From my thoughts to yours…

Tricia’s weblog of life, love and just about everything else

“A New Book” April 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — tcedwards @ 12:03 pm

Okay….so I have decided I’m going to blog a little about what we are going through….days in the life of the Edwards.

Just recently, we have been “slapped” with a lawsuit because a former member in our church isn’t very happy that our church voted to merge with another church (even though we had a vote and it was unanimous). Call it control, call it CRAZY! Never mind that this verse is REALLY in the Bible…..

I Corinthians 6:1-8

And how dare you take each other to court! When you think you have been wronged, does it make any sense to go before a court that knows nothing of God’s ways instead of a family of Christians? The day is coming when the world is going to stand before a jury made up of followers of Jesus. If someday you are going to rule on the world’s fate, wouldn’t it be a good idea to practice on some of these smaller cases? Why, we’re even going to judge angels! So why not these everyday affairs? As these disagreements and wrongs surface, why would you ever entrust them to the judgment of people you don’t trust in any other way?

5-6I say this as bluntly as I can to wake you up to the stupidity of what you’re doing. Is it possible that there isn’t one levelheaded person among you who can make fair decisions when disagreements and disputes come up? I don’t believe it. And here you are taking each other to court before people who don’t even believe in God! How can they render justice if they don’t believe in the God of justice?

7-8These court cases are an ugly blot on your community. Wouldn’t it be far better to just take it, to let yourselves be wronged and forget it? All you’re doing is providing fuel for more wrong, more injustice, bringing more hurt to the people of your own spiritual family.

Why wouldn’t God want churches to come TOGETHER? You can read about this in an earlier blog. Hmmmmm….seems a little odd to me but hey, so is it in the life of “church” people. We tried to contact this person numerous times to talk about this and work out what the struggle was to no avail. What is very odd is that this person was totally “on board” in the beginning.   It’s a great church and we continue to see God’s blessing!!!!!

Well….now this person is suing us (my husband, the pastor), my sister, whom volunteered her time to record tithing and offering and take to the bank, AND suing me because I led worship every week.

Anyway….so this week a lot of things have transpired. We had a contract on the parsonage and a contract on a house that we were hoping to purchase (the parsonage is not enough room for our family of five and we have been cramped for 4 years). However, we have been very grateful for everything that God has blessed us with!

So I am explaining to my 14-year-old daughter that we have now lost the contract on the parsonage and the house we wanted to purchase because of this law suit. She starts crying and says “I hope they are happy”. We have explained to her what was going on so that she understands everything, well most everything.  Some things she is better off not knowing.  In that very moment I thought….aha…teaching moment (when really what my flesh wanted to do was open up a can of worms on somebody)!!!

First of all, I explained that a house is just a house. I started driving home the importance of her prayers! I explained that God hears her prayers as much as any adult’s prayers. I also talked to her about our faith…that even when things look very bleak God knows EVERYTHING and that when a door closes He ALWAYS opens another door. He knows the perfect situation and the perfect house and has perfect timing!!! I quoted the scripture referencing that God knows the desire of our hearts. I asked her what her desires were….she told me. Right then we prayed together that first of all God would touch her daddy’s mind and give him clarity and peace through all this muck that the enemy is trying to throw. Then we prayed for the people who are suing us that God would do a work in their life and then we prayed for our attorney and the judge that God would lead all of us in His ways and direct our steps as we endeavor to do His will….not people’s will! Thank you, Father for the faith of a 14 year old to strengthen me in that hour!

Every day I realize more and more that the things we get frustrated with, the things we worry over, and the things we wish were reality are just that…things! Our only heart’s desire is that whatever we do and whatever we say and the condition of our heart is pleasing to God.  No matter what we face in this crazy situation, we are 100% confident that God will receive the glory.  This doesn’t mean that everything in our lives will always go our way. It just means that God knows best.

I told Kevin that maybe we are going through this so that one day we can write a book? Hmmmm…..you just never know. We know we are in “training” for something bigger.  The thing that came to my mind yesterday through all my crying before the Lord was that Paul said he “gloried in all his afflictions”.  What we are going through is a walk in the park compared to what others have faced.

One day you may read about it! : )

Be blessed!

