Monday, December 13, 2010

Today I cried like a baby

When God moves us, it is never a small, minuscule feeling that could be the equivalent of a pin prick on our fingers. No, when God moves us, it's like lightning has struck us and is surging through our bodies from head to toe. At that moment, we know that we are exactly where He wants us to be and the Holy Spirit takes over. If you've ever felt like this, congratulations you have been moved.

Today I had some errands to run around town. I was on my way back to my house and I decided that instead of getting my usual sonic meal I would go to Panda Cafe and get dumplings. Its a little more then my dollar choice but for some reason I felt like I had to go there and that if I didn't get my dumplings I would die!!! So I walked in and was greeted by a girl my age with a thick chinese accent. She took my order and we began to talk.

Candy told me she had just moved to lees summit from China 6 months ago to work here with her Aunt. She left her parents and siblings in hopes of finding a better life in the states, free of persecution. She told me of her hopes of going to a college and getting a degree and then the conversation took a turn. She asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I told her about being in college to be a teacher and about my dreams to do mission work and ministry. Her eyes lit up.

That's when she told me about her new found faith in Christ. She told me that in China they are taught in school that there is no God. She said when she came here she was shocked at these people called christians and how they are so very different from anyone else. She said she has never felt more joy then when she is praying and trying to read her Bible. "He is always there when I need Him," she said, "and I wish I could share Him with everyone back home."

We exchanged email addresses and I told her that I would be praying for her and that I want to be apart of her journey here in America. My 7 dollar dumpling meal was well worth it.

When I got in the car I said to God, "Lord I want to pray for Candy..." and then thats when it hit me. I started crying like a baby. I was sobbing. It was intense. I felt everything Candy felt. The pain of being separated from her family and country. The hurt of being lied to her whole life about our God. Her desires to tell her family in China about her life and how He has changed her. I just cried it all out the whole way home.
If a 20 year old girl from China has to come to the United States to hear about God... what happens to the rest of the 20 somethings in China who are still living a lie?

Pray urgently. Feel what they feel. And do something about it. That's what God said when He moved me. I cracked my fortune cookie when I got home. It said "Let us train our minds to desire what the situation demands." Have we trained our minds to see the world through Gods eyes? Do our trained eyes place desire in our hearts to do something about it?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's been a long time friends....

Hello my dears,
I think about the different ways God has been using you all and impacting others lives and I think about how greatly I long to see you all live for Him. I miss you all so very much and if I could I would wrap up a hug and send it to you in an email I would.

I wanted to give you guys a little update on what's been going on in my life. I am at UCM, doing collegey type things. I will say it's not nearly as scary as I thought it would be transferring from a small college to a big one. There are plenty of Christian groups around campus to get involved in, but none of them are as fun as our club. I've heard through the grapevine that club has grown even more since last year! I can hardly believe it. God is taking over Summit Lakes Middle School!

I'm still a youth leader at Eagle Creek and I would love for you guys to come see me. :) I am also going to update this blog every week from now on. I'm sorry I have let it go this long my friends. God has so much to show us and here I am dilly-daddling about.

Today God broke me into little tiny bite size pieces when I listened to Adam Young (Owl City's) version of In Christ Alone and read his blog post. How many times to go about our day and forget that we live for one reason, for Christ Alone. What are we doing to live for Him?
I will had a hyperlink that will send you to his post. Give it a listen.

I love you all so much it hurts!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Our last day- Farewell Friends

Today was our last day for the summer and my last day for Club 121. It was a sad day for me, looking at all of your smiling faces and knowing that when I left I'd cry the whole way home. Some of you gave me cards and gifts which was so sweet and made me feel special. I am happy to know that I impacted your life in such a way! I wanted to give you a bit of the speech I had prepared for today. Just some last words before I say goodbye.

I'm leaving you today hoping that you can realize what you have here. This is a rare opportunity to go through junior high and high school with a family of warriors fighting the same battle and taking care of each other. Are you going to throw that away? Two years in the making of this club will you let it fall 7th graders? 8th graders will you stick together in high school? You are my family and I can not go with you to the next step on your journey. I wish I could still be around every Friday cheering you on but the time has come for you to leave my nest and spread your wings! I am so proud of each and every one of you! I know that you will continue to let your light shine and show the love of God to everyone you encounter! Stand together my family and keep our legacy going.

