Thursday, June 30, 2011

Scripture Memory

Well I've been a big ball of blogging energy lately! (Ha! Sarcasm.)

Despite my blogging doldrums, I do have one great tool to share with you. I recently found a fantastic how-to article regarding Scripture memory.  It makes memorizing an entire book of the Bible seem like cake!  (And vitally valuable.)  Can you imagine how amazing it would be to have an entire book of the Bible stored away in your mind for retrieval at any moment?  Wow.

Check out the link to the PDF file below and see what you think.
An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture (by Dr. Andrew Davis)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Eat More Chicken

Montgomery residents, we know you love Chick-fil-A.  What can be better than eating chicken sandwiches TONIGHT to support an adoption!? (The Word family is adopting from the Democratic Republic of Congo.)

The Words will thank you!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Check This Out

Today, We Are Grafted In kindly featured my May 31st post on their site! Cool! Check it out here!

Because It's Monday and I'm Dragging...

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."  - Isaiah 40:28-31

Friday, June 24, 2011

Humble Pie

I have to laugh. Every time I need a good dose of humility, I seem to get it. Laugh with me at the trend of my recent life:

I blog about the insanity of materialism. Within 24 hours, I’ve absent-mindedly made the biggest internet impulse purchase of my life. Brilliant.

I blog about how we shouldn’t waste time. And then I proceed to waste more time this week than I have in a while. Doh!

I blog about how I want to teach. And then I get the roster of those who have (so far) signed up to attend the video study I’m facilitating, and realize that every person in there is more equipped to teach than I am! It is a fantastic group. (Can you hear me eat the humble pie as it gets jammed down my throat!?)

I’m guessing this Bible study will be another reminder from God that it is not about me! The Holy Spirit and God’s Word will have to be our teacher, (along with much help from Anne Graham Lotz!), because I don’t have much to offer some of these women who I so admire. There is still time to join us!  Click here and scroll to the end of the post for details. (And don’t worry if you don’t measure up to these admirable women I’m talking about. You can sit by me and feel just fine! Ha!)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Do What You Love

"The luckiest people alive have a vocation that is the same as their advocation."
Colleen Barrett
President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines Co.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Coming My Way

Heaven used to scare me.
Even as a Christian, the thoughts of dying and especially of the rapture seemed pretty freaky. 

Lately, though, my heart could explode to think of the joy that is coming when the Kingdom of God is finally fully with us!  And so this simple little song makes me laugh and cry.

It's worth a listen.  I love the symphony sound mixed with almost a tribal chorus. It reminds me that people from every tribe and tongue will praise sweet Jesus someday.

Heaven is not so scary to me these days. It's downright beautiful to think about. For all of the scurrying and preparing I did as a young bride engaged to Brad, I figure we have much more joyful preparation to do as the Bride of Christ.  Heaven is "coming our way."  Get excited and get ready!

Coming My Way by The City Harmonic

I won’t wait, no, I won’t wait for heaven
‘cause I believe heaven’s coming my way.
While I’m alive I’ll be gettin’ on with livin’ like

You’re comin’ my way
Comin’ my way
And I’ll be comin’ Your way
Comin’ Your way

I can’t wait to meet You in the middle.
Up in the air to welcome You home
and on the way we’ll be gettin’ things ready

You’re comin’ my way
Comin’ my way
And I’ll be comin’ Your way
Comin’ Your way

O, I once was lost
And now I’m found
It’s like...
A spark lit a fire and it won’t burn out.
A spark lit a fire and it won’t burn out.
A spark lit a fire, now it won’t burn out.
Oh, it’ll never burn out.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

All That We Waste

There is so much I want to do with my life, but I realize that this life is only a blink.

Sometimes our days seem long and we forget what a vapor we are. We begin to feel important, and bogged down, and deserving of the pursuit of our own pleasures and comforts. We work hard, after all, and we need some “me” time. And a few indulgences. And to keep up with the Jones’. Right?

Yet it’s the indulgences that we often regret.