 

“I Am” April 14, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — tcedwards @ 5:03 pm

I am reading another book that we recently bought at a Catalyst Conference that we went to at Willowcreek. It is called “The Christian Atheist”. So far I can hardly put it down. It so describes so many of us and it is certainly challenging me to not just believe in God but to live like it more than ever!

The one part of this book that has just made a huge impact on me so far (not to mention a ton of other parts that have done the same : ) is in the chapter called….”When You Believe in God but Don’t Really Know Him”.  Psalm 9:10 is referenced…”Those who know your name will trust in you.”

Pastor Craig Groeschel asks the question….”What do you call God?” The way you address him or refer to him just might reveal the depth of your intimacy. Or lack of it.

I have grown up calling God…God, Jesus, Lord (and a myriad of other names). In the book it talks about how we know when people REALLY know us. When we get those calls from a credit company wanting us to open up an account they may mis-pronounce your name or call you Mrs. So and So. You know right away that they don’t know you or anything about you.  There are many people in my life that call me different things. There are people who call me Mrs. Tricia because they are my students at school and they know me a little. There are also people who call me Tricia because they are my friends. There are people who call me Trix, sister momma girlfriend, chicka, etc. because they may be my very close friends or my sisters. Then…there is my husband who will call me baby or some other endearing name that I love to hear and my children who call me mommy or mom (which I don’t like as much as mommy).

Just in the last 10 or 15 years have started to calling God, my FATHER and truly began to understand what that means. I think that in the past and when I grew up (in the church) I thought that was kind of corny for some reason. (Just being honest and transparent) Wow! Was I wrong. I believe what you call God really kind of tells the history of what your relationship has been with Him.

There is a sentence in this chapter that just sums it up for me…..”If you know God, you are likely to be far more specific with him, and the words you use will reflect your accurate understanding of Him.” I love that!!!! There have been times in my life that I have called Him my rock because He was strong when the winds of trouble came blowing….there were other times when I called Him my Comforter because He comforted me through some difficult moments, other times when I called Him my healer because he healed the broken heart when I was hurt, and yet other times when I’ve called Him my Provider because when it seemed like all hope was gone He came through and provided everything I needed!

He truly is my everything but most of all He is my FATHER! What do you call Him?

 

Sing! Sing! Sing! March 31, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — tcedwards @ 10:18 am

We have a little devotion book in our bathroom that have short devotions to read every day. hahaha! Great room to pick up and read throughout the day! : ) I actually took the book into the Living Room this morning and came across the following devotion. I LOVED it!

It is good to remember that the tea kettle, although up to its neck in hot water, continues to sing.

“Rejoice evermore. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”. I Thessalonians 5:16, 18.

An old legend tells how a man once stumbled upon a great red barn after wandering for days in a dark, overgrown forest. Seeking refuge from the howling winds of a storm that seemed to rage perpetually in the forest, he let his eyes grow accustomed to the dark and then, to his astonishment, he discovered that this was the barn where Satan kept his storehouse of seeds to be sown into human hearts. More curious than fearful, he lit a match and began to explore the piles and bins of seeds around him. He couldn’t help but notice that the containers labeled “seeds of discouragement” far outnumbered any other type of seed.

Just as the man had drawn this conclusion, one of Satan’s foremost demons arrived to pick up a fresh supply of seed. The man asked him why the great abundance of discouragement seeds. The demon laughed, “Because they are so effective and they take root so quickly!” The man then asked, “Do they grow everywhere?” At this the demon became sullen. He glared at the man and admitted in disgust, “No. They never seem to thrive in the heart of a grateful person.”

Be thankful for what you have, today. And trust the Lord to take care of what you don’t have.

Okay….going to return the book to the bathroom! : ) Have a blessed, abundant, faith filled day and keep singing!

 

The Heart of the Artist March 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — tcedwards @ 4:53 pm

Our worship team is reading a book called “The Heart of the Artist”. Once a week, on Sundays, we come together in between our 2 morning services to discuss what God is speaking to us through this book. So far we are only on the first chapter and it is so powerful.

One of the things read that has hit me is that when you’re in ministry, your character will be tested as it’s never been before. Your character will be challenged and stretched to the limit!! I love one of the quotes in this first chapter… “Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” The enemy will use whatever or whoever to try to destroy your character! However, the word says to pray for those people.

