Friday, June 26, 2009

[confession part one] we don't do it and it is killing the church...

confession. something that we as a church stink at. how do i know? because our church is filled today with two kinds of people:

1. people who are just like the older brother in luke 15 and they think they never sin, or their sin is not nearly as bad as your sin.
2. people who are like the younger brother in luke 15 and finally come home, knowing they have sinned, but they do not know how to be free of the guilt and shame and so they eventually fall back into the sin.

it the first group of people confessed their sin (to god and to others) they would not sit in judgement of others. they would see that, just like paul they are the worst of sinners (not were, but are - present tense). they would realize that their sin nailed jesus to the cross too. this clan of people, who i can identify with, do no see themselves as in need of forgiveness, so they have not experienced the depths of christ's love. they have not sinned like the others and think they have earned favor with god and therefore, easily place themselves in the judgement seat to look down on those of you who cannot keep it together or who do not work as hard as they do.

the second group of people, want to come home and run back to the father, but still find themselves stuggling because they have kept their sin a secret from others. they confess to god all the time and they are forgiven (1 John 1:9) but since they have not confessed and made amends to others, they can't seem to get out of this cycle. they are scared to tell other people (esp the first group of people) and they are so frustrated that they eventally give in.

if the church was good at confession and taught people what to do when they sin, what a different picture we would paint of our savior's love. what if you were able to take all the energy you put into covering up your junk, into confession and allowing the lord to change and heal your life?

the next two blog posts will talk about two kinds of confession and the necessity of both.

between the beauty and chaos...


this is one of our worship leaders at church. he just put out this album and i love it!! we sing found, let your kingdom come, and the name at church all the time. great worship songs. in addition to those, my top favorite right now is beautiful mystery and amos story (which is about the 2 kids that aaron and his wife are in the process of adopting).

check it out on itunes or it will be well worth your purchase!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

extra things for the DR trip...

hey guys, i emailed some of our friends in the organization (makarios) we are going with to see if there was anything we could bring down to bless them. if you have any of these items lying around or you would like to purchase some to help them, please let me know.

* Flashlights and batteries
* small hand soap dispensers for school bathrooms--preferably antibacterial (no foam soap please)
* Moisture absorbers you put into closets to prevent mold. We need these for our medical supply closet. We need 2 every 40 days. * 5 clip boards-the kind you hold in your hand
* grapefruit seed extract
* boxes of pens and pencils for the school
* hand held pencil sharpners
* ink cartridges for the printer at teh house - we have an hp psc 1315 all in one printer, scanner, copier. we need color and black cartridges. Color- HP Tri-color print cartridge 8 ml # 28 Black-HP Black print cartridge 19 ml #56
* roles of masking tape and duct tape
* ticky-tac the stuff teachers use for sticking posters to the wall
* scotch tape dispensers and extra roles
* bug spray
* hand sanitizer
* kids flavored toothpaste (just kids flavors...we have enough travel size toothpaste to teach dental hygiene to the entire country)
* tacs --for a bulletin board
* paper clips
* white printer paper
* construction paper (all colors)
* card stock (all colors)
* roach hotels--those things you put out that roaches crawl through and then ill the whole family
* khaki pants-ONLY toddler sizes and a little smaller (for skinny kids ages 3-6)
* tennis shoes-ONLY toddler sizes(for skinny kids ages 3-6)
* underwear-ONLY toddler sizes(for skinny kids ages 3-6)
* bulletin board decorations-ONLY spanish. Stuff for a bulletin board that will be used to do seasonal displays, holiday, special anouncements.
*small storage bins (shoe box size and larger)
* storage boxes for pencils, pens, glue, and scissors (the small ones, so we can put one on a table for kids to share from)
*cotton balls (for art)
* paint(for art)
*q-tips(for art)
*popsicle sticks(for art)
*anything “crafty”

Saturday, June 20, 2009

mighty cone on south congress...

so here in austin, on south congress there are some eateries that you must go to in addition to all the other south congress fun (shopping, homeslice pizza, gueros). and by eateries, i mean trailers that sell food. it literally looks like a trailer park, only you are eating some seriously good food. from cupcakes, to crepes, to pizza, to the mighty cone. the mighty cone was most recent experience at the eateries. they DO NOT serve sno cones. no no, but they do serve all of their food in cones. like paper cones that you would use at a water cool, only they are stuffed with goodness!! sand the tables have places to setup your cones so that you so not have to hold them up. pictured below i think we have the chicken avacado wrap (right) fries (middle) and venison sausage wrap (left). SOOOOO good!

