Thursday, December 15, 2011

Reckless Abandon 2012



Reckless Abandon 2012
LifeBridge Church’s Mission Trip to Ethiopia
February 16-26


In February, I am going on a mission trip to Ethiopia with a group of people from my church LifeBridge as well as two terrific gal pals from up north.

1 Peter 4:10 "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace."

We will get to serve at an orphanage [or as one of the gal pals wonderfully expressed, “There will be lots of cuddling and playtime!”]. We will also be conducting a vacation Bible school, ministering in a leper colony and training pastors in the area.

John 12:26 "Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me."

Each person on the team has been working hard to raise his or her support. To help raise further funds, T-shirts and sweatshirts are being offered for sale designed by one of the team members Erica and daughter, Nichol. The sale begins today, and they are really nice running true to size AND they look and feel GREAT!

Men/Women T-shirts – Gray/Navy -- $25.
Men/Women Sweatshirts – Gray/Navy -- $40.


Money raised will be to help the team with expenses like airfare, but also with needs for the people we serve in Ethiopia like clothing, school supplies, health and medical supplies, toys.

FRONT READS: RECKLESS ABANDON


BACK READS: "...in the same way, faith by itself that does nothing is dead." James 2:17



If you would like to support us in this way, visit:

LifeBridge Church and click on “give” which will take you to paypal. Make a note that it is for Reckless Abandon 2012 and message me here on FB as to size and color.

Grateful to the LORD! To Him be the Glory!

Ephesians 2: 10 "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"No Religious Affiliation"

Today at Largo HS the 10th grade students in the class where I help out, were doing a standardized test. On page one, they were to give info about themselves including their “religious affiliation”. There were 40 religious choices!!!! Now, I did not see all their papers, but from peeking, I saw several mark #40 – “No religious affiliation.” The papers I could see, and no marks in the little circle indicating someone knew “Jesus.”

Heartbroken and close to tears…until I heard one teen, Jessica say: "I love talking and learning about different religions" to which I smiled and responded, “I love talking and learning about Jesus.” Didn’t give the gospel, but a seed.

Please pray for the harvest at Largo HS. Please pray for me as His ambassador.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

PEDAL

"As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God." 1 Peter 4:2

God's own are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them [Ephesians 2:10]. That verse in Ephesians is crazy!! The CREATOR of the universe, the Alpha and the Omega, the KING of Kings has works -- good works -- for me and others of His own to do. How crazy is that?!! It boggles the mind. Some years ago, I read a quote -- "Watch to see where God is working and join Him in His work." Crazy!!

Joining GOD? That is like a 4 year old joining Da Vinci as he painted the Mona Lisa, or a construction worker assisting Dr. DeBakey [the great father of modern cardiovascular surgery] while performing heart surgery. Crazy that God calls us to join Him in kingdom work, and yet He does.

Ten years ago, the King brought a young Pastor and his wife [Joe & Rachel Walser] to my then church in New Jersey. From the very first moment to use an old idiom, I knew "I was to hitch my horse to that wagon." God was working in and through them to advance His kingdom, and I wanted to join in. God, by His own plan, had it in mind that a then middle aged couple would co-labor with Joe & Rachel. Crazy!! And now as a senior couple, we got to join in planting a church with them here in Florida. Larry and I get to serve in so many ways here ALONG WITH alot of peculiar people (See 1 Peter 2:9) who we are crazy for, and it is CRAZY, absolutely crazy. I like to say, we get to do what angels long to do.

"All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan. The length of our days is seventy years, or eighty, if we have the strength yet their span is but trouble and sorrow for they quickly pass, and we fly away." Psalm 90:9-10

I just turned 60, and God has prepared another work for me in which to join Him [I know, crazy!] - I get to go to Rwanda

It takes my breath away. While writing this, I was reminded of a story... posted here which describes, I think, God's plan for His own.

A Bike Ride with God - Author Unknown

At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there, sort of like the president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn't know him. But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal.