The book speaks about how David says in Psalms, “I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart”…. Integrity means doing what’s right in God’s eyes. Character is becoming who God made us to be, and integrity is doing what God wants us to do.  The Bible describes King Amaziah as a man who “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly” In other words, his actions were good but his attitude bad. People can tell when we’re being inauthentic. Being authentic includes being real with our struggles and shortcomings. We all have them.

One of the things that I pray continuously is ….”Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable unto You, Oh God.” and…”Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

It’s not always easy when you are accused of things that you truly know down deep in your heart aren’t true. This seems to happen to those in ministry quite a lot. Just recently I received one of the most heart-rending e-mail messages from someone who I love dearly. The reason that I would even mention this is that maybe someone would read this and be encouraged at what God has spoken through this situation in my life. This person said some really hurtful and mean things and really attacked the ministry that God has graciously given. Not only were these attacks towards me but also to my husband and our 14-year-old daughter. Even though I know these words would not be directed by God because He’s certainly not that way, I have asked Him to search me and make sure that what I do is only for His glory!! Paul tells us to grow and become what God wants us to be. However sometimes we’d rather judge others than evaluate ourselves.

The true test is how we respond to these character testings. This determines whether we will become artists of character and integrity. Testing brings GROWTH! God has spoken to me during this very trying time and what He has said is….Be still and know that I am God!!!! I am learning more and more to be still in Him…knowing that He is the author and finisher of my faith. Him and only Him! It doesn’t matter when people throw stones by words or actions….God is the one who gives and takes away! We can go through the fire and come out as pure gold! Tribulation, or testing, produces perseverance; and perseverance molds our character. I want to possess a Godly character please Him! My desire is to be effective in who God wants me to be whether I am on stage or in the grocery store. That is what He desires!

I’m coming back to the heart of worship and it’s all about HIM!

 

Quit Running HIS Errands! March 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — tcedwards @ 4:42 pm

Acts 17:24-29 (The Message)

“The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn’t live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn’t take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him! One of your poets said it well: ‘We’re the God-created.’ Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it?

I just love how The Message translation depicts this scripture! I believe it spoke to me today because I think of how many times we (myself included) run around trying to do God’s work. Just getting our busy little hands all up in His stuff. If we don’t do this or do that then He’s not capable? I know that’s not what we say or even think, but how we act. Many times I have asked myself…Is God not capable? Really? Is He not capable of working this out or taking care of this situation? Yet, we get so busy trying to do His work. I believe this is where chaos comes in.

He is there! He is our refuge in time of trouble! He loves to work in our lives, our families, our churches if we just let Him!

No need to grope around…He DOESN’T play hide and go seek with us. He DOESN’T play games! He’s just right there all the time waiting patiently for us to take our hands off so He can put His on!!!!

In Him we live, and move, and have our being!

Yesterday in church we sang that song….”Still”! As I was singing…His OVERWHELMING spirit just flooded my soul….the lyrics below say it all….

Hide me now under your wings
Cover me within your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father you are king over the flood
I will be still and know you are God

Find rest my soul in Christ alone
Know his power in quietness and trust


 

Ramblings…… February 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — tcedwards @ 7:19 pm

I’M BACK! At least for today! It has been basketball season around here and since my youngest daughter played and my oldest daughter cheered we have been pretty busy. I had a few moments before we head somewhere else tonight and thought I would relay what has been on my heart and mind.

At the end of November Kevin & I took a huge step and merged with another church in this area. It was a huge step for us because we gave up a lot but then again we have gained a lot. Over and over in the Bible I see where when God spoke to his leaders to do something it was usually for benefiting His people, not just the leader. The thought that kept coming to me was this…“Why is it more normal in our society that churches start out of disagreement and not churches coming together because of agreement?” I would really like to know the statistics of how many churches have started because a group of people didn’t like something (usually something that didn’t amount to a hill of beans) and so they went down the road and started their own church! So….if you can give me that, please let me know. : )

I may be weird but did God really mean for this nation to be so “churched?”. I guess what I mean by that is the walls of denomination. I just don’t see as an example in the Bible where there was a 1st, 2nd or 3rd Corinthian church. Now I don’t pretend to even be a Bible scholar but I do love to read it! I don’t know about your city but ours has a church on every corner. So if you decide you don’t like that a picture was taken down you can just skip on over to the next church for a while. Okay…off of that soap box!