Friday, June 19, 2009

summer so far...

since my last several posts have been serious, i thought i would lighten the mood a bit with some pics of stuff that has gone on so far this summer. enjoy, you won't have to think after viewing this post.

i was blessed to get to baptize my dear friend erin! words cannot describe how cool this was!

hanging out on south congress for decker's bday.

decker and i celebrating her birthday. love this girl.

me, cassie and her friend haley at pinkfest 09 @ vino vino.

d, rachel, me and jessica (d's friend) living it up at the salt lick! an austin favorite!
for those of you who are more visual learners, there will be more pics soon, esp since my DR trip is coming soon! 2 weeks!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

practical tips for discipleship...

i was going to write a blog that summarized what i learned in one of the breakouts at summer conference this weekend, but my friend angela beat me to it and she did a really good job. so no need to do extra work, just read hers. the panelists at this breakout gave us great practical tips for discipling people in the church. lots of helpful info here. give it a read.

life on life discipleship, even with a family...

one of the questions that came up this weekend at our summer conference was "how do moms disciple others when they have a family?" lots of discussion happened on this with one of the women on the panel and some moms.

first, it is important to realize that discipling your children is your first call to discipleship as a parent. you get the chance to invest in the lives and entrust faithful things to your kids for 18 years! do not discount that!! it is HUGE!!

but secondly, i think many of parents think that discipleship has to happen in some formal setting. thursday mornings at 6:00am at starbucks, for example. this model works for some, but for moms, let's be honest, it is not the best model. your life is crazy and revolves around your little ones and your time alone is already limited, how can you give up more time to invest in the lives of others? also, many moms think they do not have all this knowledge to offer. lies i tell you!

i want to write to moms and dads and encourage them to look at a different way of discipleship. this was how i was invested in at pine cove and my life was changed. if someone wants to be discipled by you, invite them into your home. your real home. not your perfectly, well put totgether, everyone on your best behavior home. but rather your chaotic, maybe not that clean and not everyone is in the best mood home. invite them in to this. this is hard for me, because to have someone over and not have everything together stresses me out. (but that is because to not have it all together exposes some weaknesses of mine). so let me encourage you to get past whatever reason would keep you from having people in your real home and do it.

why you ask? this is important for several reasons and i speak these from my experience. first, this paints a real life picture of a family. if you only have us over when things are perfect or calm, then we begin to think that this is what a good christian home looks like and our expectations of a marriage or parenting quickly become unrealistic. let us see your house as it is normally. let us see your kids not be on their best behavior. let us see you snap at your spouse about something. this shows us that you are real people with real struggles just like us. this also shows us how to deal with this, how to ask for forgiveness. how to love and discipline kids when we don't want to, etc. please let us see your weaknesses too. we need to see real people with weaknesses love jesus because the enemy is always trying to make us think we are disqualified because we do not have it together.

secondly, we would love to see how families live life. we only have one example to build off of, and this our home life. expand our horizons by letting us see how you lead your family and live life. just watching you serve and love your family is a great picture of christ and discipleship. help us learn how to be good spouses and parents.

thirdly, most of us would admit that we desire a family and getting to spend time with a family and your kids, yes even yours, can actually be a fill for us.

