What a beautiful view….

June 29, 2009 at 6:38 pm (Community, Family, Friends, Inspirational, Ministry, Outreach, Service, Teen, Youth) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Today kicked off the first day or our first summer camp!!! We are taking a slow “get our feet wet” approach and only opening this year’s camp to our own students. We are having a four day camp with devotions, community service projects, lunch, afternoon activities and then…..here’s the beauty……sending them home for the night!!! We plan to continue this camp every summer opening up to the public and finding a campground to make it a REAL summer camp experience!

This morning was such a great morning. We took our kids to two local nursing homes and passed out candy to all of the residents. They were so happy to see all of the kids and thanked them over and over for “coming to bring candy to us old folks.” One lady even said she wished she had some money to give to their camp but “you can’t bring money into these kinda places, someone will scarf it up when you’re out at Coffee Chatter or Bingo.” It was awesome to take a few minutes and bring laughter, happiness and smiles to many people who feel abandoned and all alone. Many of the women asked the kids to come back again and sing for them. They told us that their families are either far away or just “too busy” to come visit. One lady just moved here a month ago from Anadarko and has no family in this town. She was excited to find out that her room has a window because she says “I’ll never get to go home again and enjoy the outdoors. I’m so grateful for this beautiful view.”

After visiting with them and perhaps raising everyone’s blood sugar we headed off to deliver meals on wheels! Meals on Wheels is a great organization that was founded in 1974 to deliver meals to people who cannot get out of their homes or cannot cook for themselves. Each recipient pays $2.50 a day and receives a hot 4 course meal with dessert. All 700+ monthly meals are delivered daily by volunteers. At each home we were greeted by an elderly person and the occasional dog. Most were happy to see us and invited us in to stay and visit. Again, we were asked if we could come back tomorrow to help deliver food. One lady came out on the porch and hugged and kissed every girl and told them “God always takes care of me and don’t you forget it!” She just kept talking and didn’t want us to leave and after finding out that we would be painting a fence later in the week, she invited us back to paint her porch. She said she would pay us to come paint her porch and visit. She was a very sweet lady.

I was so proud of our kids today. Not only for jumping in to be a part of a community serving camp but also for making conversation, hugging, laughing with and just being kind to everyone we came into contact with today. It was a nice day of just being in the moment! Forgetting about everything else and just focusing on the person we were serving.

I’ve always known that we live in a busy world with deadlines, errands, meetings, phone calls, voice messages, texts, emails, kid’s activities, work, appointments, and the list goes on with all the things that keep us busy and passing people without really seeing them. Today, walking through life a little slower showed me how many people are living a lonely, secluded life. But amist that lifestyle, I learned something.

Life is all about perspective and I’d say most of these people have a positive outlook on life. More positive than most of us who get the opportunity to still live our lives the way we want to. I will never forget the woman in the nursing home going on and on about her beautiful view. Ironically, her “beautiful view” is a parking lot, busy road and a funeral home across the street.

As I was looking out her window and hearing the excitement in her voice I couldn’t help but wonder how many of us look out our “life’s window” and say “what a beautiful view!” I challenge you today to look at your view and see beyond whatever the “parking lot, busy road” and even the “funeral home” represents in your life and see the beautiful view!

What’s your view like? Tell me…

-Shayla

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Guest Blog

June 17, 2009 at 10:28 pm (Uncategorized)

Go read Travis’ blog “Why I’m Quitting Church – Part 3” – You’ll laugh and be enlightened all at the same time!

http://travishurst.wordpress.com

Don’t forget to leave a comment!

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What are you “wishing” for?

May 22, 2009 at 9:54 pm (Inspirational, Ministry) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I grew up in a pentecostal church all my life.  I love my church background and all the wonderful people who were a part of my life during that time.  My life has been shaped and molded into what it is today and what it will be because of my pentecostal background.  I am forever grateful to my parents for raising me in such a loving, family church environment.  However, there are a few things I have learned along the way that differ from the things I was taught as a young girl.  One thing in particular is the “name it and claim it” theory.

This theory basically says “you can have whatever you want as long as you pray for it in the name of Jesus.”

Well, as many of you know, I have a gap between my two front teeth.  I have hated this gap my entire life!  My sister, who also has “less than perfect” teeth, and I would laugh and say our mouths had road signs that say “next tooth one mile.”  We both hated our teeth and would joke about the gaps to keep other kids from being the first to point them out.  I desperately wanted to get rid of my gap!

I remember being at church and hearing a minister teach on the topic of “name it and claim it.”  I left there thinking that surely I could take this matter of “the gap” into my own hands and with the help of God, I could solve this problem once and for all!!

On numerous occasions, I would go into my room, close the door, dim the lights and have a serious, get down, dance before the Lord, Holy Ghost moment about my teeth.  (Remember, I was 10 people).  I would “lay” my two pointer fingers on my two front teeth and begin a passionate plea to the King to move on the behalf of my teeth.  When my prayer came to the point that I would “speak” to the devil, I would remove my fingers from my teeth so he could CLEARLY understand what I had to say to him!  I would rebuke him and come against the “spirit of the gap” in the name of Jesus!!!!! 

