Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Finding Joy

Wow - it's been a while since I've added a post to Travelling Parry's.

It's been a tough year losing my grandparents and my aunt, walking through the process of Liam being diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder, having Joelle's heart checked due to a murmur, as well as seeking God for the shift in seasons in our life. Through it all, however, we have found joy.

Our pastor, Bruce Frank, just finished a series on Joy from the book of Philippians. Each of the messages were so relevant to my life at that very moment and gave me ample "food" to chew on during the week.

Here are a few highlights...

~ Phillipians 1:12-19 - Even though Paul was in chains, he counted it joy. I can safely say that most of us would find ourselves depressed and grumbling that we were bound and not able to experience freedom. Paul found a freedom in his chains and counted it joy. He rejoiced that each day he had a new audience in the form of guards to hear the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ. They couldn't go away, they had to stay with him, it was a captive ear. The point of this sermon was that no one can steal your joy, only you can give it away. And even when times are tough or look different that you thought they would, you can still choose joy. Romans 8:28 - and we know that ALL things work together for good for those who love God. The choice you have to make is that He will bring the situation to a conclusion that brings Him glory. Do I want to be part of that and find joy in the process?

~ Phillipians 2:3-7 Do nothing with selfish ambition (building yourself up at the expense of someone else) for if you act like this it is a recipe for disaster! But, with humility of mind, let each esteem others better than himself. Some Level 5 leaders were interviewed and the greatest common thread between them all was that they didn't like attention towards themselves but wanted the good of the company to prevail. See, God's Plan A is humility (voluntarily) which unfortunately makes His Plan B is humiliation. It's so easy to become haughty and think that we deserve things or earned it. But if we look at the cross and really examine the fullness of what He did, how can we be so arrogant? We need to take off selfishness/arrogance and choose to pursue selflessness which produces joy. A great quote from the message is you are as deep theologically as the last person you served.

~ Phillipians 4:2-8 Be anxious for nothing but in prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Is God or your circumstances bigger? In life, we need to take some steps, but leave the rest up to Him. There are just some things we can not control. A great prayer to pray is God I can't control this and I'm sorry I tried - casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Get away from the anxiety and run back to intimacy with Him.

~ Phillipians 4:10-14 Learning to be content. In a world that teaches us to covet (wanting things bad enough in the wrong time and for the wrong reason, saying God's provision is not enough), it is challenging to be content (a satisfaction of God's adequate provision for my life right now). Learn to say I'm satisfied with God's provision for my life right now. Break the cycle of coveting and come to the realization that that you are a steward and not the owner. Be content.

"Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day."

-Henri Nouwen

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Square Foot Garden

When i was in Bangladesh in 2000, I was told that the country was so poor due mostly to the fact that they don't have any exports. I was also told that they had plenty of land to plant, but they didn't cultivate the land very effectively. Since that time, I have wanted to learn how to garden. I don't have a very green thumb, but I'm going to give it my best effort. Plus, I just love fresh veggies and fresh herbs for cooking.

My friend, Tara, told me about the All New Square Foot Gardening book by Mel Bartholomew. He uses a super mix of ingredients in the soil that enables you to plant in a smaller space. The ingredients are compost - to keep plants nourished, peat moss - to keep soil moist and vermiculite - to keep soil airy. So, the idea is that with these 3 components, roots don't need to go as deep. Therefore, the garden is only 6" deep! The garden can include a bottom which means it can be made anywhere (on a veranda, patio, deck, roof for those overseas or in cities, etc.) The other cool thing about this garden is that you can grow vine crops vertically saving heaps of room using a simple trellis.

I decided to construct the box out of plastic fencing due to the fact that I built it against the house (don't want termites!!). I'm doing a 2'x8' with 16 squares. Here is what I'm planting... tomatoes (round and roma), cucumbers, peppers (red and green), yellow squash, corn, oregano, basil, chives and some flowers to keep the bugs away. Pretty impressive, hey?!

I'm looking forward to seeing the garden grow and flourish. Maybe someday, I can use this design overseas. YUM!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The GO Concert/Alive Launch

Tonight we launched The GO Concert and Lucas' new album Alive. It was a great turn out and a huge success. We're so excited to be meshing music, media and production to bring forth the call to live a missional life.

To learn more about The GO Concert go to www.thegoconcert.com.
Here are some pics of the event...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Day of Discovery

This past Saturday, Lisa, Drew, Liam and I headed to Murfreesboro to explore the Discovery Center.

Enjoy these pics...

Monday, April 07, 2008

Mary's Journey

"Mary's Prophetic Journey: The Dark Night of the Soul and Resurrection!"
By Jill Austin

"Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene." Luke 19:25

The disciples fled to save their lives. Mary was kneeling in the shadow of the cross, weeping, screaming in anguish as her firstborn Son hung naked and bloody. The ominous thunder was crowded out by Jesus' agonizing cry, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

Mary sobs, "Why, God? Why? Why have You forsaken Him? Why have You forsaken me? He was supposed to deliver all of us. He was our salvation and now He's gone. If You really loved us why would You allow this?"

Unable to See the Big Picture

Mary's anguished heart bled under the shadow of a Roman cross, powerless to intervene. Her Son and her prophetic promises were dying. She had no revelation of the resurrection. She couldn't see the raging demonic battle with Jesus, the mighty warrior, snatching the keys of death and hell by the power of His shed blood. After waiting for thirty-three years, everything was dying--it looked like complete and utter failure.

With Jesus in the prime of His life and in the midst of a tremendous revival, He's dying on the cross--and so is Mary. She was in a crisis of faith, and the Father had turned His face away. She was devastated and felt abandoned and betrayed.