so what does this look like? for me, i went a family's house every thursday night. i ate dinner with them and helped their 4 kids study for spelling tests and read. then after they put the kids down, some times i would go home, but some times we would just talk life for a little bit. they would ask me questions and i would ask for advice. or we talk through some thing. there was not always an agenda, but it was intentional and i was gleaning more than they realized. because more than just spiritual wisdom and doctrine, i wanted to learn about life. i learned so much about marriage and raising kids from this family (i love you palella family). and they in turn got some help with their kids. the mom did not have to worry about helping the kids with their homework that night, she could breathe a little or do something else. some times they would also call and ask me to help run errands or do something. it cost me time for sure, but getting to live life alongside them and learn from them was well worth the cost!!

so my encouragement to you is to invite us single folks into your home. don't think we have something better to do. a happy hour with our friends is fun, but it is not helping me grow. we are hungry for some family life anyway. we would love to help you and we would love to learn from you too. please don't paint some unrealistic picture of marriage and family by having it together all the time. please invite us in so that we can see you in action. we know you are not perfect and we do not expect that, just as you don't from us. please help us some day have healthy marriages and families by allowing us to learn from your victories and mistakes. we want to learn about life, not just doctrine. so please, if you see some faithful men/women out there, invite them into your family. if we really want discipleship, we will make the sacrifice, i promise!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

majesty increases faithfulness...

i was reading j.i. packer's knowing god this morning and this quote goes right along with my previous post.

"The Christian's instinct of trust and worship are stimulated very powerfully by knowledge of the greatness of God. But this is a knowledge which Christians today largely lack; and that is one reason why our faith is so feeble and our worship so flabby." (Packer: 83)

i know not the depths of his majesty. no wonder i don't trust him.

i've been spending time focusing on his majesty - his greatness, packer's chapter on majesty has helped point me in the right direction, because to be honest, i don't know where to begin. i am such a baby at this adoration thing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

daily bread and faithfulness...

as many of you know the lord often uses music to speak to me and remind me of his goodness. and as you probably know from previous music posts, i LOVE jon foreman. today, as i was driving, my favorite song by him came on, your love is strong. i know all the words to this song backwards and forwards, but today, the Lord used a couple of familiar lines to speak a great truth to me. you should listen to this song or at least read through all the lyrics, but here are the lines he used today.

"you give me the food i need
to live through the day"

"give us today our daily bread"

i immediately thought about the israelites and manna. and i thought about how that was their daily bread for 40 years. then i thought, "how could they possibly not trust god or even forget about his faithfulness when they saw this bread on the ground every day? what a bunch of fools." the lord gave them exactly what they needed for 40 years. and if they tried to take matters into their own hands and store some extra up just in case, it spoiled.

then the lord quickly turned this to me and i felt him ask, "becca, why don't you trust me?" my response was, "i do. thank you for always providing food for me." to which i felt him say, "i am not talking about food, i am talking about life. why are so you anxious and worried and why do you try to control things just in case i don't come through in the way you want?" i was perplexed. "i am not sure," i thought. i mean, i know that in my head, but i sure don't live that way. i wake up and go through each day as if the lord has not provided everyday before, just like my foolish friends, the israelites.

as i was telling a dear friend this later on, she was quick to ask me how i pray.
i was not sure what she meant at first. she then basically asked me how much of my time with the lord was spent adoring him and dwelling on his faithfulness. how much time did i spend thanking him for all He has done for me, big or small? i was completely leveled. i spend little or no time doing that. if something huge happens like last week with peter, then of course i take time to thank him and tell his story, but what about each day? sadly, i get too busy to do that, or i am too preoccupied to do that. then it clicked in my mind. no wonder i worry about things, no wonder i panic and feel anxious. no wonder i worry if the lord will be faithful. no wonder i don’t live as if he is enough. i know those things in my mind, but i clearly do not believe them, otherwise i would not worry. if I forget to spend time adoring him, meditating on him and thanking him, i don’t see all that he has done and i wonder if he can handle this. when i take time to see what jesus has done for me, i will be able to face my fears and trust him with them.

so for me, i have asked a few close buds to hold me accountable to taking time daily to adore him and to thank him. i need to trust him to care for me today and tomorrow as he has every other day of my life. how could i forget that? so many obvious things, like manna, that i have just taken for granted or some how made myself believe that accomplished. i am just as foolish as those israelites.

