in time and change things.But, we can’t.We must learn to live with the choices we’ve made, good and bad.Everything we have experienced in life is a learning experience.We must choose to learn from the experience and move on with our lives.I know it’s hard, but it is essential to good health.

I realize that some things are easier to overcome than others, but we must strive daily to see ourselves the way that Jesus sees us.In the world today, we worry so much about what people think of us.We desperately want the approval of others, so we agonize over what they think.I fail to understand why we care so much because many times they may not be worth the energy we expend trying to please them.This doesn’t make them a bad person, it just means we need to focus on people who wi…

How I Got It Wrong, Maybe: Jesus on the Cross

A few years ago,  I listened to a friend as she voiced the frustration of trying to find a private school for her son.  The only school that she could find was a Catholic school.  She was unsure of exposing him to Catholicism, but she thought he would receive a great education.  However, when her son went to visit, he didn't approve of the school.  What bothered him?  He hated seeing all the crosses.  More importantly, he hated seeing Jesus still on the cross.  He told his mother, "He is NOT still on the cross!  They need to take Jesus OFF the cross."  I thought, "Wow, what passion coming from a teenager!"  I said, "Yes, he's not on the cross.  He was buried and God raised from the dead!  He is seated at the right hand of God!"

Well, this past weekend, I found another way of looking at it.  I spent the weekend at a Catholic spiritual retreat center.  The crosses with Jesus, were everywhere!!  However, this time when I saw them, I looked at them di…

Being Wounded by Jesus

I was having dinner with a new friend a couple days ago and she shared with me about a conference she attended.  She told me one of the speakers talked about Mary (sister of Martha and Lazarus) being wounded by Jesus.  This was a hard concept for many to swallow because this was the sister who sat at the feet of Jesus.  She is the one that wasn't "busy", but focused on her relationship with Jesus.  So, how could she be wounded by Jesus?  This concept pierced my heart because truth be told, I've felt wounded by Jesus.

Mary had a close relationship with Jesus.  She was considered a good friend and many argue that she was a close disciple of Jesus.  In John 11, Mary's brother Lazarus gets sick, so the sisters send for Jesus.  They need him to heal their brother.  Does Jesus come right away?  No, he tarries for several days.  When he arrives, Lazarus is dead.  It is Martha who runs to meet Jesus and even though she is frustrated, she proclaimed Jesus to be the Messia…

Don’t Be a Victim of Your Intellect

I learned I could lead with my strength or be led by the Spirit. My article on Gifted For Leadership today.

Finding Jesus in Unlikely Places

About 2 years ago, I was in a difficult place.I loved Jesus, but hated the church.This was a challenging experience because I’ve spent most of my life in the church.I loved church!When I was a little girl, I couldn’t wait for revival time.I traveled with my aunt from church to church attending revival services.I remember the old spiritual hymns that pierced my soul.I remember hands clapping, feet stomping and the people moaning.Sometimes the songs seemed to last forever because people just kept singing the verses over and over again.In the African-American church, we tend to sing songs until we believe it or until it resonates in our spirit.The deacons prayed and cried out to God on behalf of the people.I learned as a little girl what it meant to take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there.
So, what happened?Why did I have a change of heart?Why did I suddenly hate the church?Well, it didn’t happen overnight.It was a series of events that I witnessed over time.While no church is …

A Contrast to the 23rd Psalm

Someone shared this with me and I thought it was powerful; so I'm passing it on:

With you as my "shepherds" I LIVED in want. You made me to lie down exposed in musty old church storage closets. You led me through doors behind baptismal waters to exploit me in the dust beneath the stage on which you preached. You destroyed my soul. You coerced me down paths of YOUR unrighteousness for your own SELFISH sake. Yea, I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death and I KNOW your deeds are nothing but EVIL, for these memories are ever with me. Your rod and your staff they crushed and confused me. Your threats...they silenced me. I ate regularly at a table in the presence of my enemies, self-professing their "anointing" of authority and how their "cup runs over." Surely LIGHT and TRUTH will haunt you all the days of your life, for darkness cannot dwell in the Eternal house of the LORD, the True Shepherd. Not EVER!  ~Anonymous

How the Church Can Support Emotional Health?

Will You Help the Widow?

The word of God reads, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  James 1:27  I always liked that verse, but I never saw it lived out until I went to Haiti in December of 2013. One day I was sitting with some of my friends in Haiti and my friend Wilfrid was working on his computer.  As many people know, I'm very inquisitive so I asked what he was working on.  Wilfrid began to tell me stories about widows in their community.  He told me about women who were struggling everyday to care for their families.  The more he shared, the more my heart wept.

One story stood out to me in particular; it was a story of a woman I will call *Laura.  Laura was a mother of 3 children and she was all alone.  Laura was struggling to feed her family and her home was insufficient to protect her children.  It was a home made of straw and sticks.  It was perfect f…

The Language of the Heart

One morning after devotions in Haiti, I sat and wrote in my journal.  I sat at a table writing down all the thoughts that filled my head and heart.  While I sat there, two sweet little girls sat with me.  We sat there quietly and peacefully; no words; no conversation.  The only thing we had in common was the language of the heart.  We could not communicate with each other because of the language barrier, but I believe they just wanted to be around me and I enjoyed their company.  It was their way of showing love to me without even having to say a word.  This past Christmas Eve, I did not wrap any gifts nor did I receive any presents, but I received one of the greatest gifts in the world...the gift of love and presence.

While I am thankful for gifts that are given to me and I know that all of us are excited to receive presents, I am more grateful for the love in my life and the time I spend with friends and family.  Many times in life we tend to focus on the wrong things.  We get so bu…