God blesses those who do what's right and share his love with everyone. He is very proud of you for even just showing up to club. Continue to make Him proud and to make me proud. When we get to heaven we will all be together forever. The people in our club are apart of your eternal family. How you treat them and the relationship you have with them is very important. When we get to heaven and we are having a club 121 at my mansion, what will we be talking about? Will we be talking about how badly so and so treated whats her name and how good the donuts were or will we be talking about how great it was to have each other through our trails and the impact we made on this world?

What we will be talking about will be up to you. The relationships you have with each person in this club will be up to you. We are a family forever. You can not escape us. So I leave you all with this and I pray you think on these words every time you look at each individual face from our club: Love one another like crazy, forgive like you never held a grudge and when you hold each other, never, ever let go. Form a circle of love, this is your family.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Its all in the Name

God has many different names in the Bible that we have been covering in club. Today we talked about why he has so many names and what that means. God's names paint a picture of who he is for us. It is impossible to capture the entire essence of Christ in one name!

Names are important. If names were not important he wouldn't have changed Saul to Paul, Abram to Abraham, Simon to Peter, or Sarai to Sarah. What their names meant, meant a lot to God. He wanted them to be a picture of their name and their name to be a constant reminder of who they should be.

So where does that leave us? God has a special name for each of us, a 'secret name' that will be only between you two someday. But right now we have our earthly names that give us definition. How can we take our name and make it into a constant reminder?

Our challenge today was to research what our name means and then put it as our facebook status. For example mine will say: JoAnna- Hebrew: Gift from God. I will strive to live up to my name.

In class Kylie came up to me and said, "it would be hard to live up to being a boomerang." I laughed and then thought about it on the way home. Boomerangs are awesome because they are always coming back to their master. Kylie can live up to her name by being like a boomerang, and always coming back to God.

So this is our mission! Its called a facebook outreach. Go share Christ love! Even if your name means hill, be a foundation for Christ. Or if your name means Royalty show the Royalty of God! I'm sure when you think about it, God will show you what your name wants you to represent.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Something happened today

I don't know how to describe it but something happened today. I woke up late, frustrated, and unable to breathe out of my nose. I thought I'd be able to recover on my way to club but it only got worse. I was happier when I saw everyone, but then I didn't get to teach my prayer lesson because everyone was talking. Frustration raised and then boom.

I was blank inside. I had finally hit the edge.

After club I got in my car and wanted to cry but I couldn't. Its like my tear ducts went on strike. They were dry just like my passion for my ministry. All I wanted was to go home and stare at my ceiling.

As I drove down the highway I passed a large Keebler truck. I started to think about all of the cookies inside. I wanted those cookies. I quickly devised a plan to hijack the truck and take all of the snacks. It was a genius plot that made me laugh, laugh until I cried.

It was at that moment that I realized that those cookies would never be mine. That I would never have the skills to hijack a Keebler truck. And that I might be called to lead a normal life, free of such life and death adventures. I might be called to just go to college then get married, be a teacher, have kids, grow old, and knit sweaters on the front porch and die all in the area of Lees Summit. Any other day I would hate everything about that thought, but today something happened.

I was o.k with the thought of being normal. People who know me know that I am not your typical 20 year old but I am certainly not a Beth Moore or off saving the world one homeless child at a time. Things I want to be more then anything. I have been so set on making sure my life goes according to my plan that I told God that I refuse to be anything less then my dreams. But what about Gods dreams for my life?

If God wanted me to hijack a Keebler truck he would've equipped me with the means to do so. If God wanted me to be a speaker at youth camps and travel the world, he would provide a way. But what if he doesn't? Will I sit around and pout wishing I wasn't dealt the short end of the stick? No way, at least not after today.

Whatever God wants, I want for my life.

I become jealous when I hear about my friends off joining missions schools, teaching in Ecuador, and going to Hillsong United in Australia. Not giving up, but being able to give years of their lives to God before starting college and getting married. I keep crying to God, "when is my turn? Look at all I do for you here! I want to go to Lord, its not fair!." Today God finally got my attention. He said, JoAnna, If your off saving the world, who will save my people here?

