Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Have the Right! Period?

I have the right to honk at people, don’t do stupid things.  I have the right to complain about the waitress and not tip her, she did a lousy job.  I have a right to let the football official know he is incompetent, dude is not fit to ref a little league football game. It’s my right!  I have the right to tell my co-worker her decisions are idiotic, they are.  I have the right to be curt with that old guy, life slows down for nobody pal.  I have the right to slam that guy’s views on Facebook, don’t won’t to be criticized, don’t post that garbage about government – matter of fact, just don’t post anything.

I have the right to get mad when I was the first at the bus stop, and four people cut in front of us and packed the bus to the extent that Danielle, Gideon, and I couldn’t get on it.  We had to wait another 20 minutes for the next bus, ghhh the humanity Steaming mad.  

I DID have these rights to express my opinions, unfiltered if need be. Then I made the decision to deny myself, pick up my cross daily, and follow Jesus.  The funny thing is, that if anybody professes to be a Christian, follow Jesus, have a relationship with Him, be saved, be a new creation, or to be Reborn, then he or she is stating to have made the same decision as me (at least by Jesus’ expectations in Luke 9:23).

The Lord is teaching me more lessons in Portugal then I care to admit. The glaring lesson is that my identity with Christ causes me to forfeit many of my self-entitlement claims.  When Paul mentions our ‘large cloud of witnesses,’ the guy is not kidding.  This is what I have observed. I become frustrated and react negatively at someone for trying to take advantage of some ‘right,’ and my reaction affects a relationship. It can be the relationship with that particular person, or someone who observes the interaction.  Either way, my ‘right’ puts the focus on me and not furthering God’s Kingdom. 

Let me give an example I see on FB. Let’s get into your wheelhouses Smile. I know people have a right to express their opinions on political issues.  The problem I observe is that many professing Christians become contradictions of Jesus’ mission when they indulge in their rights. Sometimes we get so upset, that we express disgust at another side’s idiocy; and we forget that the main goal as Christians is to win people to Christ, not to decimate the other’s argument on foreign policy.  Some Christians write some of the meanest posts. Why? Because we feel entitled to our opinion.  We have always been told we have the right… Other times, Christians become so passionate in their responses on issues like gay rights or abortion, that we don’t respond in love and gentleness. I have no problem with a person speaking truth.  Matter of fact, I appreciate it.  Jesus was full of truth as well, but also grace (John 1:14).  So Confused smile, when posting on FB, how do we justify looking past these words, “The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach,and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:24-25)?

Let me conclude with a struggle in my life with regards to forgoing rights.  I am very passionate when I play football. Sometimes, the referees in Portugal and I disagree about a call.  Sometimes, they are extremely incorrect in their understanding of the rules.  Sometimes, I feel the necessity to express my opinion on such errors (for the record, the dudes here have improved tremendously in just a year’s time. I really appreciate their growth and desire to get better).  It took a long time, and I still have the occasional moment, but I am learning to abandon my right to be upset with the refs.  It’s amazing how much my interaction with the refs and the other teams has improved since I resolved to deny myself on this issue. LOL, now I know I will be tested on this issue next game Sick smile.

CHALLENGE: Where is it that you need to focus more on denying your ‘rights’ so that you have opportunities to further God’s Kingdom?

  • See Danielle’s blogs for our prayer needs.  The Lord is starting to open doors that were previously closed. I am fired up to see what happens next, bwhahahahaha Shifty.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Raising Kids on a Football Field


This past weekend, our American football team hosted a camp with a group of American football coaches from Georgia. Jesus + Football + Southern accents = the perfect mission trip. During the camp, the coaches were able to share their faith through testimonies and devotionals in between drills and at the end of the day. They also hosted a Q&A Bible study, where two of the players were able to share their testimonies, and others were able to ask questions about the Bible and about Christianity.

This is our mission field. God has called us to Portugal to work along side an American football team to proclaim His name and to serve the team by teaching them about football and building relationships with them.  

As a mom of an active toddler, this can be difficult at times. Especially since my son is as passionate about football as the guys on the team…if not more so – it’s a challenge to keep him off the field! Add to that, the fact that I am extremely pregnant at this point (almost 8 months!), and it is getting difficult to chase him around and occasionally hold him so he won’t go play with the big boys. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Part of our ministry, as believers and as parents, is to show others how a family is supposed to function biblically. (Our first response to a non-believer’s question is always, “What does the Bible say about that?”) So, our kids play a major role in our ministry. We love doing things as a family, and that includes Gid and mommy going to daddy’s football games, practices, and camps. At DSCF4321this last camp, because of my size and diminished capacity for air and overall stamina, daddy took a larger role in watching Gideon. Mommy also learned to let go a little, and she let little man run free (within reason) among the guys.


They love Gideon. (What’s not to love?) Part of that is the Portuguese culture – they love kids. I think the second part is, he’s the coaches son. We practice with the team, go out to eat with the team, invite players over to our house, and really just try to be a part of their lives. Plus, he really likes football. And I am very grateful for them.

In American culture, so often parents are made to feel like kids should be hidden away and not involved in adult events. If you can’t get a baby sitter, you shouldn’t go. Kids are seen as a distraction and annoyance. Even in church. (Now, while I am a big fan of nurseries, and have worked in many Church nurseries and Sunday school classrooms, sometimes as a mother, you don’t feel comfortable leaving your kids with strangers. But that’s another topic.) All around the world, kids are seen as a part of life. This is something I’ve really had to adjust in my way of thinking. My current church does not have a nursery, so David and I take turns taking him out if he can’t sit still in church. Or, thankfully, we have a few women in our church who will watch him so we may enjoy the service together. I see these as mini dates. I love this part of the culture where random strangers will give your kid a banana on the bus so he won’t be fussy. Or a stranger will offer you a ride home so you don’t have to DSCF4304walk with your toddler in the rain. Or a big football player will make friends with your two year old and play with him during practice.  

As a mom, this can be difficult. As I said, this was the first time I did not hover and just let him roam during the camp. He didn’t get hurt. He didn’t get trampled. He didn’t get in anyone’s way. He got muddy. He made friends. He had a blast! Now, don’t get me wrong. This was not the first time to go to a camp or anything like that. Gideon has pretty much grown up on the football field. Last year, though, he couldn’t really walk, and was much easier to manage.

600526_10100396493725578_683877473_nAs you can see from this adorable picture taken last year.

Being a mom on the mission field, or anywhere for that matter, is tough. Juggling ministry with raising your kids is something that I struggle with daily. I sometimes envy moms in the states who have Mother’s Day Outs available and Bible studies with other moms and have grandparents nearby or friends who will watch your kids at the drop of a hat so you and hubby can go on a date. (If you have these luxuries, don’t take them for granted!) I have asked many moms on the mission field, “How do you do it? How do you raise your children while doing ministry full time?” The answer is always the same. “Only by the grace of God.” I am so thankful that my God loves children. I am also so thankful that He has called us to the mission field, and that that mission field (right now) involves football.

Would you pray for us in these areas:

- That we would raise our kids to know and love Jesus.

- That we would show others Jesus through not only our words, but through our family life and how we love each other.

- For the people of Portugal to hear the Word and trust in Jesus as their Savior.