I don't know just when it was that He suggested that we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring but predictable ... It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds, and it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal." I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are You taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I say, "I'm scared," He'd lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, my Lord's and mine. And we're off again. He said, "Give the gifts away, they're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him at first, to be in control of my life, I thought He would wreck it; But He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages. I'm learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ. And when I'm sure I just can't do anymore, He smiles and says ... "Pedal."


I love that story.... I love Jesus! So grateful that He does crazy things!

This Saturday, July 16th (returning August 2nd), I travel to Africa. I covet your prayers as I serve there. Of late, my mind has been on the times of Noah, before the flood when people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until Noah entered the ark, and the people were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. People busy with life, not expecting that Jesus could come back at any time. (Matthew 24:36ff). Please pray that I take every opportunity to witness. That God open for me a door(s) while traveling for the word, "to declare the mystery of Christ,...that I may make it clear which is how I ought to speak. That I walk in wisdom ..making the best use of the time. Pray that my speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that I may know how I ought to answer each person."

I believe it is God's plan for me to serve, here in Florida with LifeBridge Church and to go and serve in Rwanda at this time with the Rafiki Foundation, and in every place to take every opportunity to witness [Colossians 4:2-6]

To God be the Glory!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Story (Barbara Hoffman)

The Story (Barbara Hoffman)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Deuteronomy 13

Deuteronomy 13 “If a prophet arises among you … and says ‘Let us go after other gods…and let us serve them’, you shall not listen…. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve HIm and hold fast to Him.”

Amazing sermon last night, and thinking and praying about all those idols that I think I have to have in order to be satisfied, and I cry. I cry alot.

This morning I was reading Deuteronomy 13 and of course it’s about idols!! [more tears]. It’s a warning against false prophets who preach that it is aok to serve idols. DON’T LISTEN TO THEM. God’s people were to walk after the LORD alone with every fiber of their being. God’s chosen people were to listen and obey HIS voice, serve HIM alone, hold fast to HIM. Prophets who preached otherwise, and pointed people to idols, were to be killed for idolatry was rebellion against the LORD.

In that same chapter, if even family members entice others in the family towards “idolatry”, drawing the chosen away from the LORD [called “wickedness”], they too would be killed.

God has not changed…. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. And so I wonder about the “prophets” or pastors in the pulpits today…. those who through their sermons point their flocks to idols [albeit ‘good things’ some of them] but idols. Idols of prosperity, putting family before God, sex, health, financial stability, success, education, religious works devoid of the cross, spiritual experiences etc. Those who preach it is fine to “worship a good thing as a god thing” - are preaching rebellion against God. [btw, back in the OT God’s people were under a pure theocracy, so I am not suggesting stoning today].

I think about the leadership here at LBC, and am thankful to the LORD for that leadership. They never waver and faithfully, courageously preach the gospel warning the flock about the idols in our lives and preach repentance, and destruction of those idols. I am reminded of Titus 2:15 “Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

As I think on Deut. 13, [causing more tears], I began to wonder if as a “family member” at LifeBridge, “Have I, by my words or actions enticed sisters, brothers to the ‘good things’ — to idolatry?” I grieve if I have. I repent if I have. Had I lived in BIble times, I too would have been worthy of execution.

Last night, we sang an old hymn:

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.

Refrain

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.

Refrain

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.

Refrain

View Him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies.
On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?


Refrain

Lo! th’incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood:
Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.

Refrain

Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.

Though I should be executed, Jesus was executed on my behalf and Jesus ALONE is my LORD and He will keep me so that I will never perish. He continues to intercede on my behalf. It is in Him that I will love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul. In Him, I shall walk after the Lord my God and fear Him and keep His commandments and obey His voice and in Him, I shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. And when I fail which is often, I will repent and He will complete the good work that He began in my life. In Him I will persevere to the end. Thank you LORD Jesus.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Return of Jesus?

My plans this weekend are fishing at Honey Moon Island with some gal pals on Saturday morning [yes women can catch fish] and on Sunday I am going to a shower for my friend Amanda who will be getting married in June. Sunday evening, I am planning on attending church. But I heard judgment is on May 21st which would disrupt any plans, mine and everyone else. There are those who believe Jesus is returning on the 21st.