Are you in a midlife crisis? Mary was in her late forties when her whole world caved in. We want to believe that the Lord will rescue us at the last moment, but often His plan is to crucify us. Everything dies at the cross: Your relationships, ministry, agendas, reputation, finances--stripped bare for all to see. No one dies gracefully.

Persevering through the Fire to Come Out As Gold

As you hit bottom, you hear the tormenting voice of the enemy whispering, "Your life is almost over and you have nothing to show for it. Where is your God now?" But as God takes you through these hot, purifying fires, He works gold in the depth of your being. He gives you a love that can't be quenched by despairing circumstances. The challenge is to really believe in the goodness of God.

If you cry out to be part of the Bride, then you need to be identified with the sufferings of the Cross. In the midst of great agony and pain, when no one is there, Jesus holds you. A deeper intimacy of bridal love takes place as you cling to Him during horrendous times of suffering. We all need to cry out in total surrender, "Lord, I've nowhere to go. You're my all in all."


"Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, 'Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?' So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together saying, 'The Lord is risen indeed...'" Luke 24:31-34

Jumping up and down with ecstatic joy, Mary burst out, "He's alive! He's risen!"

"When I heard those words, my heart nearly burst as I ran to see for myself. I thought I cried all my tears on Golgotha, but when our eyes met, it was like a flood. As I ran into His open arms, He scooped me up and spun me around in joyous laughter.

"These times we shared were the most precious of my whole life. That made it easier to release Him--again. As I watched Him ascend, I prayed again, 'Lord, be it unto me as You will, for the rest of my life.'"

Resurrection of Broken Dreams

Out of great death, comes great life! Mary's prophetic promises were limited by her worldview. She saw Jesus as King of the Jews over the little nation of Israel during her life. In reality, He was King of Kings and Lord of Lords for all people and all time. At the Cross, He crucifies our limited view concerning the fulfillment of our prophetic destiny and resurrects it to His eternal view. The Lord revives broken dreams, but they rarely look like we expect them to.

"Explosions of glory! The tangible presence of the Holy Spirit! Now, it was not just me who was overshadowed, but all one hundred twenty of us. Tongues like fire fell and we were gloriously baptized in the Holy Spirit. We couldn't keep the news to ourselves and we ran, pushing each other out the door and down the narrow staircase to tell everyone."

"We were so excited that we gave ourselves to prayer night and day, sharing all we had, and loving each other so much. We grew from one hundred twenty to three thousand to five thousand! Signs, wonders and miracles followed as we told everyone about Jesus. It should be easy to grow the Church until we see Jesus coming again in the clouds."

The Power of The Holy Spirit

They were baptized in the Holy Spirit and the Church was set ablaze--just like the Lord wants your life to be ignited now. They received the gifts of tongues and the courage to be radical and passionate lovers of Jesus Christ. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was, and still is, a ministry of multiplication, intimacy and partnership.

When the Holy Spirit moves through you, it's not just for your benefit, but it's to bring conviction, salvation, healing and deliverance to suffering humanity. Mary was a carrier of the glory of God. Are you willing to be a carrier to bring the glory to your family, neighborhood and workplace? Are you willing to birth revival?

Gospel Spread Through Warfare

It was anything but easy for Mary and the early Church. Martyrdom and persecution scattered the believers, resulting in the spread of the Gospel to other nations. Mary's journey on earth continued not only with revival, but also seasons of tremendous warfare--cycles of life and death, maturing her toward bridal love.

Prayer: Lord, thank You that You resurrect our promises into something so much bigger than anything we could ever imagine. Thank You that when the seed falls to the ground and dies, You spring forth a harvest of righteousness and peace. You shatter our expectations with Your goodness. I love You, Jesus.

Jill Austin
Master Potter Ministries
Email: info@masterpotter.com

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Who Is Happier?

UK Study Finds People Who Believe in God are Happier than Agnostics or Atheists
Teresa Neumann (March 19, 2008)

(United Kingdom)—Research conducted by a study led by Professor Andrew Clark and Dr. Orsolya Lelkes called "Deliver Us From Evil: Religion as Insurance" has found that people who believe in God are happier than agnostics or atheists. The statistics were presented this week at the Royal Economic Society's annual conference.

churchgoersAccording to a report in the Telegraph U.K., the report found that religious people were better able to cope with disappointments such as unemployment or divorce than non-believers; moreover, they become even happier the more they pray and go to church.

The study also reportedly found that less than a sixth of churchgoers in Britain believe it is better to divorce than stay in an unhappy marriage.

Said the authors of the study: "Religion tempers the impact of adverse life events."

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patty's Day

Who Was St. Patrick?

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity's most widely known figures. But for all his celebrity, his life remains somewhat of a mystery. Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland, are false, the products of hundreds of years of exaggerated storytelling.

Taken Prisoner By Irish Raiders

It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D. Although his father was a Christian deacon, it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family. At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. (There is some dispute over where this captivity took place. Although many believe he was taken to live in Mount Slemish in County Antrim, it is more likely that he was held in County Mayo near Killala.) During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. (It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.)

Guided By Visions
After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice-which he believed to be God's-spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland.

To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held, to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation-an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than fifteen years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission-to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish. (Interestingly, this mission contradicts the widely held notion that Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland.)

Bonfires and Crosses
Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish. (Although there were a small number of Christians on the island when Patrick arrived, most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion. The Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth. When this is considered, it is no surprise that the story of Patrick's life became exaggerated over the centuries-spinning exciting tales to remember history has always been a part of the Irish way of life.)