You know you live in the city when… (with pictures)

You know you live in the city when…

-your son asks you to finish this
sentence in his language book, “The school nurse checked …”
and you immediately replied, “everyones’ head for lice!”

-your 13 year old tells you she just heard of a girls
program called “4-H” and goes online to figure out what it is.
(All my cousins who are farmers & ranchers
are stunned right now! ha!)

-your young children enjoy the “farm animal” section
of the zoo as much or more than the wild animals because
the only place they see any of them is at the ZOO!

Photo via detroitzoo.org

Photo via detroitzoo.org

-you close your curtains the second the sun begins
to go down because your neighbors are just a few inches
from your windows.

-your mailman is not only terrified by your dog,
but yells at it through the door while putting mail into
into your box that’s right outside your front door.

P1060271

– your neighbors come in all different nationalities,
combinations of colors, ages, accents and opinions, and
you are SO THANKFUL to raise your children in a place
with such variety!

– it’s unusual to go a whole day without hearing another
language besides English (well, this is only true if I
actually leave the house on that particular day! ha!)

-you can make last minute plans to attend the big game
because the stadium/ball park is only minutes away

Photo credit Mariah Chilton

Photo credit Mariah Chilton

-your mail has been stolen several times

– you have an arranged “hiding place” where the UPS guy
puts your deliveries if you’re not home

– your neighbor works at the Opera House a couple miles away
and hooks you up with tickets for you & few friends

photo 1

photo-25-e1399563492983

IMG_0204

– driving by the park reveals a group of men in “dresses”
playing cricket (this is my kids’ description)

-you have access to foods from all around the world in local
restaurants and ethnic little grocery stores

– you know all the best parking spots for the big games
that the “suburbanites” are too afraid to use

– you get really excited that the street lights are
being repaired and will actually work! (Thanks, Major
Mike Duggan!)

– you can decide to go to a museum on the spur of the
moment because it’s just down the street (and quite possibly
FREE because you live in the right place or can print out
free passes from the library!) SWEEEET!

– the local Cinco de Mayo parade is abruptly halted
due to a fatal shooting

– your children and friends from church are involved
in that parade & you were a spectator, yet no one really knows
why the police sent everyone to their cars until later (when
local news tweeted it)

photo 3

– God sends you to live in and love the people of
that city, He also provides for you & cares for you
in a way that other people just don’t understand

– people ask where you live and you proudly
say, “DETROIT!”

(I think Chilly took this pic)

(I think Chilly took this pic)

Savvy?

When I was growing up my Dad would often explain
something to me and then ask, “Savvy?” This means,
“Get it? Do you understand the whole of it?”

Psalm 55:22 says, “Give your burdens to the LORD,
and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”

God promises to TAKE CARE of us when we fling
our
assignments back onto Him.
(In previous posts I discussed these Words.) In this case,
TAKE CARE implies that God will sustain, provide or to
comprehend. COMPREHEND?

YES! God not only provides, but He provides
in a way that keeps the whole picture in mind.
He gets it! I certainly do NOT!
He sees the future. I only see the now.
He understands what is unseen. I can’t even
understand what’s smack in my face.

Jesus asks me to stop trying to “handle” my life…
He most certainly is “savvy!”
Me… not so much…um, not AT ALL!

Your comments are welcome

Isolating is like…

Leadership of any kind bring heaps of joys
and loads of difficulties. Being a leader
in ministry is no different. Lots of leaders
find themselves in a lonely place, caused by
a variety of reasons, but alone in a crowd
none the less.

When a lady finds herself in that situation,
the temptation can be to further isolate her
heart from others. Not good.

“Isolating yourself and your feelings is like
applying the car brakes on the ice;
it stops you from forward progress and sends
you spinning in all the wrong direction.”

(from my journal a few weeks back)

Isolating ourselves is a slow form of Quitting!

Galations 6:2
“Share each other’s burdens,
and in this way obey the law of Christ.”

Why do you do it?

John 12 tells the story of Jesus having dinner with a group
of people. Guests included the famous sibling group of
Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead;
Martha who was serving dinner;
Mary, who broke an expensive bottle of perfume, on purpose,
and anointed Jesus feet. (You can read this story here.)

Each had their own role in this evening with Jesus and
the response of those around them varied.

Martha – She served the meal. People probably ate it,
enjoyed it and most likely never said a word of thanks
or appreciation.

Lazarus– He was a close friend of Jesus and involved in
the dinner conversation. This took place in his own town
and his sisters were there serving. He was living his
life as obvious & living proof of the power of Jesus.
(Since he’d been raised from the dead prior to this story.)
People crowded to see him and began believing in Jesus
because of him. Others, however, wanted to kill him because
of his “walking, living proof of the power of Jesus!”

Mary – She humbly and sacrificially washed Jesus feet.
Others in the room reacted to her actions with harsh criticism
and disgust. Jesus told her critics to “Leave her alone!”

Whatever role/serving we’re doing, we must do it completely for Jesus!
People won’t necessarily thank us.
or, People may think we’re awesome & follow our example.
People may hate us for it.
People may criticize us for it.

