Plentiful

 

harvest field

 

Matthew 9: 36-38  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

Eastside Mission had it’s kick-off community block party outreach yesterday.  I must say it was absolutely amazing to be back on the streets after 8 months of “being still” and waiting on God.  During the 8 months God was growing, stretching and preparing us as He was about to expand our borders.  After 4 years of inner city street ministry on Main Street in Hamilton we thought God had really given us a HUGE mission field.  Now, reflecting back we realize that was our time of preparation.  

Back to yesterday, we had all kinds of fun activities for our introduction into the neighborhood. Pastor Felix and I spent the time by getting to know our neighbors, meeting their families and talking about their needs and the community needs.  At one point, I remember standing a midst all the busyness of serving and lovin’ on people I had a count of 175 people that we were blessed to serve this day.  We have approximately 1700 people within immediate radius, we passed out 560 total flyers and served 175 men, women and children.   As I’m standing there and process all of the conversations I was having, watching the kids playing I am feeling overwhelmed with all the needs.  Trust me, the needs in this area are many!  As we suspected there is a lot of heroin and addicted mommies and daddies.  Many generations living together in small houses and not being able to make the ends meet.  

For some time leading up to the kick-off and even more today we have been posting pictures, sharing needs, asking for volunteers and I’m starting to feel myself getting stressed about how in the world are we going to accomplish this.  This is 4x what we did and served over on Main Street.  God what in the world are you thinking?  So as I’m starting into that familiar tailspin I pick up my bible and I start reading about Jesus going into a city and Him telling the disciples that the harvest is plenty but the laborers are few.  Man God is so awesome 2,000 years ago He knew that there would be a great need for workers in the harvest field.  God knows we are facing many needs financial, volunteers, supplies, etc. but God ALSO knows that the laborers are few; therefore, as He is guiding me in His word to ask Him to send out workers into His harvest field.  Because bottom line – He has given Pastor Felix and I the charge of stewardship over this mission and building His church among these un-reached people and whether He sends us 2 or 20 we are going to praise Him, serve others and glorify our God as we pray for God to send the laborers.  Won’t you take a minute and join us in praying for this harvest field and the workers to serve in it!!  God might also be calling you to take a step out, he may be calling you to step outside of the church you are comfortable in with the friends and family you love and do some water walking!

Praise Him!!

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My Journey To Minimalism – Week 2

After a BIG downsize, clean and truck bed full in our Master Bedroom we were blessed enough to be able to take a couple of days and go stay at a respite for full-time ministry workers.  While we were there we had time to relax and reflect.  I’ve got to say after week 1 I am already feeling a little lighter and I can’t wait to give all my clothes away to people in our neighborhood in need.  I think a lot about those that we serve in this inner city ministry; the ones in jail and the ones in our back yard.  Three years of being on this mission field we have learned so many lessons and have grown closer and more connected to God.  I’ve prayed for the last two of the three years to be able to see the people through Jesus’ eyes and love them with a compassion that He has for them.

No matter if you are the C.E.O. of a major corporation, a ditch digger, a mega-church pastor or a homeless addict we are all God’s creation and people that Jesus died for and each individual life carries equal value and worth.  Through my prayers I have been able to see the needs around me.  During this journey I’ve been able to slow down enough to notice my community.  I’ve realized that my money and my stuff do not belong to me.  I am only the steward over the resources that God has allowed me to have.  I must admit as I’ve been clearing out the clutter I am ashamed at all of the “stuff” that I have.  When I think about all of the clothing and perfumes, nail polishes and even extra linens that I keep in my closet I realize that they add up to quite a lot of money that I invested in things.  How selfish of me to spend God’s money so unwisely.

Each day I pull into our cafe I am reminded of the condition of the battleground we are on.  We have so many broken people that we come into contact with each day and the deeper and longer we are in this community the more I want to be a voice for the homeless.  I want to remind people of the forgotten and fight for those who cannot.