Monday, June 8, 2009

in christ alone...

in christ alone
in christ alone my hope is found;
he is my light, my strength, my song;
this cornerstone, this solid ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
what heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
my comforter, my all in all—
here in the love of christ i stand.

in christ alone, who took on flesh,
fullness of god in helpless babe!
this gift of love and righteousness,
scorned by the ones he came to save.
till on that cross as jesus died,
the wrath of god was satisfied;
for ev'ry sin on him was laid—
here in the death of christ i live.

there in the ground his body lay,
light of the world by darkness slain;
then bursting forth in glorious day,
up from the grave he rose again!
and as he stands in victory,
sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
for i am his and he is mine—
bought with the precious blood of christ.

no guilt in life, no fear in death—
this is the pow'r of christ in me;
from life's first cry to final breath,
jesus commands my destiny.
no pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
can ever pluck me from His hand;
till He returns or calls me home—
here in the pow'r of christ i'll stand.

this song has ministered to me more over the past few months than i can explain. i sing it all the time and its truth continues to affect me. each verse has been my favorite and ministered to me at some point. my only hope is found in him. my fears are stilled and my comforter is all i need. he took on flesh and suffered and died and because of that, sins curse has lost its grip on me!! WOO HOO!! and lately, i sing the fourth verse at the top of my lungs and beat my steering wheel if i am in the car, NO GUILT IN LIFE, NO FEAR IN DEATH, THIS IS THE POWER OF CHRIST IN ME!!

if you do not have this song to listen to, i HIGHLY recommend bethany dillon's version. that is the one i jam out to.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

truth and agony...

just rethinkin' this quote tonight...

"if you love a person so selfishly that you cannot risk their anger, you won't ever tell them the truth they need to hear. if on the other hand, you tell a person the truth they need, but with harshness and not with the agony of a lover, they won't listen to it. but if you speak the truth with lots of love evident at the same time, there is a great chance that what you say will penetrate the heart and heal." - tim keller, galatians: living in line with the gospel.

i have played both sides of this coin. fear constantly plagues me so there is agony, but care for myself is greater than my care for others. at the same time, apathy and judgment also plague me but rather than the agony of a lover, i feel the agony of having to deal with others. ouch. lord, teach me to love!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

dominican republic trip take 2...

as many of you know, i got to go to the domincan republic on january. i not only got to serve, but i was also there for the purpose of scouting out for a trip this summer. july 3-11, I get the great opportunity to lead a trip of 3 families and their elementary school age kids on a mission trip. we are going to to partner with an organization called makarios. though this is not my first international trip to lead, it is my first trip to lead with kids on it.

i am super excited about this trip for many reasons. i am excited to be used by God to love on kids in the dominican republic (I will explain more about what we will be doing later in the blog). i am also excited about providing an opportunity for families to serve together on mission. i love the idea of parents getting to talk to their child about all they have experienced together as they have taken the gospel to the nations. we can all attest to the deep bonds that are formed with people you go on a mission trip with, how cool for those bonds to be within a family. thirdly, I am excited for the kids to be exposed to a completely different culture so that their eyes may be opened. i am also excited for them to be used at such a young age to share the gospel. lastly, I am excited for the kids that are in our ministry but are staying behind. they get to help pray for and support their friends that are going on a mission trip overseas. i am hoping that this opens their eyes to how God can use them at even their young age to tell people about Jesus. hopefully this will fight the tendency to wait until they are older.