Frankly, I don't believe Jesus is returning this Saturday, and I am not here to debate those who do. I believe it is most likely that I will be worshipping with my LifeBridge Church family on Sunday evening. But I could not pass up the opportunity to comment on the return of our LORD and KING Jesus who will return one day. Jesus in Acts 1, we read, said:

"'It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority (that is the specific years or dates which some in all ages try to predict of the Second Coming of Christ). But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.'"


Jesus IS coming back.
When?
I don't know.

And though no one knows when - two things for sure: First, He is returning. And secondly, even if He tarries, anyone reading this blog will be dead within the next 50-60 years anyway, "Therefore...be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure...."

Until He returns, He has given His followers a mission: to be His witnesses. He has even given us the title of ambassadors and as such we proclaim His gospel message.

The Gospel..the Good News:

Jesus created you (John 1:1-4). He is Creator, King..owns it all.
The Bible tells us that all things are created by Him and for Him and for His good pleasure (Col. 1:16-17; Phil. 2).

BUT all of man has rebelled against God choosing instead to live life as our own ruler (Romans 3:23) with tragic results - "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23)

➢ WAGES - that is earned
➢ DEATH in the Bible is not only physical death, but separation from God.

THE GOOD NEWS - the GOSPEL (the message we get the privilege to proclaim as followers of Christ) - THOUGH THE JUST DUE WAGES OF OUR SIN IS SEPARATION FROM A HOLY GOD, “... THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE…through our LORD JESUS CHRIST!

God became a Man -- the unique God Man of the world - Jesus (Phil. 2:5-11)
JESUS – the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” [worthy sacrifice], the Lion of Judah [the rightful Ruler] (Col. 1:15-20; 1 Peter 3:18; Revelation; Hebrews; Romans; 2 Cor. 5:21)
JESUS – who made atonement [paid ransom for His subjects]
JESUS - in so doing conquered death, was raised, and now is seated on His throne ruling His subjects in the heavenlies.
JESUS – has reestablished in His subjects His kingdom.

Those who have put their faith in Him – (and only able to do so by His grace) - now live out “life” as a witness for our King until His return [2 Cor. 5:17; 1 Peter 1:3; Romans; 1 Cor. 15]

And how then shall we live? Read Col. 2:1-15...

....and so while fishing, going to wedding showers, attending church but do so as His ambassadors, on mission, seeking the lost - always.

Matthew 28:18–20: "And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Thank you LORD JESUS that you made it possible, by your death and on our behalf and in our place, to be reconciled to God, and to know and enjoy you forever.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rafiki Foundation


"As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God." 1 Peter 4:2

Back in the '80's at a Bible Study Fellowship Retreat (I think it was in March) I heard for the very first time the vision of Rafiki. Rosemary Jensen the Executive Director of BSF at this retreat poured out this amazing plan from God on the care of widows and orphans. I was spellbound. I remember too Janet Pinkney, in charge of the Children's Department at the time (if you don't mind me going down memory lane) was "assisting" Rosemary with her red laser pointer, pointing out the different buildings that would be on site, while Rosemary spoke. Not distracted with the "pointer" poor Janet did not know how to use (we all laughed) my heart was beating. I wept, and I prayed, "How could I be involved? Commit to prayer? For sure. Give? Absolutely...but LORD one day, could I go? Can I go LORD? Send me."

I visited the Rafiki headquarters years later in San Antonio and not to many months ago, I got to visit Rafiki now with headquarters in Florida, my new home state. I will be leaving on July 16, 2011 for two weeks for Rwanda. I get to go!! I will be a pair of hands to the Rafiki overseas staff [ROS], Mike & Vicky Koch. Vicky was at that same retreat, and she and hubby, Mike have been serving with Rafiki for YEARS now!

This past year, I have been hit like never before by the overwhelming number of widows and orphans. In Africa alone, I read AIDS results in over 45 million orphans in Africa. Countries are losing their civil servants, their doctors, their professionals -- dying due to the disease. In one region, where they lost 300 teachers in one year, 260 of them were due to AIDS. Zambia is losing 2,000 teachers a year, many because of AIDS and they are only able to replace them at a rate of 1000 teachers a year.