You see, this journey that I’m on is not only about cutting the clutter out of my life but it is about living the life that I was created to live.  I believe that when Jesus saves us  He calls us to be His imagine bearers to a lost and dying world.  I have been asking myself if my savior didn’t even have a place to lay His head why do I deserve to have all this excess.  Honestly, for me, I am not able to live a life of excess; excess clothing, excess possessions, excess housing when my brothers and sisters are hungry and dying in the streets.

Please friends get this, I am not being dramatic I’m being real.  This year alone I can testify to several deaths resulting from drug, alcohol and poverty.  The time and money that God gives us each day is not to be squandered away.  We are His light in this dark world and perhaps instead of building bigger buildings to meet in our buying the newest fashion we could put shoes on some of our neighbors that don’t have any.  Yes, I have neighbors that do not have any shoes.  I’m working on that by the way.

If we would stop for just 15 minutes and go to God in prayer and ask Him, “How have I done with the time and money you have given me?  Have I spent the money the way you want me to?  Have I spent the last 24 hours doing what you would have me do? ”   Have we even slowed down long enough to realize that the only reason we are here right now is that God is allowing us to be.

I want you to be encouraged.  I hope that you are picking up what I am laying down here.  I am going through several life-changing lessons that I believe I am supposed to share.  There is someone God wants to be impacted by this other than myself.  I believe God is revealing himself to me more and more throughout this process.  I am earnestly seeking the simplicity that minimalism offers.  We are living in a culture that encourages selfishness and excessive consumerism.  I don’t want to drown in all of my possessions and I certainly don’t want to spend the time it takes to maintain them.  I want to live a life of passion and purpose that is bigger than me.

So for today, I have managed to clear out the excess in my bathroom closet and vanity area.  Be encourage friends.  God is all we need.  His values and His plans are all we need.  Praise Him!
Pantrybefore linen closetafter linen closet 2after linen closet 3 after linen closet before vanity drawer 4after vanity drawerbefore vanity drawer2after vanity drawer2before vanity drawer 3after vanity drawer3 before vanityafter vanity topUnder vanity

My Journey To Minimalism – Week One

bed area beforeMy nightstand beforehubby's nightstand beforecloset before 1closet befre

In process

 

 

 

 

Before Pictures

 

I began my search last year into a simpler, quieter, more peaceful life. I was determined to clear the clutter not only out of my house but out of my mind and life. I’ve read many books and blogs on this topic and as my search continued I knew I wanted . . . no, needed to become minimalist.

As I researched, I realized that I needed to slow down so

that first and foremost I could hear God’s voice. I was realizing that I lived a very busy life always running around trying to fit everything in and make it there on time. Well, that’s enough to wear a person out. As I went about my every day over commitment I began to notice all the clutter around me and all the noise going on in my head.

As I dug deeper I began realizing that minimalism goes against our consumer driven hectic lifestyles that living the American Dream encompasses. We are bombarded with advertisements and infomercials telling us we need to purchase the latest and greatest products to make us happy. So in an effort t

o accumulate more we work more hours to make more money because, after all, that is where happiness can be found; right. WRONG!

Now, you may be thinking, “does this mean that you will be living only out of what you can fit in a suit case?” For some, perhaps but for me it means that I am in pursuit of a much simpler, quieter and clutter free life.

I would love for you to join me on my journey whether in reading about it or finding a way that min

imalism will work for you. I can tell you I am excited about where this path will lead. So, with that said I’m jumping in with both feet . . . Here I go.

The first area in my physical living space I have decided to de-clutter

is my bedroom. My bedroom is my sanctuary, my peaceful private place. However, these days it’s been so crammed full of stuff that my closets are busting at the seams and my dresser drawers are overflowing. My first area that I tackled was my closet and boy oh boy did I have a crammed packed mess. During this week when all was said and done I had boxed up a total of 13 totes full of clothes that I had not even worn in years but, hey, it may come back in style or I may get back down to that size. Um Nah. I can tell you that I am looking forward to mornings free of the stress of trying to figure out what to wear.

