Monday, July 6, 2015

Ten Commandments Alive!

After I read Oklahoma’s Supreme Court decision to remove the Ten Commandments from its capitol, my gut hurt. It reminded me of a movie I watched about a similar issue with the Cross being on public property. The town’s people ended up buying the property where the Cross stood and the Cross stayed put. So I figured, maybe somebody can just move the Ten Commandments to private property.
Then I thought who would want a six foot granite monument of the Ten Commandments in their front yard? If I stuck it in my yard, there’d be someone or many who’d recall, with fervor (because fervor is the tone we humans like to use when we speak judgment against others), a time when I broke one or more of its commandments. They’d call me a hypocrite. I’d have to post the Cross in front of it. Some people might still call me a hypocrite.
But since I believe Christ died for my sins and my sins are forgiven, that I am no longer condemned, let’s say I boldly plant the monuments in my yard, child of the King that I am. Being that I live beside a gas station, people would see the monuments every time they drove past my yard to get gas. Now imagine if everyone posted the Ten Commandments and the Cross in their yard. How long would it take for the monuments to become as invisible as the hundreds of beautiful orange daylilies we forget to notice along the highways?
And then I thought, does Jesus command us to write His laws on our lawns or in our hearts? How much more would it mean to people we meet every day to see, to hear, to be able to touch the warmth from and experience Jesus living and breathing in us than to see stone monuments stuck in yards with grass growing up around them, because you know how hard they’d be to weed around.
How about if we write this one into our hearts? Jesus says in John 13:34-35:  A new command I give you:  love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
I am so thankful God’s Word doesn’t stand still long enough to need a weed eater. John 1:14: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  
Flesh. Not a monument. When we read the news and the world seems to be growing darker, let’s remember God is still the authority over all authorities, and His Light can’t be put out. We can be like the moon that reflects the sun, but remember it doesn’t show up as well when it’s light outside. Let’s be encouraged to reflect the Son as the world dims, to live the Word by loving one another, to do for others what a stone can’t.
Published also on
Laurinda Krotish 7/6/15

Saturday, November 29, 2014

With months of preparation the invitation went out on the internet. 

Antioch Community Church was excited to host their fourth national conference, September 12-14, 2014

"Healthy Church, Healthy Family" 

It was exciting as the registrations came in from across the United States. 
With hope in our hearts visitors we all came to learn and be inspired in our walk with Christ. Antioch families happily opened their homes for traveling pilgrims.

The topics covered were 
Leadership, Fellowship, Discipleship, Preaching, Finances, Missions, Prayer, Conflict Management, Worship, Giving, Hospitality and Marriage. 
We the members of Antioch and our visitors were not disappointed. The teaching was fantastic. 

The particular women's session was given by Cindy Fox and Amy Jo Akin. 
Embracing our Capacity in Christ  
Here are some excerpts from Cindy's notes 

"Embracing our Biblical Role as Women
So, how do we embrace our Biblical role as women? God has put on the hearts of men an inclination to lead, initiate, provide and protect. He is happiest when he is fulfilling this role. God has put on the hearts of women to come alongside such a man and affirm him and receive and support this kind of leadership. He also calls us both to (as Piper says) "advance the kingdom of God with the full range of our gifts in the paths laid out in Scripture.”

Ephesians 5:22-32: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”

In this passage, it’s obvious that the husband takes his cues from his head, Christ, and the woman takes her cues from her head, her husband, just as the church would do the will of Christ. "The husband’s leadership is not about power and rights, but about responsibility and sacrifice. There is no abuse or arrogance or authoritarianism here. It says that men are to nourish and cherish their wives, just as Christ does the Church. Submission on the part of the wives is a "divine calling to honor and affirm our husbands’ leadership and help carry it through according to our gifts. We are each “a helper suitable for him” (Gen.2:18). 

It is important to realize that God has given each of us unique gifts and callings that equip us to come alongside our own husbands, with his own unique set of gifts and callings, and help him succeed. What God calls me to do will not look exactly like what He has called you to do. My husband’s calling is not like your husband’s calling. The opportunities to minister and serve and work alongside your husband in the home and in church and in the world are endless! I firmly believe that if you are serving using the divine gifts that God has given you, you will find great joy in it, because God has made you to delight in what He’s given you! 

 ... different women of the Bible and how they used their gifts, but you know that they were each different, too. We're told that Deborah was a prophet, the Proverbs 31 woman seemed to be a business woman, the women who followed Jesus served Him with practical helps, as well as financially. Our differences should be respected and affirmed and valued between us as women and between women and men. “We are fellow heirs of the grace of life.” 1 Peter 3:7

3. My Unique Role and Capacity
So, how can I know what my unique role and capacity is? I believe that knowing my role takes going before the Lord and asking Him how I can best serve Him. As a wife and mother, God tells me that he wants me to submit to and respect my husband, and to teach and train my children, and to take care of my home. Those are the "big rocks", and if I'm not doing those, then I'm being disobedient. And then I want to go to my husband and ask him to pray with me and share what his thoughts are on how I can serve best with my unique gifts. I think we can be confident that God will give us understanding of who we are in Him, including our own gifts (what we have a passion for, what we derive the most pleasure from as we serve). It's also good to acknowledge where He has placed us. "Where has God put me right now?" What is in front of me to do? Have I said "yes" to something that is keeping me from taking care of these important things?

