Wednesday, November 24, 2010
So I have been searching blogs and websites for ministries who sell cool or beautiful items and give the profits to people in need.
So here are some of my favorite gifts that make a difference.
(1) Amani Ya Juu (means Higher Peace in Swahili).is a sewing-marketing-training project for marginalized women in Africa. The main center is located in Nairobi, Kenya with sister centers in Rwanda and Burundi.The women involved in the project are learning to work together through faith in God who provides a higher peace that transcends ethnic differences.
This online store has got to be my absolute favorite. You could buy me anything from their store and I would be a happy camper. In fact, I finished a HUGE chunk of my Christmas shopping at their store. They have jewelry, housewares, purses and other beautiful things for sale in their online store. Just take a look at this necklace:
(2) Lifesong For Orphans is a ministry that seeks to bring joy and purpose to orphans by mobilizing the church, His body, so that each member can provide a unique and special service: some to adopt, some to care, some to give. I recently one this awesome looking shirt from them in a giveaway.
(3) The ApParent Project seeks to help mothers and fathers in poverty be A PARENT to their children. They are educating and taking care of street kids who don't have A PARENT. We are using media and the arts to make the needs of Haiti APPARENT to those who can help, and we are doing this all with the hope that the love of God will be made more APPARENT to those we humbly serve and that He will be known as A PARENT to the parentless. They will soon have their online store up at this site. In the meantime you can host a party and sell their stuff to your friends and get some for yourself.
(4) Blood Water Mission (website) was founded by the multi-platinum, GRAMMY Award-winning band, Jars of Clay, Blood:Water Mission began as a call to personalize the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. The members of the band were committed to share the often-untold stories: those of creative, compassionate, hard-working Africans bringing health, hope and healing into their respective communities. Blood:Water Mission first stepped into funding a late stage AIDS hospice and discovered the vital link between living with HIV/AIDS and the need for clean water. As a result, Blood:Water Mission launched the 1000 Wells Project in 2005 as a nation-wide effort to raise enough money to provide clean water and sanitation to 1000 communities in sub-Saharan Africa based on the equation that $1 provides one African with clean water for an entire year. You can but their stuff here.
(5) Samaritan's Purse does so much that I can't even begin to summarize their work. They literally are all over the world meeting people's basic needs and sharing Christ with them. Visit their website NOW to see the AMAZING work they are doing. You can buy "unique: gifts on their online store. These are not the type of gifts you can unwrap and touch but they are gifts that will make a truly lasting impact.
Decorating the house? Making Christmas cookies? Celebrating with family and loved ones? Exchanging gifts?
What if this year you gave gifts that not only celebrated your loved ones but brought the love of Christ to a child in need? An orphan in Africa, India, Ukraine, or Honduras?
This year Lifesong for Orphans has gifts that will do just that. Give the new Lifesong cookbook...
Saturday, November 20, 2010
It's about a family from Texas that moved to Haiti to minister to the people still suffering from the earthquake. The blog has really touched me because the author is so honest about what she sees and how it breaks her heart. I love to see how she has been able to minister to women in Haiti, teaching them how to breastfeed. This story in particular has touched my heart.
And I am super excited that there is a way to help. You see there's a ministry that teaches folks in Haiti how to make beautiful jewelry out of cereal boxes.
Cereal Boxes and Hope
Isn't it awesome how God can use ordinary cereal boxes that we consider trash and turn them into beautiful beads that bring hope to families in such need of it. It's so like God to turn the ordinary into the very thing things that sustain life.
Won't you join me in collecting cereal boxes. If you are interested please leave a comment and I will
get you details.
And so you can see exactly where your cereal boxes are going please take a look at this slide show:
Apparent Project Slide Show
Friday, November 5, 2010
Here’s how to enter:
#1: Go to the Lifesong blog posting from Monday and guess how many children are no longer orphans that Lifesong helped to bring home through financial assistance.
#2: Leave a comment on Friday’s posting about how we can creatively work together as the body of Christ to care for orphans around the world! Here's what you do... share with us your ideas. Leave a comment... maybe about a ministry your church is involved in... or a family you helped support financially to adopt.
Maybe you have this aMAZing idea that has been just waiting to get out and be put in action. Here's your chance! Let's inspire each other to rise up on behalf of orphans!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Here's the start of the story Radical
And here is where it went: The Rest of the Story
When I saw the second post I did not hesitate to join the Sisterhood. Why? Well- three reasons. First, I love to see women united to glorify God. Second, I was seriously shocked by how far my small donation could go to save lives in Africa. The numbers are staggering! $28 gives 28 people in Africa clean water for a YEAR!!!!! Third-was realization that changing my life to focus on others and loving them like Christ sometimes just requires a small step of obedience. To save lives and glorify the Lord, I don't always have to hop on a plane to a remote land across the globe. Instead, I can sacrifice a small amount of my money to a cause that glorifies God.
So I leave you with the belt:
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I apologize if my Radical Chapter 6 post appear a bit of topic. You see, right before I read Chapter 6, I listened to a David Platt sermon entitled "He Came to Serve the Helpless". Platt’s words from that sermon echoed in my head as I read Chapter 6.
So, let me start my sharing with you what I learned in Platt’s sermon.
The sermon focuses on Mark 10:45. A short and simple verse that we have all read hundreds of times. But, perhaps, have never stopped to ponder its implications. It goes like this, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Platt’s basic message is this- Jesus came to serve us. Until we allow him to serve us in all areas of our life, we will not be able to love and serve in the ways described in Radical. Or put another way, in order to love as Jesus does and serve the poor, the lonely, the sick- we first need to let Jesus serve us.
