the oscars

a few days ago, our nation was obsessed with one thing…
the oscars

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who was there? who did they have hanging on their arm? what were they wearing? were their boobs showing too much? was their dress too ridiculous… or fashionable enough? i mean, a tux is just another tux. not super exciting to look at, right? was the host funny enough? did the winners give good acceptance speeches? or did they screw up? 
millions of viewers were on the edge of their couches, chairs and love seats watching. waiting. wondering who would win… an oscar. or they were watching downton abbey.
at least this seemed the case according to many of our facebook friends.

i’m pretty sure my facebook newsfeed accurately reflects what’s *hip and *happening in society…
at least, i hope so.

i don’t know about the rest of you, but i certainly logged onto facebook november 7th, 2012 to find out which wonderful person would hold the wonderful office of white house president.
yup. i found out who would be runnin’ this nation as president for the next four years thru facebook.
isn’t that sad? doesn’t that say a lot about me?
it saaaaays – i have no patience to stay awake watching the polls and drama of the newscasters – instead i will just ‘find out on facebook tomorrow’.

instead of the oscars on sunday night, or downton abbey [tho we are big fans of pbs, we’ve never seen this show] we rejected the notion of ‘fitting in’ and opted to watch an obsession of our own ~ the amazing race.

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while many people dream of walking on the red carpet, dressed in fine gowns and sharp tuxedos, linked arm and arm with {who society deems as} ‘beautiful people’, we dream of running all over the world in a race for 1 million dollars. or rather, 1 million lives. sure. we would love to win a million dollars, but even more we would love to run around the world {Matthew 28:18-20} impacting millions of lives for one purpose. Love.

a love that changes people. a selfless love which is patient, kind, always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres, a love which does not boast, endures all things and never fails. a love likened to a consuming fire which can not be quenched.
and this love is unlike any other love, this love is a person. His name is Jesus.

like the amazing race ~ our life in the ministry is an adventure ~ based around people we love and serve in our church and community. people in relationship who experience both struggles and joy. people who face challenges, detours and roadblocks. there are pit stops and twelve hour rest periods along the way… but this journey never ends. rather than winning a million dollars, there is an eternal focus ~ eyes fixed on knowing and following hard after Jesus. a desire to see His Kingdom come. His will be done. throughout the nations.  one day, all the nations will bow before Him… until then, it is all about pursuing Jesus… and along the journey some will choose to take a step back, or even walk away.

although we would love to one day go on the amazing race, we already live an adventure in ministry that is incomparable. we serve the King of Kings, the most glorious royalty, the most famous man ever known. Jesus. 
He never walked the red carpet… instead He rode on an ass over broken branches and worn out clothes down a dusty road.
He never slipped on a tuxedo or donned shoes that cost more than my house… instead He wore a simple tunic and walked this earth in worn out sandals.
He never had a team of stylists and fashion assistants… instead He humbly served and washed His disciples feet.
He was never accepted by mainstream society… instead He was rejected, betrayed and denied.
He never gave an acceptance speech for winning ‘best actor’… instead He taught in parables about the coming Kingdom and spoke the Truth in love.
He never received any academy awards… instead He received a scarlet robe, a twisted crown of thorns, and a severe beating from a mocking mob.
He was never quoted in the newspapers in defense of what ‘should have been’ or what ‘he should have won’… instead He loved His enemies and accepted His call unto death on a cross.

so, i really don’t give a shit who won which oscar. 
we may not ever have the chance to go on the amazing race and win a million dollars… what we do have is the amazing ‘life in ministry’ adventure God has called us to. the awesome journey we walk, run and sometimes fall on. we have served in churches across the united states. we have served in missions across the nations. we have humbly been a part of many lives and a part of making disciples for His glory. for over eight years our adventure has continued in central ohio… and what an amazing race it has been. we are so grateful! we hope you will follow this blog and join us for all our future ministry adventures. to be continued…

after all, the record is only half written… In Him, Leslie 

7 chicks. 11 kids. 1 God.

on Tuesday’s i host a silly little Bible study…

it’s no big deal. it’s just a handful of chicks and their kiddos.
we just get together to drink…
a lot of coffee, and talk about God.

when we get together i fully expect
large amounts of coffee to be consumed.
meaningful conversations to carry throughout my entire house.
the kiddos to play, bicker, get over it, eat a snack, make a mess. repeat.
and…
silly little Bible study to *magically* happen among the chaos of crazy kiddos and ourselves ~ distracted chicks who, if given a *moment* of silence, will easily bunny trail, interrupt each other and bounce back and forth around several subjects, while remaining a part of various conversations…
a silly little Bible study where we read a few Bible verses. have some discussion. say a little prayer. repeat.

really?! *magic*?! is that all there is to it? 
no. freaking. way.
it is so much more than a silly little Bible study.

the truth is
when we get together i fully expect
coffee consumed.
kid chaos.
shared faith.
prayers said.
hope found.
deeper love.
lives changed.
i fully expect God’s presence to show up. 

last Tuesday, God’s amazing presence poured over us.
a glimpse of *Heaven* came down to earth. in. my. house.

sure. i was prepared for these 7 chicks and 11 kiddos {6 and under} to come busting through my door.
i changed out of my stretchy pants, and briefly tapped into my inner ‘Martha’, while preparing to sit as a ‘Mary’ {their story is referenced in Luke 10:38-42} i cleaned up the living room, meanwhile shoving everything else into the bedrooms.
{out of sight, out of mind is my motto}.

i was ready for this silly little Bible study.
i was ready to drink coffee, share in conversation and read the Bible with the kiddos playing and laughing {sometimes screaming and crying} making their beautiful {and sometimes painful} sounds in the background.

i was fully expectant, hoping for God’s presence to show up. and it did.
prayers were shared.
truth was spoken.
bondages were broken.
God’s love overwhelmed us.

the truth is
if we are not expecting God’s presence to show up, it is just a silly little Bible study.
without God’s presence it is meaningless to get together, share faith, offer pray and gather hope.
it’s all about Jesus.
we fully expect God to do His thing. to love us. change us. renew us. and lead us to go out into the world. guiding us to love the ones in front of us. and for Heaven to touch earth thru us.

I’m a lover of God’s presence.
i can’t wait to see what God will next with these chicks and these kiddos.
i fully expect His presence to overwhelm us, as we enter it with Thanksgiving {Psalm 95:2}.
***
how are you expecting God’s presence to move?