A reminder: If we are loving God and our families, and doing good works as God brings them to us to do, then we are going to be busy, overwhelmed at times, frazzled at times, exhausted. But that's because we are working hard, we are loving God with our minds and bodies, and we are taking care of people and bearing their burdens. It's not a sin to be busy or tired. What we have to guard against is not listening to the Lord (and our husbands), and therefore doing what we’ve not been called to do, or trying to do it in our own strength. Remind yourself that it's not all up to you. You don't have to feel guilty when you take a step back and leave things with the Lord. "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matt. 11:28

God may have called you to help your husband be hospitable (a requirement for a leader in the church, and a priority in my role to serve Mark), to help him manage your children and your own household well (another requirement from 1 Tim. 3), to homeschool, to farm and help provide nutritious food for your family, to run a business, to be your husband's bookkeeper or administrative assistant, to be a musician and edify the Body with your gifts, to speak, to make your surroundings beautiful...there are unending possibilities! I think in times past, women understood better how important their role was in helping their husbands to succeed in his God-given calling and in being well-respected in the community (church and civic). Now it is more “fashionable” to belittle our husbands in public, but there was a time when that was not so. 

I want to say that I have to revisit this principle of my capacity as a woman several times each year. I’m still learning. My natural tendency is to commit to more than is healthy for my marriage and family, out of feeling obligated and wanting to please people. Honestly, with being a pastor’s wife comes responsibility and stressful situations that are ongoing. Over the past couple of years, I’ve done a lot of praying about this because I see that my children are growing up and leaving home, and I’ve asked the Lord what my role will look like when it’s just Mark and I at home. I wondered if it would be time to pursue my own interests now, or should I look for ways to help Mark more. I’ve been torn at times thinking that maybe now I can use my gifts in different ways than I have before. I don’t have all the answers, but I feel pretty clearly from the Lord that I am still Mark’s helpmeet, and I should look there first to see if there is anything I can do for him. This is a life calling, as long as we both shall live. 
I believe there is a healthy balance for each of us, and I believe that God gives us rest and refreshes us and gives us pleasure as we pursue Him and use the gifts He’s given us to use in our own unique role. I believe that He has equipped us for every good thing, and that I need to rely on Him and His wisdom, instead of my own. Though we will get tired and overwhelmed, it's a good reminder that we cannot serve in our own strength. 

In closing, let’s celebrate our differences as women. They reflect God’s creativity and love for mankind. Let’s embrace our Biblical role as women of God in the home and in the church. And let’s pray that God will reveal to us our unique role in serving our husbands, children, church, and those outside the church, as the Lord wills." 

Sermon audio of their talk

Cindy Fox is one of my favorite ladies; these notes are a sampling of what we are blessed with by her teaching on a regular basis. The knowledge she shares is steeped in prayer and God's Word.  
Thank you, Cindy for sharing with us, we love you! 

Here are a few pictures from our weekend. 

Welcome to the conference.  

Our own Jamie, our resident chef, organized and cooked the delicious food. 

But true to Antioch fasion, she had a lot of help. Thank you, ladies  :) 

Laura made a quiet room for mothers or people in need of prayer time. 

Or maybe just a kiss .. a chocolate kiss  

Thank you Jordan and Sarah for managing the book table. 

Awesome men 

Mark and Hope 

Caleb and Celia 

This is what Jamie calls a simple breakfast. WOW! It was beautiful. 

Chrissy organized games and fellowship for the children. She was able to accomplish her plan because of our sweet teens that jumped right in to help. 

Fall color 

A short clip from the conference of our absolute favorite band. 
To hear more from them click Here

This is a picture of dinner. I did not get to the serving table soon enough. The food was so good the containers were emptying quickly. 

These two ladies, Hannah and Elisa were on the scene to help. 
Hannah Fox, who stepped in since dad was ill, is an accomplished young woman capable and smart, she did a FANTASTIC job keeping an eye on details and delegating as needed. (Thanks for being there Judah)  

Here is the link for the conference if you would like to look up the speakers

Here is the sermon audio link to rehear a selection of speakers.

Finally, sisters 

Ephesians 5:1-22 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Joe Davidson Park

Our annual picnic is filled with happy fellowship. 

Exploring nature 


Working on new sport skills 

And of course, the food is WONDERFUL

Here I caught Dan with a mouth full of food and Ray teasing Nita. 

I like this pic, here are 3 of our single men. 
We will be praying for them as they venture forth as the Lord calls them. 