we are embarking on this journey, July 3-11 and would LOVE your prayers for our trip. please be praying for lives to be changed. while on this trip, we will be putting on a bible camp for some elementary age kids. One of the many things makarios does is teach a bible class. this summer while we are there,

they will graduate from their class and we will be helping with their graduation celebration with their family. i am really excited to see our kids get in and serve alongside the dominican kids. Please be praying for our time there. For more information on whatelse makarios does, please check out the website

personally, i am a bit nervous about taking kids on an international trip. please pray for safe travel with these little ones. secondly please be praying that the lord will give me vision for what family trips may look like in the future, as this is the first trip of this sorts that our church is taking. and lastly, please be praying for my health. my diabetes should not present a problem, but it could. pray that all of my medical supplies will make it and not be lost with luggage and that my pump works as it should while we are there.

if you would also like to help support our team financially, we are still in need of funds. each person on the team has to raise $1500 (including the kids). our team will need to raise $16,500. we are having garage sales and other fundraisers to help curb the cost. but if the Lord has laid this trip on your heart and you have the means, please consider supporting us financially. i am confident that the Lord will provide what i need, but any excess that i receive will support the families going on the trip as well.

Please make checks out to Makarios. To help us comply with IRS regulations, please do not write anything in the memo space on the check.


Makarios 3267 Bee Caves Rd. Suite 107-71 Austin, TX 78746

Thank you for your prayers! I will send out more updates as the trip approaches and I will post about it here as well.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

another cool kidstuff moment...

I got an email from my friend Cara today about some kids that she brings to church each week. Cara is a partner at our church who works for the Texas Baptist Children’s home. She works with some kids, who are not in the home, but who live in government subsidized housing. She does an after school program with them and about 2 years ago started bringing them to church. We have seen a huge difference in so many of the kids. (see other blog posts) None of these kids come from a home that loves Jesus, but his capturing their hearts and they are being transformed. Here is an excerpt from Cara about the kids:

"when I have the kids in the van we listen to KLove and any time “Mighty to Save” or “God of this City” comes on they want me to turn it up really loud and they know all the words! I cannot even begin to express the joy I feel every time I hear these kids sing things like “Savior, He can move the mountains. Our God is Mighty to save…”."

We sing these songs in KidStuff all the time and we spend time explaining them to the kids. it is so cool to see some fruit!

here is another excerpt about one of the kids cara brings, this one was an email to cara from this kid's small group leader at church.

"The last few months I have literally seen a night and day difference in Brandon's behavior in kidstuff (as compared to last fall). He's polite, raises his hand to talk or ask a question, does what we ask of him (usually the first time!), and has actually been participating in group discussions. He seems to feel a lot more comfortable around the other boys in the class.

This month we studied what it means to be steadfast, and how we ought to stand up for what it right. Today, for instance, we talked about Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian church. I'm not sure what question provoked this answer, but Brandon raised his hand and said "When I move to my dad's in Houston, there are people there that haven't even heard of God. I could tell them about Him". My jaw practically dropped to the floor, I was amazed to say the least. God is clearly at work in Brandon's heart, and I know I speak for the other kidstuff leaders when I say that we are all so excited for the work God is doing in his life!"

our god is mighty to save! and he is changing this next generation! what if they get it now, rather than later. what if they begin changing their world now, rather than when they are in college. i can't wait to see what the lord does!!

Monday, June 1, 2009


so this past sunday, i had one of those moments where i remember why i love my job so much and i why i am so blessed to have it. i hope that my words here accurately convey my joy!

so there are two little guys that come to my area each sunday. they have been known for having trouble obeying and pushing all the limits and causing quite a ruckus. we have been working hard to try and help them. we have talked to their dad multiple times and we are now even trying some positive reinforcement for them. but this sunday, the older one, he is in the third grade, was out to push all boundaries no matter what!! (for his sake i will not use his real name, but instead will call him peter) within 20 minutes of being there, peter had disobeyed his leader multiple times and even hit his brother because he thought it was funny. so during our kids worship time, i decided he would be my buddy and i would sit with him to help. i stood right next to him and danced and sang with him. it did not take him long to start trying to push the boundaries again. he wanted to mess with others while they were worshiping. he wanted to lay on the ground and roll around rather than sing. after asking him many times and even helping him stand up, peter still refused and even threw a couple punches at me (luckily he only weighs like 40 pounds). so i told him to come outside with me since he could not obey. he refused and tried to create a scene, so i just picked him up and carried him out into the hall to sit with me and the police officer.