Jesus says to them… “Leave her alone!”

“Lord, forgive me for doing YOUR work and then grading
myself according to the response (or lack of response)
from other people.”

I serve Jesus and all that I do, I will work at it
with all my heart because I’m working for God,
not humans.
(My paraphrase of Colossians 3:23)

Division

“Insecurity and jealousy cause division.”Chilly

(spoken during an evening teaching at Courage Church)

Our culture treats insecurity as a “condition” that
we didn’t cause and cannot escape, but only learn to live with.
However, a REAL relationship with Jesus changes those “issues.”
Surrender to
His plan,
His demand that we forgive,
His leading and our following, etc…
will bring about the death of those stupid insecurities that
we’ve grown so close to over the years.

Did you carefully read that quote at the top of this post?
Yucky stuff happens when we accept our insecurities & allow
jealousy to live in us.
Division… That means
Hurt.
Pain.
Sorrow.
Unnecessary loneliness.
All this messes up other people AND damages us, too!

The beginning of freedom from insecurity is confession.
Yes…it’s a strong word to treat such a tender “condition.”
Realizing that insecurity thinks about SELF continually,
and realizing that continually thinking about self actually breaks
the very first commandment should lead us right into confession.

“Jesus, forgive me of selfishness. It is the exact opposite
of YOU. It sickens me and I’m sorry. Please renew the way I
think as I read Your WORD and form me into a life that
looks like You! Thank you, Jesus!”

Allowing The Word of God to change us will keep insecurities
from robbing, stealing, destroying and dividing.

She Did What She Could

I’m enjoying several reading plans this month and some wonderful “extras!”
Together, our church is reading YouVersion’s 21 Day Fast , and I’m also lovin’ some wonderful videos & blogs from Mount Hope Church (who recently adopted Courage Church!!!! YIPPEE!)

One thing I read today did a little zing in my heart. Here’s the tiny verse
and then my thoughts are following.

“SHE DID WHAT SHE COULD…” – Jesus
Mark 14:8a

————————————————————————————

(The “SHE” in this verse is the lady who broke her expensive perfume and anointed
Jesus before his crucifixion and burial. She took criticism from people…
but not Jesus. He said “She did what she could.”)

-The people around that table that evening seemed far more qualified to minister
to Jesus than she, yet that didn’t stop her.

– Her sacrifice seemed “unspiritual” and lacking wisdom. (It was not!)

– She could have done many other things with that perfume, and other people
(even the “Christ-followers”) would probably have admired her for doing it.
But she chose to bless Jesus and not be affected by the others’ opinions.

– She let go of what had once been very special to her (and her culture),
because Jesus was now far more important that cultural customs & standards.

– Humility preceded this act of love.

————————————————————————————–

After realizing these truths this morning I started writing down “what I could do”
for Jesus that He sees value in, even if others do not.

Most things on my list were non-exciting, normal, daily and
“not-very-spiritual-looking.” Each one required humility, even demanded it.
(insert big SIGH here)
Others won’t notice and probably won’t even see it happening. If they do see,
they may criticize me. I may appear lazy, ridiculous and lacking in judgement.
And yet…
If these are the things that Jesus sees value in now, and asks of me,
then how can I discount their importance?
On Sunday in his sermon, (1-5-14) Chilly said,
“Our job is doing God’s purpose!”

Everywhere I look, every blog I read & pinterest I view, I’m told what I need to do to be
valuable and successful. But Mark 14:8 tells me that Jesus values my willingness to
“do what I can” for Him & directed by Him.
Simple.
Difficult.
Do-able.

I’m a Boring Shopper

Maybe I’m just too practical, but
I buy boring Christmas presents.

My brain thinks ahead
“Can they use this in more than one way?”
“Will it still be appealing in six months?”
“Will it drive their parents crazy?”

I guess that may NOT be what most people
think when they’re Christmas shopping, but
being a good steward of our money stays
with me… always… in every area… including…

This year our church has adopted several families
and will be providing a wide range of gifts
to care for a variety of needs in their families-
food
clothing for each member
shoes & socks
toiletries
household necessities
gift cards
and of course TOYS!
(a 15 passenger van FULL of toys was kindly
provided by Rochester Michigan Assembly of God!)

Everyone has eagerly grabbed up the cards
that describe one of the needs in each family.
I happily took some cards for children’s clothing.
(I have a little experience with this, huh?)

I wanted to buy great striped or patterned
sweatshirts and funky jeans & tennis shoes.
Then, “Practical” kicked in.
It’s more than likely that whatever we buy
for these children will be worn several times
a week. So… stripes and patterns are going to
be rather obvious and possibly invite teasing
(which they may already be enduring).
Enter “Boring Practical Shopper Lady!”
068909_t

131348_t

072526_t
Basic colors that won’t be too obvious if worn often.
Jeans that are dark & won’t show as much dirt, crayon marks,etc.
Boot shoes. Not snowboots,
but OK if worn when snow is on the ground,
yet still a shoe.

Not exciting.
But then again, maybe it’s because most of
us have MORE than our basic needs met.

Thank you, Lord, for meeting our needs
and allowing us to share!