Mother and daughter



After a full day we go home tired but thankful. 
These are happy days with our church family. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

2014 Women's Retreat

  Holden Beach

We showed up for our spring ladies retreat to be blessed by lovely beach homes, beautiful sisters, lots of food and the truth of our Blessed God.

Can you imagine the energy level and the chatter? Happy faces everywhere. Catch up fellowship, adorable babies to love. And a coffee pot kept going, decaf or caff .. you choose. Creamer? Low fat? Sugar free? Flavored? Half and half? Yep, it was all there. Plates of fruit, homemade cookies, muffins .. all served with a smile.

The ages in our group ranged from 2 months old to 60 something. Everyone in the same group. We served together, we played together, we worshiped together.

We visited the beach being warmed by the sun and the sand. 

Photo by Sara Curtis 

Our new attendants among us splashed and laughed in the water. Running from the beach to the pool to the the warming jacuzzi bathtub.  It had to be FREEZING but you would never have known it.

Thank you Jennifer Holmes for the beautiful photography

I would say the spirit of the weekend was a little bit of heaven. 

To bring our hearts to worship we sang praises to our God that we love.

We came to the retreat for more than just fellowship. The time had come for us to gather to hear from the Lord through His vessels, Deborah Cobb, Cindy Fox and Hope Kemp and Tara Ariel. 
The topic was suffering. Amidst all our fun and fellowship each of us carried our own burdens in our hearts and those very burdens were the ones we examined.

Deborah brought a suitcase as a  symbol to remind us to take a look into our own hearts to see what we packed to bring with us to the retreat. We had a lot of different things. There were as many different things packed in our hearts as there were women. Women of multiple stages in life with different dynamics. Young ladies, just embarking. Single women, married women. Children, no children.Even those recreating their lives in their 50's and 60's. 

It's no surprise that we found that even with all those differences the Word of God could speak to each one, individually. 

Deborah shared the importance of time spent alone with the Lord. There in His presence is where we can find rest. When we take that time to be quiet with Him we are shown His truths about us. Sometimes our thoughts race through our minds that are contrary to His purpose. When we get alone with the Lord and His Word we renew our minds and by the power of the Holy Spirit our thoughts are put into proper order. 

I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.
Psalm 40:1-3 

Cindy and Hope took us to 1 Peter 3 and 4. 

Recognizing that everyone suffers, how we walk through the suffering is the strengthening value. 

Quoting Elisabeth Elliot 

 Suffering is having what you don't want or wanting what you don’t have.

The deepest things that I have learned in my own life have come from the deepest suffering. Out of the deepest waters and the hottest fires have come the deepest things that I know about God. I imagine that most of you would say exactly the same. I would add this that the greatest gifts of my life have also entailed the greatest suffering. The greatest gifts of my life for example have been marriage and motherhood. And let’s never forget that if we don't ever want to suffer, we must be very careful never to love anything or anybody. The gifts of love have been the gifts of suffering. Those two things are inseparable.

It was encouraging to understand that all of our suffering is beneficial with God. The difficult things in life as well as the tragic are all being used to transform our hearts into the likeness of God.
We learned that just being alive on our planet earth is reason enough for suffering. 
But, if we are to suffer, let us suffer for doing good ...

17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah,while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

God did not save Noah from the warning or the flood waters but God made a way for Noah and his family. That's what the Lord does for us, He makes a way for us as we are living through the suffering of this life. 

Lastly, Tara shared her personal experiences. I heard her talk about happy times and hard times. Their life on the island is impacting many people and likely will have an effect for years to come but it's not without a cost. They share in the suffering of the saints. The culture they live in is all messed up. At one point there had been an offense and the perpetrator defensively argued with Nate stating the offensive acts are just part of the culture, and I just LOVE what Nate said, he looked him straight in the eye and told him, 
"No sir, that is not a cultural behavior that is sinfulness and it will not be tolerated."
 Wow! You go Nate. Calling sin for what it is. 
That circumstance was a long road for them to suffer but they have traveled it and there is peace again. 

We ended the retreat sharing what the Lord had taught us, I asked if anyone would mind sharing their thoughts from the retreat and Nicole Manning sent me this message 

I enjoyed the deeper conversations that brought me to not only tears, but to renewal. I could not pinpoint what was one of the feelings I have felt on and off this past year through the rough waters of a trial, but God, who is rich in mercy, used a sweet sister on numerous occasions to soften my heart and for me to see what was weighing heavy on my heart. I think sometimes as women, its hard to relate at such a deep level when we hold back so much, in fear of what others may see as weakness. But, are we not most used by the Lord when we are weak and willingly being molded by the potter? God used her heart to heart with me to strengthen and renew me through his truth. You know who you are sweet sister!!! God bless! It was a wonderful time of fellowship and friendship with all the ladies as well. Love you all!

I know many of us were encouraged and ready to go back home with a stronger walk with the Lord. Thank you Deborah, Cindy, Hope and Tara for your time of preparation. The Lord used you as His willing vessels to draw us closer to Him. 

On our way home we stopped for lunch .. here is one group of ladies having a final time of fellowship before heading home