This particular part of the process took me exactly one week and several passes through to get it to where I feel ligh

ter. The first phase was pulling out the obviously outdated and just plain ugly clothes. You know, the ones you got for a bargain and couldn’t pass up but never wore. For me, this was the easiest phase. A couple days later, I looked again and really took stock in what actually still fits me. I decided that it does me no good to have smaller sizes for my weight loss journeys and the larger sizes for when I eat too many gobstoppers and coca-cola. So, I toss aside all the clothes that did not fit me right now today. The last phase I must say was the most difficult for me and that was to narrow down my clothing choices just because I have too man

y clothes. The end result, I have so many totes for women’s clothes in a plethora of sizes that I am giving away to the local commun

ity that we serve. That my friends makes it all worthwhile.

Now, for the nightstands, over the years I have managed to turn a total of four drawers into junk drawers. If I was reading a book, I would shove it in the drawer. If I was keeping a journal or three or four it would go in the drawers. Oh, and let’s not forget all the lotions. I think I had a different bottle for everyday of the week. And the pens that I discovered, needless to say I will keep the café in supply for at least the next year.

Last but not least I decided that I needed to part with some of my much loved knick knacks t

hat I have sitting all over the place. Even though they match my furniture and are just too stinkin’ cute the only role they play is dust collector. So, I picked a couple of my favorites and I am goin

g to donate the rest.

A week, a good dusting and vacuum later I have a clutter free oasis. A quiet place where I can come to at the end of the day, snuggle tightly under the covers and let out a nice comfortable sigh.

Next week I will be moving on to the second area of the house where I spend most of my time, the living room.

Before you leave make sure you check out my before and after pictures then leave me a comment to keep me going on my journey of minimalism. Friends, good night and God Bless.

After Pictures

Bedroom 1
Bedroom 2shoe storage aftercloset floorCloset 2 after bedroom after 3

Hubby's nightstand aftercloset 1d

Declutter

As the Christmas season approaches us it can be a very stressful time.  Most of the time we overspend, over commit and run ourselves ragged until we hit the bed at night exhausted.  Why not start this holiday season and start making the changes in your life. Show that you care for the home God has blessed you with by cleaning out the clutter.  Appreciate the people He has surrounded you with by spending quality time with them, stop and actually “listen” to what is going on in their lives; be present.  Be good stewards with the income He allows you to make, remember everything belongs to Him so ask Him before you spend His money.

Ok so dear friends, for those of you who are ready to join me in a true “Awakening the journey begins today.  The journey begins with you and God.  It is important that we spend some time alone with God today.  Ask him what His priorities are for your life.  Ask Him what activities or appointments are not necessary for you to be involved in; even if they are good.   Allow Him to begin to set our schedules and priorities for us.  As we’ve been learning this past week in our women’s group, we exist to glorify God.  That’s our purpose, to glorify God.  Take a good inventory of your life from how you spend our money, how you spend your time and what relationships may be unhealthy for you.   Do your life and the way you spend your time, your money and your relationships glorify God? 

I encourage you to start journaling through this process as well.  Journaling is an invaluable way to organize our thoughts, look back over our accomplishments and recognize our personal development. 

First step:

  • Grab a journal – this does not have to be anything fancy, just a regular notepad will do. 
  • Sit down with God and spend at least 10 minutes in prayer and meditation and take the time to silence the noise around you so that you can really hear God.  

In your quiet time today, please read Psalm 139: 13-16.  Read it quietly then read it out loud.  Spend time with God meditating on these verses.   We can see in these verses alone that God cares so deeply about us that we are marvelously made.   Pay special attention to verse 16, “You saw me before I was born.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”  Friends, God created a baby book for you!  He planned out your life and recorded every moment of it.  Isn’t that just like a parent; proud of their precious creation given to them by God?  When our precious babies are born we start planning their lives, we have hopes for their futures and God has those same desires for our lives; He makes plans for us.  Now, it’s up to us to make sure our lives line up with God’s plans for us.  Jeremiah 29:11.

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