after we got in the hall, he was so mad and just wanted to go back in. i told him we had to sit in time out for a bit and he only got angrier and angrier. he even said a few inappropriate things to me and continued to try and hit me. i was having to hold him at one point to keep him from running off, at which point he started to lick me. (never had a kid do that before, but i was just thankful that he was not biting me) i finally paged his dad out of service and he came and sat with peter and i. he told peter that he needed to apologize, but peter refused. he even said, "i don't feel sorry so i'm not going to say sorry." we had this conversation multiple times, but he refused and would not budge.

so we sat on the bench for awhile and then the lord brought something to mind. i looked at peter and i asked him if he knew about forgiveness. he looked at me, still very angry. i proceeded to tell him that forgiveness has two parts. one where the person who did wrong apologizes or repents and is sorry for what they did. the second part is that the other person forgets and gives them a new start. i told him that no matter what happened that day, when he came to kidstuff next week, i was going to give him a fresh start. i was not going to talk about this week, i was not going to hold it over his head, and in fact i would act as if it never happened.

he looked at me and told me he was getting calmer, but still did not want to apologize. we sat there in silence for a few minutes and then the lord brought this to my mind. so i looked at peter again and said, "peter, you know who else forgives us?" no answer. and i said, "jesus. he forgives us completely and gives us a fresh start. he doesn't hold our mess ups over our head. no matter how much we mess up, he keeps forgiving us. that is how much he loves us."

at this point, the other kids are coming out of worship and going back up to their classroom. peter asks me if we can go outside and talk since it is now so loud and everyone is walking by. so we went outside, he sat next to me and said this, "i'm sorry for disobeying you. i am sorry for hitting you and i am sorry for licking you." then i gave him a hug and a high five and let him rejoin his class. he skipped back to catch up with his leader who welcomed him right back in the group.

as his dad and i were walking back inside, he said to me, "i know you guys probably dread seeing me and my boys come each week. i am so sorry that they cause so many problems." i then cut him off and told him that i don't feel that way and that if i ever did, that would be sin on my part because the whole point of my job is to love on kids and point them to jesus and if i am not doing that because it is inconvenient, then i am failing. if me and my volunteers are not loving on these kids, supporting their families and fighting for them, then why are we here. i told him with tears in my eyes, that it is my privilege to get to talk to kids about jesus, even when it is tough. i told him that i pray for his boys and that my leaders do too. and i that i was sorry that i could not give him practical advice, but that i could assure him that we were fighting for them. at this, he also began to tear up. it was a sweet sweet moment.

the lord used this to also show me that we act like peter all the time. we push the limits, think our sin is no big deal, we fight back, we even may get mad at him and kick, scream, or even "lick." then we are embarrassed when our sin gets exposed or called out and we want to just escape rather than deal with it. but then jesus' love arrests us and attacks us and we still resist because to give in would be humiliating. but he is patient and persistent and his love is so enticing and we know it is so satisfying. so we finally give in and repent and then we feel free!! we are free to skip! we are loved as we are and our debt has been paid! how quick we are to forget what jesus has done for us. what price he paid for us.

one more cool thing. remember how i said that the cop was sitting out there with us. well after it was all said and done, i was walking past him and he stopped me. he wanted to know how i could be so patient and love on a kid like that. i jokingly said that i have to pray for patience. as i walked off and was laughing about how crazy kids are, i then turned back to him to say, "and that is because that is how i am loved. and when i remember that, it makes it a little easier to love others like that." i hope that he got a glimpse of the gospel that day. who knows. all i know, is that night, while i was at worship and we were singing about how good god is, i wept. and wept and wept and wept. so thankful for his faithfulness! so thankful that i get to be a vessel to point kids to christ and make disciples of this next generation. that, my friends, is why i have the best job ever! thanks for reading through this forever long post!