Duck! Bald Faces. More Beards?

Last week our church had a little costume fun with
a Duck Dynasty Theme.
Here’s a few pictures from that day.
(and in case you’re concerned… NO, it didn’t distract us from
worshiping Jesus with all our heart and listen to the Word
and then talking about it with small groups of friends at the end.)

photo 3

photo 4

photo 2

photo 1

photo 2

photo 1

Now… THIS Sunday our building will be filled
NAKED-FACED men because many of them have
taken the “Grovember” Challenge. It’s
about “Manning-Up!” It’s starts with a clean face.
Then no shaving for the whole month!
Besides NOT shaving, men are committing to
“up-ing” their walk with Jesus! Click here for
all the fun details.

So, by the end of the month the
men in our church may just look a whole like the
men on Duck Dynasty! However, considering it’ll
bring out the best in these guys… we woman are
OK with it all! (But Chilly, can you please
promise to shave most of it off on December 1st?)

website-slider-movember-2-e13829051755292-400x400

Not sure how to say this…

For over a week I’ve written this post in my head, crumpled it up
and tossed it aside. I’m going crazy to say it… but how?
Nothing creative enough has risen to the surface of my brain.
Nothing deep enough as been able to form itself into words.
How do I say this?
I’ll just jump in and say, “OH MY WORD! THANK YOU!”

photo 4

A week & a half ago my husband spent the weekend as a
guest of Celebration Christian Center in Midland, Mi…
and our family was invited to joined him. From the time
we set down a suitcase they poured giant heaps of kindness all over us!

– welcome notes
– huge bag of snacks
– lovely hotel room
photo 3

– swimming pool (shaped like the state of Michigan!)
– yummy meals in restaurants
– spending money to “have fun with the family”
– trip to the frozen yogurt bar
photo

– amazing pizza (that Mom didn’t make, nor did it come in a box from a little
Roman guy for $5, already prepared & still warm)
– specific gifts for each of our children
(including our oldest daughter who stayed back in Detroit
to “hold down the fort” and also preach on Sunday morning!)
– a membership to one of the country’s most fantastic museums
– a serious chunk of money to purchase the sound system
that we’ve been borrowing & had to give back unless we
could buy it
– Even more money beyond what the sound system cost

photo 1

But that’s not really the whole story…
– So many people from this church actually pray for us, our family
and Courage Church!
– They asked specific questions about how they could continue
to pray
– They’d been on our website and cared about what they saw
– They believe in what we’re doing and pray for Detroit
– They prayed for us by name… and for all those who
minister/volunteer with us
– People walked up to us and blessed us with all sorts of
gifts and services… personally sacrificing!
(They include provision for a cavity-free mouth,
a vehicle, a winter coat and more!)

My heart just bubbles with joy as I recount their warm,
expressions of love, support and encouragement.
They believe in what we’re doing here in
the city!

Thank you, Jesus, for sending these wonderful people
into our lives! Thank you, CCC, for loving us in so
many ways!

building

A weekend that’s hard to put into words,
but forever in our hearts and memories!

Celebration Sunday!!!

Happy Birthday, Courage Church!

It sounded crazy!
It was in an interesting part of Detroit
culture where 28 languages are spoken in a
2 mile radias.
It was nine years ago this weekend
that Chilly & I,
along with our three daughters,
8 young adults and a handful of newly arrived
post-high school students opened a brand new church
we lovingly called, “REAL CHURCH!”
Relevant
Equipping
Alive
Loving

Over the years we’ve meet in different locations-
including rented spaces that had never been churches
and probably never will be again (like a bar/concert
venue and a condo penthouse clubhouse!) ha!
Then, in late summer of 2012, God unexpectedly
plopped a gorgeous old building in our laps.

Besides building changes, amazing people from
around the area & around the country have
committed to this ministry. Others from
the dedicated “original starting team”
moved on to other places were God directed.
The heart of the church has remained the same-
“Living a real love from a real God in a real
world.” And that is not for the faint-hearted!

Following this exciting gift we changed our name
to Courage Church. Notice that both names are far more
than titles, they’re VERBS! It tells who we are and
what we do! Carefully listening to the voice of God’s
leading, being in Detroit, making constant changes,
always rejoicing over the beautiful things Jesus
does in the hearts of anyone who will let Him.
Anything worthwhile takes hard work & faith…
a faith in God that is lived out in Courageous
ways on a daily basis!

So today… we rejoiced together, all of us in
one historical old building with room to grow!
A building made special only because people
who love Jesus meet there… and people who
join them can meet Jesus, there, too!
(Several did exactly that today!!!)


To the many of you who have been a part of
this wonderful story of Courage Church,
thank you! Your priceless involvement
has left an eternal mark on the lives
of every face in this picture (and the
many people they represent).
Your efforts matter…
…..
Oh good grief… I started typing zillions
of ways that many of you have given to
this ministry, but that’s not possible!
I had to delete that attempt.
Some of you have never even set foot
in this state, yet you’ve joined
with us!

Thank you for loving Jesus & having the
Courage to believe in His love for
Detroit and His calling on our lives!

Courage Church online giving