Monday, February 27, 2006

Ups And Downs

Well, it's been a bit of a roller coaster ride here in Pasadena lately. Which shall we share first? Aw...how about the ups?

Reality is going great! God is really blessing the ministry and our relationships with the young adults. Our meeting unexpectedly doubled last week (watch out what you pray, y'all!). We are having a blast and are really learning a lot about people, ministry, God...it's humbling to be in a position like this, and yet we know that it's not because of our talents or gifts but because of God's hand on our lives that we are getting things done. We are planning on getting on to the USC (That's Trojans, not Gamecocks for you South Carolinians) campus in order to meet some students and get the word out about Angelus Temple.

Speaking of Angelus Temple, I didn't know this before I moved out to California, but Angelus Temple was the original church for the denomination called International Church of the Foursquare Gospel or "Foursquare" created by Aimee Semple McPherson. Aimee traveled the world evangelizing and healing through the power of the Holy Spirit. While she preached at Angelus Temple, the 5,300 seat sanctuary was filled three times a day! Wow! Many of the healings and miracles took place in a room called the "500 Room". And that is where we have Reality Young Adults meetings today! Pretty cool, huh?

Well, my transitioning really could use some help, but on to the other news...
Many people know from word of mouth, but for those who don't, my mom is extremely sick and could use much prayer. For that matter, my dad is scheduled to have a hip replacement in March (and is in very bad pain) and also is in need of prayer. My mom, who has pulmonary hypertension is in a very bad state. Without going into too many personal details, please pray that through this ordeal they would draw close to God during this time and give Him their hearts. Pray for wisdom for the doctors for both of my parents. And pray for us, also, as we are seeking God's guidance in what to do because we feel very far removed from the situation and want to be there to help and encourage them. It's been a very tough time for me personally, and I could use your prayers for strength, patience, and guidance.

Okay, I don't want to end on a sad note, so just a few words about school and (tenative) summer plans...we are finishing our second semester, and things are going well so far. We both have a lot of work to do in the next two weeks, but we're sure it will get done. It is just a matter of us pushing forward and focusing. Seminary work isn't exactly hard, it's just in such large quantities that sometimes you wonder how it all gets done.

Brandon's family has bought us tickets to go to Israel this summer! we are so excited and know that it will be a great time for the family. John and Denice as well as John and Pepper will all be there. It even worked out that I will be able to get 8 credits for school by staying 5 weeks. We will be doing missions and a little tourist action. Details to come, but for the most part, we are pumped to have a chance to go and be in the setting where our Saviour was born, ministered, and died. What a privelige!

That's all for now...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet!

Well, I must brag a little on my stud of a husband. If you get queasy at mushy stuff, I would suggest moving along in the World Wide Web. Otherwise, let me just share a little something about Brandon's life from this weekend.

So, I've known Brandon for almost 2 years now (I know that's not very long, but I have the rest of our lives ahead of us) and I remember when we were dating people would ask me , 'has he played his violin for you yet?' and I felt pretty bad because he hadn't. I thought, 'why hasn't he?' When he finally did, it was on a dock at the lake I grew up on and it was immediately after he told me that he loved me. That was a really special night. He played beautifully, and though I knew I was already in love with him, too, I felt like I was falling in love with him all over again.

Tonight was one of those nights where I felt like I was falling in love with my husband all over again. Here we are in seminary, across the country, and doing ministry together. He's studying to be a pastor/preacher. I see him in ministry almost every day and I love it, but I haven't ever heard this man preach. The closest I've ever been was when we got commissioned off by his home church, and he had to share a little bit about the adventure we were about embark upon to California.

Saturday Night Redefined is a weekend service for the 'young at heart' (i.e. anywhere from children-teens-college-young adults-adults who 'feel' young), and Brandon was asked to preach tonight to kick off the month of February and a relationship series. So, he dilligently worked on a sermon this week, and in his BBerry way, was putting the finishing touches on it as we were parking the car outside the church...

I always get a little nervous before I have to speak in front of people...nothing big, just a little butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling. But I never thought about getting nervous before Brandon spoke until I started to get that same feeling in my stomach somewhere between the first worship song and the last. I was excited. I was proud. I was anxious to hear and watch him deliver God's word.

Now, don't get me wrong. The boy preaches all the time. Not in a condescending way, but if you could be a fly on the wall of our little apartment, you'd get an earful of sermons in his everyday conversations. I have heard him preach to me and have enjoyed getting excited with him in our living room or at our kitchen table about some of the things God has been laying on his heart. But that couldn't have prepared me for tonight...

Brandon's topic was 'Yokin' Up' and was based on 2 Corinthians 6:14 which warns us not to be unequally yoked to unbelievers. And can I say that my eyes got a little sweaty with the pride that swept over me as I watched my amazing husband be used by God in a mighty way as he preached with passion and fervor tonight in front of a couple of hundred of people. His anointing was so evident, and anyone could tell that he was prepared and also surrendered as he allowed God to speak through him to many hearts that made decisions to surrender to the overwhelming love of Christ.

The best part, though, is that I still recognized Brandon up there. He wasn't any different than the wonderful guy I live with and love doing life with everyday...he just had a mic. And he didn't have the mic because he had clawed his way to the top, but because he had served his way into that opportunity. He loved people so much and served them because of his love for Christ, that he was noticed and given that opportunity. (for more on this, see Make Room for the Broom from September entries).

So let me just champion my husband a little bit by saying that I am so proud of him and am even more excited about where God may take us one day with the gifts and opportunities and anointing He has put on him. Thank you, Jesus!