When asked how he copes with having so few resources to tackle immense suffering of orphans, Dr. Bob Jensen (husband of Rosemary) responded: "Would I stand back and say, "I can't save them all? No. I would save what I can. We must not be overwhelmed by our sorrow for so many, that we don't help the few we can. You save what you can, you reach out for even more, and you encourage others to do the same."

Rafiki Foundation is on a rescue mission - to rescue at least a few thousand orphans from among the millions. Rafiki has established Rafiki Training Villages in ten African countries...deliberately located in the poorest English-speaking countries in Africa [Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia]. The villages have living facilities for 180 orphans in each village:

--To rescue them from physical death by starvation, disease and neglect.
--To rescue them from spiritual darkness by teaching them to know the God of the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ.
--To give them a quality academic education, life skills and vocational skills and
--To try to motivate them to lead Africa's next generation.

...with the hope and prayer of Rafiki they will become Christian leaders in politics, education, business, science and the arts...and to be leaders in their homes and in their churches.

I read recently a quote from Richard Stearns, President of World Vision, "THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY I KNOW TO REPLACE A TEACHER, A FARMER, OR A NURSE: YOU MUST START WITH A CHILD AND CAREFULLY NURTURE AND TEACH THEM UNTIL THEY BECOME WHAT GOD HAS GIFTED THEM TO BE. I'M AFRAID WORLD VISION KNOWS NO SECRET SHORTCUTS FOR THAT."

That is Rafiki.

Is your heart beating? Would you pray for Rafiki and me too? As in all service for the Lord, the primary need is prayer.





Rafiki #1963/Barbara E. Hoffman
The Rafiki Foundation
Attn: Shirley Harbrick, Missions Dept.
PO Box 1988
Eustis FL 32727

www.rafikifoundation.org

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Corrie Ten Boom and the Rapture.flv

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Intimacy




"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20

There's a precious little girl whose name is Abby Walser. Larry and I love her mom, dad, brothers and sisters whom we have known for about a decade. We love them to the moon and back! Abby is the newest member of the Walser family recently adopted from Ethiopia. [By the way -- she sure can eat like a Walser too].




For me, spending some time with Abby has been a delight as I really want to get to know her, and the only way I think to get to know someone is spending time together. So I cherish those times with her. Abby calls me "Ba-ba-raa" [rolling her "r's"]. Her facial expressions, the way she tilts her head, the "Ethiopian nod" make me smile. She is very expressive, and you actually see her thinking! She's also a little bossy, and likes to take the lead not slipping her hand into mine, but rather grabbing my hand with her little hand!!!

Larry while loving the entire Walser family, but feeling disconnected from little Abby having not spent one on one time with her. Today though - we spent time together with Abby going to Walsingham Park. We went up and down the slide a gazillion times, pushed her on a swing another gazillion times, rode on a "dinosaur", went to the botanical gardens where we saw tropical fish, cracking up because Abby thought we could eat them [again, food!!] Throughout the morning, Abby was calling [or more like yelling] "Ba-ba-raa" "MrLaarr-ry." But at one point while calling MrLaarr-ry, it sounded more like "Laallipop" [lollipop]. We all cracked up, and more so as it showed in her face, Abby's realization that she was calling him "Lollipop" [again -- the food thing]. Well it stuck -- Mr. Larry is now Lollipop, and he loved it!! He (and she) feel connected. Larry's heart has been pierced. He loves her to the moon and back!


After bringing Abby home....Lollipop, I mean Larry, and I talked about how much fun we had but also how he feels closer with her having spent time together. It brought to mind Revelation 3:20 - "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." There are some who suggest this is an evangelistic appeal to non-Christians to open the door of their hearts and invite Jesus in to save and forgive them...but others, one being John Piper who says...