After a few minutes of this radical one on one moment with God, I would run to the bathroom, smile big and look at my teeth just KNOWING that God had moved them.  Much to my surprise……the gap was still there.  This “episode” went on for many many months.  Each time, after seeing that my teeth had not moved, I would leave the bathroom thinking that something was wrong with my level of faith.  The Bible says, “if you have faith of a mustard seed you can move mountains” – I wasn’t trying to move mountains!  I was just trying to move teeth!  I knew teeth could be moved because I had seen all of my friends’ teeth be moved (with the help of braces and retainers of course) but I had NEVER seen a mountain move.  My theory was, if God could move a mountain then He sure as heck could move a few measly teeth!   (Of course, at ten, you take things such as “moving mountains” a bit too literal.)

As I have matured in age, in my relationship with the Lord and my knowledge and understanding of God’s Word, I have learned that God doesn’t just perform miracles for the heck of it.  When God moves, He wants His actions to speak to the world.  Speak of His loyalty to His children, of His healing and miraculous powers, His love, mercy and grace.  He wants to make a statement that solidifies your value to Him and that creates an opportunity for the unbelieving world to come to trust and know Him. 

I have also learned that while Jesus was clear when speaking to those He healed when He said, “your faith has made you whole”, no amount of faith is going to move God to act on my behalf in a way that He hasn’t already purposed for me.  Moving my teeth was so trivial and would not have served the greater purpose that He has set before me.

I wonder today what you are “wishing for.”  What are you asking and believing God for?  Is this something that will serve the greater purpose He has set before you?  Or is it to have a nicer house and car than the neighbors?  God isn’t our personal blue genie living in an oil lamp waiting for us to release Him to grant our three self serving wishes.

Let’s get real with God.  Let’s petition Him for the things that can be used to further His Kingdom.  And by all means, if you believe you are “wishing”/praying for the right things, then keep it up.  He hears you and He will answer those prayers in His timing.  Be faithful to continue to worship Him while waiting on Him.

Shayla

P.S.  My Mother’s Day gift from Larry this year is…….fixing my gap!!!!!  Woohoo!  Thanks Larry!

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LIVE 2 GIVE to the fire victims…

April 10, 2009 at 6:05 pm (Ministry, Outreach, Service) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

If you have been watching the news the past few days then you have seen the devastation caused by the wildfires across Midwest City and the surrounding areas.  So many homes have been lost leaving numerous people completely without.

Last night as I laid my head down to go to sleep in my soft comfortable bed in my clean fragrant home with all of my family pictures and acquired belongings I couldn’t help but think of the families who have lost everything.  Not just a few clothes and a couch, but everything.  Toothbrushes, tooth paste, hairbrushes, hairdryers, shampoo, socks, pictures, family heirlooms, jewelry, trinkets, candles, pot/pans, ink pins, books, Bibles, furniture, clothes, shoes, shower curtains, window blinds, blankets, pillows, children’s toys…..the list goes on and on and no item is too small to be forgotten.    

Most of the time we watch the news and look at these disasters and say, “Somebody otta do something about that.”  Well today, I am challenging you to realize that “you ARE somebody and you can do SOMETHING.” 

Pastor Travis has encouraged us to “let our life be measured by what we give away.”  This is a perfect opportunity for us to rise to the occasion and help people who are in need.  Immediate need.

Our friends at Church of the Harvest are already in motion helping these victims and have encouraged anyone who would like to help to purchase Wal-Mart and Target cards of all denominations.  You can bring those cards to the church anytime today before 5 or contact shayla@faithco.org or 990.4867 to arrange another drop off time.  Also, if you are interested in being on the ground helping in any way possible please contact me and I will get you connected to our friends at Church of the Harvest who are taking as many volunteers as possible.

Thank you for continuous generosity and for rising to meet the needs of those affected by the recent fires.

-Shayla

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What dream have you let die?

March 20, 2009 at 1:19 pm (Inspirational, Ministry) (, , , , , , , , )

“One of the great discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” – Henry Ford

We all had dreams as a kid. Dreams of who we would become, what profession we would take on, who we would marry, how many children we would have and so on.

Some of those dreams were just child-like dreams that would never possibly come true. Some of us women dreamed of being Barbie and driving a pink convertible, while some men dreamed of being Spiderman and leaping from one skyscraper to another. Those were fun thoughts to daydream about on a cool spring day playing in the back yard. But that’s all they were…..daydreams.

But we also had real dreams. Dreams of what we would accomplish in life. Think back for a minute….what were your life dreams? Did you accomplish them?

Can you honestly say you have let some dreams go because you don’t think you could possibly achieve them? Or maybe you’re afraid of what your friends and family will say when they find out what you’re up to. “Who does she think she is attempting such a task/dream/job?”

The truth is that God has placed dreams inside each and every one of us to pursue. How along ago did you place your dream on the shelf? What is your dream?

What steps can you take today to take your dream off the shelf and put it into action in your life?

-Shayla

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