Having just received that message, it was liberating to read Chapter 6. I gotta tell you, it would have been very hard to stomach the message of this chapter if God had not first reminded me that His Son came to serve me and I can change my selfish ways only if I allow Christ to serve me. I suddenly understood why it’s so hard for me to let go of my selfish ways and why despite all my efforts I always revert back to materialism. I fail over and over again because I try to do things on my own and change on my own without really letting Christ do the heavy lifting. For example, after Chapter 4 or 5 of Radical, I swore I was going to cut back on Starbucks to only once a week and give the “surplus” to Blood Water Mission. I succeeded exactly three days. Then work got busy and my daughter got sick and I returned to my almost daily SBUX addiction. When life got busy and tough, instead of letting Christ fill me up and serve me and nourish me, I turned to my own devices- overpriced caffeine!
Here’s the deal- I very much want to do what Platt challenges us to do- operate “under the idea that God has given us excess, not so we could have more, but so we would give more.” I want to dare to take things a step forward and “set a cap” on my family’s lifestyle so that we can give more of our resources away for “the glory of Christ in the neediest parts of the world.” But to take the next step is going to require total reliance on Christ. My husband and I both make great salaries and we are conservative spenders so we already have a surplus. A part of that surplus we give away to church, to Samaritan’s Purse, to Lifesong for Orphans, to the IMB, etc. But the bigger portion (after wise savings) just seems to go to things that simply don’t make an impact. So the next step is to reduce the waste! The only way to reduce that waste is to change our hearts and our minds. We can’t do that alone. We will continue to want the things of this world unless Christ has completely filled us up. If we don’t allow Christ to serve us and fill us, there will be empty places in our hearts and lives and our human nature is to fill those empty places with things.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
But I need to get past my own selfishness and focus on what God has been whispering to me.
Let me start with the first thing and the other things that have been swimming in my head will have to wait for a different post.
Here's the deal. I am a wife, a mother to an active 2 year old and an attorney working for a very big company with lots of work on my plate. How do I do the things that David Platt talks about in Radical? I have been pondering that question for over five weeks, waiting for God to write my answers in the sky with big bold letters. I did not find the answer written in the sky or on a billboard...instead it's tucked in the middle of chapter 5:
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
But God isn't just showing me pain and misery and needs that are going unmet. He is also opening my eyes to the reality that there are people out there that I know personally who are getting up, leaving and going to the nations to teach people about the beauty and the love and the glory of God. In less than 3 hours my sweet friend (let's call her Grace), her husband, and their sweet almost two year old curly haired daughter are boarding a plane for Africa. Grace is pregnant. They are not coming back for a very long time. They are going to Africa- a country they love to - minister in remote villages. Where they are going there isn't always electricity and you cook over a fire. Friends- Grace is in her second trimester...Baby #2 will be born in Kenya (their eventual destination is much further in an unreached part of the world). They are walking talking breathing lessons on trusting in God's protection. They love God and they love God's people so they are going. They have every excuse not to go (seriously- taking a two year old to the ends of the earth and delivering a baby in the ends of the earth???) but they want to go... so today in just a few hours they will be on their way. I worry for Grace and her husband and their daughter....how do you survive pregnancy in a mud hut with no running water or electricity. How do you do it? Then God reminded me of two things. First, millions of women do it every day. Second- Grace and her family are not alone. God the Almighty King of Kings is with them. Just reading these words leaves me speechless.
I don't have words...I don't know why God is opening my eyes like this. I don't know what He is doing...I don't know what He wants me to do...and that is hard. It's hard!
Monday, October 4, 2010
In addition to real friends adopting, talk of adoption is ALL over my blog friend world. Just check out this post:: Dreaming Big and this post Adoption and this post Orphan Sunday
I know that when God says things over and over again, it's time to really start listening.
So I'm listening...waiting to understand what God is up to.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I wrote that first sentence and was ready to write a very inspiring post. But then I was interrupted by life…plumber to fix the leak, medical expense receipts to sort, household files to organize, parents to send off to the airport, and a work conference call to take from home… Now I sit down to write again and I don’t feel as inspired. I am also noticing that I has creeped back in here. Six times its used in just four sentences….sick and disgusting I tell ya!
This whole post is an example of a point Platt makes in the first chapter of Radical. So much of our time, our focus, and even our worship, is focused on ourselves. It’s no wonder that our image of the Almighty God has been limited to a benevolent grandfather who hands out good things.
Yes God is good and yes he showers amazing blessings on us. But He is SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT!
Now back to the sandpaper thing….through this chapter God has sandpapered two areas of my life. First, God is beginning to show me the depths of my materialism. I whined to myself this morning that I had nothing to wear and should treat myself to a shopping expedition. Then I counted 20 plus business casual tops in my closet. So I shut my mouth and picked a shirt. That’s what this book does…it sandpapers off the dirt and mud that has caked on our eyes from years of life focusing on ourselves. Second, God is showing me how much of my faith and my worship center around myself and catering to my needs and wants. I could write a book of example but let me just say that for many many years I have measure my church by how they met my needs and how their worship style matched mine.
Now I have read some of the other posts from the Radical Read A Long and once again I am blown away. Someone has already said EXACTLY what I am feeling and could not put into words. Check this out- Quitting Comfortable.
So I am going to stop my babbling and let that soak in…how can I quit being comfortable?????
Sunday, September 12, 2010
"I do not know why I am starting a new blog...
I already have a blog...
I have a strong desire...
I have been...I was....."
In other words, the first draft was all about me.
That is exactly what this blog is NOT supposed to be. Its supposed to be about God and what God is doing in this world and how God is changing perspectives and desires. This next attempt will endeavor to avoid sounding like a two year old saying "me me me" all the time. Let's see if the focus can be turned away from "I."
So let's try doing this again.