We have had church members that went with what we felt God was doing and they have been so blessed and are happy! Then on the other hand….well….there are some that are mad! I’d say characters traits such as jealousy, control or fear have driven most of these people. There were some that just didn’t think the new church was for them and we parted ways with love and understanding. Our prayer for them is that they are also blessed and happy and that God’s Will be done in their lives in this new season. We have always been the type of people who are not threatened when people disagree as long as we display God’s character through it all. Of course, I am sooooo thankful that God put that little scripture in the Word that says…Be angry and sin not! LOL! It’s okay to be angry, it’s okay to be frustrated, it’s okay to disagree….BUT…the bottom line is that we are always to love, encourage and lift up as God commands us to do.

I was speaking with a first time church guest just the other day who was telling me that he had tried different churches because the last two churches he had gone to had major problems and ended up splitting. It really saddened me. What has happened and why can’t people just realize that church is not all about them? When it becomes about us then we are headed for trouble.

A saint once told me that it wasn’t “deep” enough for them in certain churches.  REALLY? You mean to tell me that your depth in Christ comes from an 1 1/2 hour service on Sunday??? WOW! You are in trouble sista/brotha! Our depth and relationship with Christ comes from our personal times with Him…Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday! In my view, Sunday go-to-meetin’ is a time that we all come together to celebrate Him! To be challenged in our walk and  motivated to go out and be a light to reach souls! Being a soul-winner doesn’t entirely mean that you have to wait to bring them to a service on Sunday morning. We need to be going OUT! GO ye therefore…..

You know what I think? Well I’m gonna tell you whether you wanna know or not….I think we waste so much time stewing over who is teaching, who is making decisions, who is singing, who is playing, who redecorated the fellowship hall and who didn’t that got mad, who moved a chair, whether southern gospel or black gospel is sung….on and on!

I believe we are living in the end times and there are people out there that have REAL issues and we need to be a light to them. And like one of our leaders spoke recently…go public with our faith! Live it! God help us to get our focus on YOU!

Okay…you can’t blame me…I haven’t written in a while so this is a lengthy on but one I hope that challenges your spirit! Get out there and be the light!

 

Are We Really One Body? Really? September 12, 2009

This is something that has been on my mind for quite some time and I’m just gonna write about it in my own personality and use my thoughts.

Kevin and I have been pastoring a church for 4 years. I know that is a very short time in comparison. In the last 4 years we have seen people come and go. There are times due to preferences, leadership styles, beliefs, etc. people will choose another direction after visiting. I am making it a personal choice that when someone chooses to leave our church for whatever reason that  it is not taken personally and I remember that no matter location, we are still in the body of Christ!!

Here’s where I have trouble…..IF we truly are one body of Christ why do we (of course not me or you) allow ourselves to love conditionally when it comes to where we attend church? “Oh, I don’t go there anymore so when I am in Wal-Mart I no longer have to be friendly, hug, smile, wave or stop and chat with the member of that previous church.” (That’s just an example)

I have a very good friend that years ago decided that it was time to move on from a church she had attended for a long time. She was relaying to me that there have literally been times when running into some from that church they have ignored her or maybe they will just wave and keep walking. However, when she was a member of that church it was hugging and loving when they would see each other out. I have had this experience myself. We have had people leave that when I see them they will hardly look me in the eye.

Why is it that we define ourselves in the Kingdom by what “building” we walk into on Wednesdays or Sundays? The Kingdom is so much bigger than this kind of narrow thinking. Are we not all working toward the same goal? Are we not all part of the body of Christ? Are you not my brother or sister no matter what church you attend?

Just last night a friend relayed that someone walked into a restaurant with a t-shirt on with the name of his church on it. Another person in the restaurant pointed to him and said…”Oh..you are that new church that is our competition now.”  WOW! We are not and should not be in competition with each other. We should rejoice when sinners come to God no matter where! Church is not a social event!

God help us and challenge us! Help us to break out of the boxes we have put You in. This is what church is….this is how church should be….  A church is not a building…We ARE the church. I have often said that if people and their positions weren’t so threatened, we would come together and work together more.

We are, in God’s eyes, the BODY! I don’t believe he sees us as “so and so” from “new church in town”, “so and so”, “baptist”, “so and so”, “pentecostal”, or “so and so”, “methodist”. He sees us all as His children and desires for us to do His work, be His vessels and seek His face…as ONE!