Never, never, never do we regret the moments when we sacrificed. When we served. When we loved until it hurt and cost and stripped and exhausted and caused us to cry on our knees at the cross of Christ, begging for Him to sustain us because we just couldn’t do it on our own.

I want to live a life that loves until it hurts. That bleeds the blood of Christ.

I need to write these words, because I find myself wasting... Wasting time that could be given to God’s sweet purposes. Wasting money that could send one of the most loving families I’ve ever heard of to be the hands and feet of Christ in a foreign land. Wasting a house that could host far more than it does. Wasting a phone that could be used to reach out to others more. Wasting a mind that should be shaped by Truth. Wasting a tongue that slanders when it should be praising God. Wasting a body that is still relatively young and able for all sorts of good works.

I don’t want to waste. There is so much I want God to use me for in this one breath of a life. In a world full of options, I want to make only one choice: to love Christ. To live like Him. To point others to Him. Oh God, save us from wasting! Empower us to give until it hurts, and to love until we bleed Your blood.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Not About Me

Why is it so hard to live a genuine life?

A tiny word has been buzzing around my brain like a gnat that I quickly shoo away and forget: pride, pride, pride. For days, I managed to ignore this realization which the Spirit was beginning to stir in me.

Finally, the sword of God’s Word cut right through the great divide of my sinful soul and God’s Spirit inside of me, showing the impurity of my intentions.

God convicted me through a strange little Bible story that I don’t fully understand: King David sins by taking a census of Israel's inhabitants. Only by God’s mercy is Jerusalem not destroyed by holy wrath. (story found both here and here.)

What a weird story! My flesh protested: David’s census was not so wrath-worthy!  But the buzzing gnat word got louder in my spirit: pride, pride, pride. The ugly heart of David’s census was pride.

Worse yet, I recognized myself in the story.

David forgets that his kingdom was built by God. He is filled with self-satisfaction instead of awe in the God who brought David from obscurity to fame, from shepherding sheep to ruling God’s people. Instead of saying, “Not to me, but to You Lord, be the glory,” he seeks more glory for himself by counting how many subjects he rules over.

When we read stories like this, we have to look into the mirror. So I asked, am I distorting the beautiful growth that God has begun in me by making it ABOUT ME?

I can’t do any good apart from God. My brain always knows this. I am willing to confess this. But sometimes my actions and attitudes reveal how forgetful I am of the God who gives me life and love and every good gift. I tremble as I remember the damage that pride caused in my life as a young Christian. Lord, never let me go back there!

I am reminded that seeking ME, feeding my pride, lifting up myself – even (especially?) in a ministry context – leads me AWAY from the life I so ache to have. A life owned by Christ and not by me. A life where I give up every "right" and honor I could ever have in favor of pointing to someone far greater.  A life where I don't care about the esteem of others, so long as God is well pleased.

Can you imagine? The God of the universe... well pleased by US?

Father, let it be.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to my own amazing daddy!
Happy Father's Day to my brothers, friends, and to the father of my two precious girls!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Loving Orphans THERE Means Loving Your Life HERE

It is easy to think you have a heart for orphans on the other side of the world, but if you spend your time at home resenting the imposition your children are on you, you do not. You cannot have a heart for the gospel and a fussiness about your life at the same time. You will never make any difference there if you cannot be at peace here. You cannot have a heart for missions, but not for the people around you. A true love of the gospel overflows and overpowers. It will be in everything you do, however drab, however simple, however repetitive.
Rachel Jankovic at Desiring God

You should really click the link on the author's name above to read the entire post.  A beautiful reminder to serve God right where we are.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Portrait of Christ

Incredible. The face of Christ built from the faces of humanity.

Video and art by Jeremy Cowart

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Want to Join a Bible Study?

Do you remember that I’ve had a desire to start teaching God’s Word?
(Should I disclaim? I don’t think I’m an expert or know so much! I simply want to be used, and learn in the process! )

I went into my first recent speaking times resistant, shaking my head and insisting, “I like to write, but I am no good at talking! Why am I here!”  I fell flat on my face. Thankfully, my audiences were both forgiving and small in number!