Click. Surrender.

As long as I am completely surrendered to God, He knows whats best for me. The idea of leading a stereotypical normal life is no longer this scary monster that will feel me with regret. My life will never be normal, not as long as I am working for the King. I will have great adventures, I will love, and I will be the woman God wants.

I'm not giving up on my dreams, I'm just giving in to God.

Sometimes God just wants to know if your willing to go and do His work. I'm willing to be whatever God wants. No more wishing my life away, His ways and His plan are better then my own. So I will continue my work in my ministry and live my life with a knew attitude. It's not my ministry, it's Gods. I am just happy I get to be apart of it.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Ally Ross, Tough Questions about Death

This morning we talked about how to answer some of the tough questions that come with the death of Ally Ross. In the midst of our own pain over what has been happening at the school, we are bombarded with questions about Christ and God because we are known as the Christians. Here are some of the things we talked about today for a refresher:

1.) Show the love of God to everyone even teachers who are suffering from our loss.

2.) This is an opportunity to share God grace with our fellow students. Don't miss this opportunity.

3.) Don't question your own faith in response to questions flying at you. Stand Strong!

Why would God take someone so young?

~ God works through everyone's life differently. And when God chooses to take someone so young, he does so for a bigger purpose that we can find hard to understand. Ally's life and her story, being a 8th grader who fought against cancer, is inspiring. People will hear the story of her life and her courage and want to know more about her. We may not see it now, but Ally would count it a privilege that her own life story will help lead so many people to Christ. And also remember, Ally may be gone, but she now lives with Christ and she will never be in pain again!
Watch the reactions of people at her funeral, I'm sure you will find people turning to God just as we should.

What happens after you die?

~God asks that we confess with our mouth that we love Him and that He is the almighty God and that we believe with all of our heart that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again. If we believe this, we will spend forever in heaven with God after we die. On the other hand if we do not believe this, we will live forever separated from God in Hell. God does not want anyone to go to Hell, but because of sin He can not be with us unless we have been forgiven. He loves us so much that He sent His son to take care of the sin that separated us so that we could spend forever with Him.

These are the two main questions that you will be asked as the Christians at SLMS. Please let me or any of the Christian teachers know if you have anymore questions. Also ask your youth leaders! Invite those friends who are hurting to club on Friday. Pray over them, and pray for Ally's family.

I love you all so much, and I couldn't have been more proud of you this morning! All 42 of you!

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Roller Coaster of Christ

Today Pastor Paul came in and talked to us about how to truly experience Christ. He compared Christ to a roller coaster specifically the Orient Express that used to be at worlds of fun. This ride was amazing for all of us who got to ride its furry! But it was shut down a few years back for causing minor brain damage. Those of us who have experienced the ride know how amazing it was.

Christ is the same. I can take hours every Friday explaining to you guys about how amazing the Orient Express is and you still would never get to 'experience' it fully. Unless you were on the ride with me 4 years ago screaming like a wild person, you won't ever truly get to experience it no matter how many describing words I use.

We can not fully experience God through listening to other peoples accounts of Him. Sure sharing testimonies and stories of faith and miracles helps, but unless you experience God in your life personally, you will never really know Him.

So what can you do to get to know your God better? Why don't you pray about it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Don't cry for me Club

Hey everyone,
So I kinda dropped a bomb on you guys this morning. I've been wanting to tell you guys that I would be leaving for awhile and there just didn't seem like a good time to do it. I love you all so much and going away to college was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made in my life. But before I leave, I want you to know that I will still be around. God has called me to live on campus, which is something I have never wanted to do ever in my life! I've been in college for 2 years at Longview, but in order to be a teacher I must go on to a university. Ill be updating this blog for the 7 of you who read it ;) And I will be back on the weekends and on Wednesday nights for those of you who want to see me at church. I'm sure I'll even be able to come to club once or twice. Ill only be an hour away!

I'm leaving you all in very capable hands. My youth pastor Paul will be taking my place and Veronica and Vanessa will be jumping in and taking charge to. You will love them leading because I love them. I'm crying right now. Tears of joy and sadness, tissue please?