...this "is addressed to lukewarm Christians who think they have need of nothing more of Christ. It is addressed to churchgoers who do not enjoy the riches of Christ or the garments of Christ or the medicine of Christ because they keep the door shut to the inner room of their lives. All the dealings they have with Christ are businesslike lukewarm dealings with a salesman on the porch.


But Christ did not die to redeem a bride who would keep him on the porch while she watched television in the den. His will for the church is that we open the door, all the doors of our life. He wants to join you in the dining room, spread a meal out for you, and eat with you and talk with you. The opposite of lukewarmness is the fervor you experience when you enjoy a candlelit dinner with Jesus Christ in the innermost room of your heart. And when Jesus Christ, the source of all God's creation, is dining with you in your heart, then you have all the gold, all the garments, and all the medicine in the world.


How do you buy gold when you're broke? You pray, and trust the promise: ‘I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.’ There is an intimate communion and fellowship with Christ which many of us . . . need to seek in earnest prayer. Because when he dwells in the innermost room of our affections, he brings the power we want more than anything – the power to conquer selfishness and live for others” (“How to Buy Gold When You’re Broke,” a sermon on Revelation 3:14-22, January 2, 1983, http://www.desiringgod.org/).


The tender, loving relationship that Larry and I eagerly desire and want to enjoy with Abby Walser is but a shadow of what the LORD Jesus' desires with His own!!





Monday, January 17, 2011

"I Got Nothing?"

[Referring to: Sermon of 01/16/2011 "It's Worth It" Note: There is an amazing video that ties into his message, that I hope you will watch. Check out my FB page as I could not post it here].



After last night's message from God through Pastor Joe Walser, I was thinking and initially challenged more along the lines of finances -- as we are making a shift at LifeBridge Church.


"What would You have us do, Lord?" I prayed, which led to "How can I repay you for all you have done?"


Ludicrous question as how does one repay the King of kings, Lord of lords, All-Sufficient One for

  • life
  • life eternal
  • joy indescribable
  • for unconditional love
  • the forgiveness of sins, for redemption
  • for ministry
  • for being with and serving alongside my husband and the saints
  • for Him using this sinful "clay pot"
  • for even the pressures, sorrow which btw He uses for His glory and my transformation
  • and for so much more
"How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me?" In and of myself all I can say, using an urban expression, is: I got nothing!


This morning, reading Psalm 116, I was encouraged that the psalmist asked the very same question --


"How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me?" v. 12


David wrote: "I will lift up the cup of my salvation"


I thought about that: lifting up the "cup of my salvation", a cup needing to be filled often, always by the LORD Jesus Himself. He is the Living Water, the only One who satisfies spiritual thirst. He will fill me -- not one time but again, and again, and again, and again and again, and again as I lift up the cup of my salvation to Him. No longer do I live, but Him...for He fills me with Himself...with His goodness for I got nothing.


v. 13 "Call upon the name of the LORD"

Finite Barbara calling on infinite LORD again, and again, and again, and again, and again....[not just in my quiet time but all the time, living moment by moment calling upon His name]. If I call upon His name in faith -- more of Him, less of me as His goodness will pour out of me. Oh to "shut my pie hole" and first call upon the name of the LORD before I speak or act. Too often foulness pours out of me because I neglect to call on Him...because I don't lift up the cup of my salvation.


Surely that is one reason why it is commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, to "pray without ceasing...this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." His command to me is to call upon the name of the LORD without ceasing because I got nothing.


v. 14 "I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of His people


In and of myself, I got nothing, I'm inadequate...BUT the Almighty, the All-Sufficient LORD will fill me as I lift up "the cup of salvation." As I "call on Him", then and only then can I fulfill my vows. In Him, by grace I can pay my vows by faith -- able to obey HIM!! In all matters by lifting up the cup of my salvation, calling on the name of the LORD again and again and again and again.....


...As I got nothing, and He is everything, I can only repay the LORD with His own goodness. I will not only then tithe but give generously [my initial question], but also to submit to my husband, submit to leadership, forgive others, repent of my sins, to love, be kind, be merciful, turn the other cheek,, to shut my pie hole, etc...to reflect Him again, and again, and again, and again, and again...