My last few talks left me grateful.  Yes, because I'm improving, but it's more than that. There is something so fulfilling about learning a holy truth and then sharing the beauty of it with others. Others who are there because they want to hear it! 

I know that I am weak. I stutter in conversations with my closest friends and certainly have no business in front of groups who don't know me. Coherent words only came out of my mouth during my talks because the Spirit empowered me... because sweet friends laid hands on me and prayed... because God wanted something to be said... something which has NOTHING to do with me, and EVERYTHING to do with Him.

So even though I am not a great teacher, I love the process. And I am eager to learn.

So when I was asked to facilitate a video-based women's study at my church, I jumped at the chance! What a perfect way for this NONexpert to serve... I can press play on a video! Sure, I'll pray diligently for the group and prepare well for discussion time, but Billy Graham's daughter can handle the teaching!

I know the Spirit will meet us during this study. I cannot overstate my excitement!

Would you like to join us?

Wednesday Nights
June 29
(4 to 6 sessions; to be decided)
6:30 – 8:00
St. James UMC - Montgomery, AL

Buy the participant book to bring to the first meeting:
Anne Graham Lotz
(based on the book of John)

Email me at rachelgoode1(at)gmail(dot)com and I’ll make sure you’re registered!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Line Between Love and Protection

Yes, our family looks different from the norm. We, like growing thousands of families, chose a daughter who does not share our skin color. I assure you that no one has ever been surprised to learn that Amelia is not Caroline’s biological sister. It is obvious! When you adopt transracially, people who don’t know you understand at first glimpse that you adopted.

Therefore, transracially adoptive families become ambassadors of sorts. No, we don’t realize that we’re signing up for that. We simply desire parenthood. Still, people will ask us questions, and that is mostly a great thing.

I loved Heather’s article about the weighty and beautiful responsibility that adoptive parents have to answer all questions with grace. We should strive to be loving, and Biblically speaking, love does not easily take offense.

I’m not speaking from innocence. I often fear the day when Amelia is old enough to understand those who contrast adopted children to “children of our own.” Will she believe the lie that her status of “adopted” equals something other than being “my own”?

Even with this fear, I keep coming back to the fact that most people have good intentions. No one means malice when they imply that biological children alone can be one’s “own”. But the words still sting, and will sting far more when Amelia understands them.

Do I keep my mouth closed, knowing that the speaker’s intentions are fine? Or do I protect my child by insisting that a child can both be adopted and fully ours? I may always grapple with where to draw the line between grace and correction; between love that doesn’t easily offend and parenting that protects the child.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Don't Judge a Blog By It's Title

Girls Gone Wise is hands-down my new favorite blog.  Despite the sigh-worthy Girls Gone Wild pun, the blog is AWESOME!

It is thought provoking.

The author makes incredibly intelligent and Bible-based points.

I wish I knew how to study Scripture with such knowledge, grace, and discernment.

It speaks to issues relevant to women in our culture without making those issues central.  Christ remains center of it all.

A couple of my favorite posts included:
her explanation of the Bible passage where women are told to be silent in church
her discussion of whether female beauty matters (or should matter) to Christian women.  (In short, yes! But for heavenly reasons!)

I'd really recommend checking it out. I cannot wait to buy the book!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Drumroll, Please!

And the lucky giveaway winner is...

Kelly Raudenbush!!!
I want in on your giveaway! Someone else sent me a link to this etsy store already. So cute! I like the daydreaming girls -- one blond and one dark hair like my two girls. I'd hang it in their room. So cute!

In a fun turn of events, I clicked on Kelly's blog as I was creating this post and saw that she is also having a giveaway! I entered!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Weeks ago,  Brad and Caroline found a nest in our fern. It was filled with tiny blue eggs.

A funny thing happens to eggs.

They hatch!

Which leads us the marvel at teeny tiny baby birds.

Don't forget to enter for the giveaway by midnight!