Ministry Partners:
Get Music!
Friday
Aug152014

Family Camp '14 Testimony

A Mom's Perpective - by Jane Backus

 

If you know me, you probably giggle at the thought of me camping. If you don’t know me, let’s just say I’m a little bit girly and “non-outdoorsy”. Add to that picture the fact that this year’s accommodations involved a pop-up camper rather than a cabin or bunkhouse. Throw into this mix the detail that it rained almost the entire time we spent in New Mexico, and you have what should have been a recipe for disaster in my camp experience. 

Yet, it was one of the most relaxing, lovely times of soul-rest I have enjoyed in many years. Frizzy hair, no make-up, wet clothes, and lack of shower facilities aside, we had fun and our study in Ephesians left me with thoughts I’m still mulling over in my quiet moments.

You see, I’m a classic introvert, preferring to be alone with my thoughts than to be with most people. Because I dearly love my husband and four children, I’ve allowed them into the inner circle of my soul, but I still have to retreat into solitude for a short time every few days in order to regroup. Over the past few years, our family’s time and activities have intertwined with the three other families who were at camp, and I had not realized that I had begun to let my guard down and let them in, as well. It was uncharacteristically easy for me to go deep quickly with all of these people as we shared meals and Scripture, played games, worshipped together, and prayed with one another.

Through a simple yet profound group activity, Rich showed us that there are certain people in our lives with whom our “yarn is knotted”, and that the only way we are ever going to be able to carry the “beach ball” of life is with each other. That’s when the light bulb went off! I’m knotted to each of these people for time and eternity with yarn that won’t unravel because I look like a drowned rat or was rather ungraceful in my slide down the hill at White Sands. The knotted yarn gets messy and tangled; it requires us to be committed to each other and sometimes pulls us where we don’t want to go. But the reward is sweet Christian fellowship with those that God has placed in our lives. It is the rarity of unconditional love, and it’s worth the cost of messiness and loss of solitude.

Friday
Dec062013

Re-gifting Christmas

When I was a cash-strapped college student, one holiday season I had the privilege of working retail... in the mall... at a Christmas store. :/

Two things I learned through that experience.
  1. Expect to spend your whole paycheck on gifts when you work at a place called Tis Christmas!
  2. People, who are otherwise good, can morph into the Grinch while shopping for nativity sets & tree skirts.
Needless to say, I came out the "business end" of December 25th a little numb and jaded. Even now, with a few decades of experience under the belt, it is easy to lapse into Christmas autopilot as I'm "checkin' it twice" at Giftco (an upscale version of Giftmart). Which is why a recent facebook post from (long-time friend) Wendy Morton Edwards caught my eye. Proactive parent Wendy offers her children these Christmas wishlist guidelines...

Something you want, something you need,
Something to wear, something to read.
And something to share, for a girl or a boy,
A ball, a book, a game, or a toy,
To give to another, Christmas joy!

Wendy has integrated scripture with her limerick, so her family can discuss what God says about the many ways He provides for us all year long, even as they share their wishlists. Wendy's goal? "To encourage joyful hearts under our roof this Christmas, no matter what's under the tree!"

Well done, Mrs. Claus!

*My mom still displays the woven, grapevine crèche I gave her that year. ;)
Saturday
Feb232013

birdseyeVu Family Camp 2013

Time to start making plans...

July 14-19 (limited to the first 20 families)

*Call Rich (806-370-0409) for more details and to reserve your family's spot.

Friday
Feb152013

Radiation Therapy

The past few months, I have been walking alongside a local congregation that is in transition. Their choir sets aside the first portion of Wednesday rehearsal for prayer - mostly, needs within the congregation and praise reports related to past prayers. This Wednesday, cancer dominated the requests. My heart was heavy, knowing just a few of the people mentioned...

"Lord, hear our prayer and drive this disease from our midst! Supernaturally galvanize the bodies and spirits of those who are wrestling and grant abundant peace to them and their loved ones."

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Psalms 16:11 NASB

Our friends receive various treatments for their disease. Among the most common is radiation therapy. These two words have mingled together with Psalm 16 in my heart this week.

Scripture tells us that Christ dwells in brilliantly intense light (radiation). Furthermore, Jesus said of Himself...

I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."  John 8:12 NASB

The abundant life Christ has purchased for us is indomitable.

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:37-39 NASB

We all need radiation therapy, and often. When our hearts are overwhelmed, the sheer light of His presence permeates the dark recesses, dispelling every shadow and melting the mountains like wax. It takes but a moment, as we fix our gaze on Him, for us to bask in the warmth of His nearness. Bless the Lord, oh my soul!

Let this familiar song be a constant reminder to us this week.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus;
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim;
In the LIGHT of His glory & grace."

Monday
Jun252012

Embarrassment of Riches

My wife has been house-sitting for a couple of retired doctors this Summer. The well-travelled duo has a keen eye for art and valuable keepsakes. Their shelves are appointed with detailed carvings (of wood, ivory and jade), first-edition books, and rare artifacts; the walls, adorned with exotic rugs and artwork from around the globe.

In most homes, I might walk in and admire a tasteful piece or two; but this living room is a feast for the senses! As Allison completed her chores, I "toured" the mini-Smithsonian. With wide-eyed wonder, I crept at a snail's pace around the perimeter - transported through time on an intercontinental voyage.

On the drive home, we shared a chuckle, comparing the vacation t-shirts we typically bring home to their fascinating collection. Then, sitting at the drive-thru window of Chicken Express, I had an epiphany...

 

"I am a collector of fine friends, with an embarrassment of riches!"

 

Wow! Talk about knock-my-socks-off! Regardless of what hangs on my wall or how much (or little) I have on the bank's balance sheet, my greatest "possessions" are the hearts of friends and family that I love. These are the ones enriching every moment of my life!

I hope the gravity of this simple maxim will seep down deep, and refresh your soul today. Take a moment and recount the value of your specific relationships. Then, the next time you see them, let them know, "You are treasure to me!"