I will always be here for you to email or facebook as well. Many of you even have my digits. If you need ANYTHING let me know! Your my family :)

Now onto other issues cause I aint gone yet! Next Friday is Friend day! I will be giving the message of salvation (how to get to heaven and put God in your life). This is a very important day because all you have to do is bring your friends who don't know about God to club and I will tell them for you! Sound like a good deal? Our goal is 50 kids! Can we do it?

We extended the bible bust this week so read during brightflight or whatever that thing is called!

I leave you with this thought:
If bees don't have knees, how do they climb trees?

Friday, April 9, 2010

David from Orange Glo- Trip to Planet Dirt-Tee

Meet David. David lived on the cleanest planet in the universe called Orange Glo. David was asked to go to college on planet Dirt-Tee by King Cleanest. Before leaving his planet, King Cleanest gave him an instruction manual before he left for Dirt-Tee. King Cleanest told him that in the manual were all of the instructions he would ever need to ensure that he stayed clean. He also told David that he should clean other people living on Dirt-Tee so that they could become a citizen of Orange Glo.

So David went to Dirt-Tee. At first he saw the planet for just what it had been named. It was the dirtiest place he’d ever been before. The air was polluted, the people looked unbathed for weeks, the streets were littered and it smelled awful. David moved into his dorm room and kept his instruction manual close to him. He took it everywhere. When David got even the slightest amount of dirt on him, he quickly followed the instructions. At first, he hated living on the planet. Eventually, David had the instructions memorized and he began leaving his manual at home. Day after day the manual sat in his dorm never leaving the table. David began getting comfortable in Dirt-Tee. He couldn’t smell that awful smell anymore, he would get dirty and be too tired or lazy to clean it, and all of his Dirt-Tee friends weren’t clean so why should he be?

Eventually the instruction manual became hidden by pizza boxes, papers, and food, and David was so dirty it was as if he had never lived on Orange Glo.

David’s time on Dirt-Tee had come to an end. A trip to his home planet was scheduled and he left not thinking about how dirty he was or about his instruction manual. When he got there, King Cleanest came to greet him. He saw how dirty David was and the King could not touch him, shake his hand, or stand within 50 feet of him. David realized that he had forgotten his instruction manual and forgotten how to become clean again. Because David was a citizen of Orange Glo, King Cleanest had his son, Prince Brandnew, come out to clean David of all of the dirt. Prince Brandnew was the only person in the universe that could clean anyone. As soon as he was clean, King Cleanest came to hug him and David began to cry because he felt so ashamed.

“Did you bring anyone with you to Orange Glo?” The King asked. “No,” replied David, “It’s too hard, everyone there is happy being dirty.” The King had a crystal tear drop from his eye, “Dirt-Tee is going to end soon. The whole planet will be destroyed; everyone on it who is not cleaned will not be able to come to Orange Glo. Instead they will die. I sent you there so you could save their lives. Where is your instruction manual?”

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What I learned on my RWJ

Today I got up and saw that the weather was going to be 78 degrees! So I put on my running shoes and my enormous skull candy headphones and ran out the door to the smooth sounds of Relient K. As I run I usually visual Jesus running next to me wearing a white, Gods awesome t-shirt, blue running shorts, nikes, and a yellow and green sweatband across His forehead. I love running with Jesus.

Jesus is fun to run with because He doesn't get tired so that means you have to keep up with Him. You can even race Him to the top of the Hill and sometimes He lets you win. I'm sure people passing by see me talking to myself and think I'm crazy but it's just because they can't see that I actually running with my best friend.

Anyway, today on my RWJ, Jesus told me something He's been wanting to share with me. We often hear that we need to extend our hands out to help 'the least of these'. But who exactly are theses least people? Often we think of the people suffering in Africa or homeless people. I don't think its too often people think of the rich and powerful as 'the least of these'. But God sees all people who don't know Him in this category. This is because without God we are the 'least', we are nothing.
Reaching out to the rich and powerful can be harder then reaching out to the weak and needy. RP's (rich powerfuls) think they already have the world so why would they need Jesus. The empty hole they feel inside is not fill-able by money and stuff. With that being said, our mission field has just expanded by millions of people.

Think of something you can do with Jesus like an RWJ. Talk to Him about who He wants you to reach out to. It may turn out to be a very different people after all.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Advocate, Who will speak for you when you die?

I John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an ADVOCATE with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

What happens to use when we sin and someone finds out? For example; You cheated on a test at school and your teacher catches you in the act. She confronts you and says, "little Johnny or Joanie, the consequence for this action is failure of the course and you'll have to repeat 7th grade." Your heart starts racing because you know your parents are going to kill you and everyone in class is staring at you as you hold back tears. That's when the guy who sits next to you stands up and faces your teacher. He says to her, "Mrs. Barker, Johnny/Joanie may have cheated on the test, but I would ask that you give me their punishment instead." Your shocked looking up at your teacher. She says to the guy who sits next to you, "Ok, that's fine. You fail. Johnny/Joanie, your no longer in any trouble."

God did this for us when he died on the cross to cover our sins. The punishment for our sins is death and Jesus died in our place. When we stand in front of God one day, Jesus will step in and take all of the blame for our sins.

How many of your friends do you know that don't believe in Jesus? When they stand in front of God one day, Jesus won't be able to stand up for them. What if the reason your friends spend eternity in Hell is because you didn't tell them that there is an Advocate available? Don't miss your chance! What will you say to God when he asks you why you didn't share Jesus with Sam who sat at your lunch table all year and will now spend an eternity in Hell?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hello My name is Dayspring

Luke 1:78-79 "Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

Dayspring? Kind of old englishy don't you think? But what does it even mean? The Bible is talking about our God, calling Him the dayspring from on high... so the word must be important. The word Dayspring according to webster means "The dawn of morning, day break. The first light of day."

God is comparable to the dawn of morning, or in other words, a brand new day. God wants to make a new day in us by making a new life for us. Once we have let Him into our lives, he makes us clean of our sins and new! Like a nice shiny sports car right off the lot!

Have you ever gone to bed anxious for tomorrow because you had the worst day ever? All you want is to wake up in the morning and have it be a new day. God is the ultimate new day! He gives us a new life! So next time you feel trapped in your old life, look to God. He is waiting with open arms to make all things new again. Your sunrise is waiting, but its a Godrise. Thats a new word I just made up because it fits with the lesson. Are you ready for your Godrise?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Praising God with our Words

Have you ever wondered what happens after a word goes out of your mouth and into the air? Scientist say that sound is a constant. This means that whatever you say continues to travel through the air, into space, and goes on to be existent forever. So everything you say is floating around the stars. Could you imagine what it would be like to hear those words forever. Every regretful, hurtful thing forever. Now look at it from Gods perspective.

"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh." Matt. 12:24 Now think about that. Sometimes we say things we don't mean, but if we said them in the first place they must have come from somewhere... This is when we need to have a heart check. Maybe we really do mean what we say.

So the next time we think its ok to curse, or demean someone, or yell, remember those words go on forever. You can not take them back. They are floating in space for all of Heaven to hear. And you might not think you meant what you said, but if you check your heart you may realize that something needs fixing.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Club 121 Name of God for the Week and Video

Hey Everyone,
So today we talked about AMEN. Just a recap, Amen is pronounced Amen not Aman. It means 'truly, and 'so be it' in Hebrew. But as we learned today, there is a point in the Bible Rev. 3:14 when an angel of the Lord calls God "The Amen." If we think about it, this makes perfect sense because God is Truth and He is!
You know, it's interesting stuff like this that God shows us so that we can strike up a conversation with our friends. Don't you think it'd be a great way to tell someone about God? Think of this scenario, someone in class yells out AMEN! to be funny, but you say to them, "Dude, I totally found out what the word means today at Club... Have you ever thought about it?" BAM! Jesus is getting shared and the Love is being spread.
Remember the world is our sandwich, make it good by spreading Jesus Jelly!
Love you all~ JoAnna

PS. Tell me what you think of the blog? Was it a good idea? Is it pretty enough?

Also one more thing. I came across this interesting video on youtube. It's about sharing our faith and how one kid got in trouble at his high school for carrying his Bible. Just think... what if we were to carry our Bibles at school? Do you think we have enough courage to do the same thing?