Saturday, December 14, 2013

Winter Wonderland

On December 7 wind chills in parts of Montana reached -50 degrees and were recorded as the coldest on earth at the time (note - it does help that Antarctica is in the middle of summer!) ... The coldest it got here in Bozeman that I saw was -26, feels like -45 degrees, so needless to say the past couple days where it made it back up into the 30's here have felt like a heat wave!

It was November 2011 when I first came on a site visit to Bozeman and God said "welcome home."  After preparations to leave Nashville I arrived in Montana in May 2012.  I can hardly believe it is already eighteen months later.

Stepping out of our comfort zone and what is familiar to us is an opportunity for God to grow us in ways beyond what we could imagine.  We can't truly understand the promise that the Lord is with us wherever we go until we are willing to leave where we are.  That doesn't always involve a physical move, but it does require a willingness to surrender our hearts to Him and allow Him to reveal anything we may be holding on to that is hindering what He wants to do in and through us.  It is allowing Him to prepare our hearts to say "yes" to Him before we even know what the question is.

God tells us in His word that "where our treasure is there our heart will be also (Matthew 6:21)."  Just as the greatest gifts in each season can never be bought, it is a reminder that the Greatest Gift in life also did not come wrapped in a box under the tree but through a baby lying in the manger - Jesus, who came to earth, lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and three days later rose from the dead ... Immanuel - God with us.  We are all sinners in need of a Savior.  And just as with any gift, we have to choose to accept it or it just sits there, useless.  Romans 10:9-10 says, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead you will be saved."  I learned more this year about the fact that we are not called to a religion or a lifestyle of busyness or a to do list, but first and foremost to a relationship with Him. The ability to love and serve others comes out of the overflow of the relationship we have with Him. The Gospel is the Good News and if He truly is our greatest treasure we should be more excited to share the eternal hope we have in Him with others than anything else!

Jesus + nothing = everything
Everything - Jesus = nothing

I want to thank each of you who have spoken His truth in to my life and so often provide tangible reminders of His faithfulness. We are meant to grow in community and I am so thankful nothing can ever separate us from His love. May we rejoice throughout this season and give Him all the glory.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

"Go tell it on the mountains, over the hills and everywhere. Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born!"

Monday, October 28, 2013

Glow in the Dark

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 6:14-16

A year ago, at the school where I now serve as the Athletic Director in Bozeman, just a few days before school was to begin, an arsonist set a fire the destroyed the school gym and some of the surrounding classrooms.  Throughout the last year we were graciously reminded that the school is not a building, but the families God has brought together. What man meant for evil, God truly used for good and the body of Christ that makes up Heritage Christian was given a platform to give glory to God through the trial.  The lyrics to the song “We Won’t Be Shaken” by Building 429 paint a picture of what we can say in all circumstances when our foundation is on the solid rock of Jesus Christ alone. 

“Whatever will come our way
Through fire or pouring rain
We won’t be shaken
No we won’t be shaken
Whatever tomorrow brings
Together we’ll rise and sing
That we won’t be shaken
No we won’t be shaken

We will trust in You
We will not be moved
We will trust in You
We won’t be shaken.”

The new gym and surrounding facility was finished just in time to kick off this school year and a couple days after school began we had a glow in the dark pep rally. It gave us an opportunity to unveil the new gym to students and introduce the fall sports teams.  Our theme was “glow in the dark because you are the light of the world.”  The world around us might not always be physically dark, but we are surrounded by those living in spiritual darkness, and it is our job to be the light of Jesus in those dark places, speaking boldly of the eternal hope we have in Him. What a blessing it is to be a part of a community that desires to make Him known everywhere they go.

This fall, in addition to organizing and overseeing everything in relation to athletics and teaching a couple PE classes at school, I also had the privilege of being an assistant coach for the 7th-8th grade girls’ volleyball team. The team went 9-1 in the regular season and earned the number one seed at the end of season tournament.  I also had the privilege of accompanying our varsity teams to the fall MCAA State Tournament in Kalispell.  Our varsity boys soccer team finished third, matching the best finish in school history and the varsity girls volleyball team also qualified for state this season, a school first.  It is such a joy to be around families and student-athletes who have a desire to honor the Lord and use sports as a platform to share the Gospel with those who are watching.  Basketball season is now getting underway. Whewww!

7-8 Volleyball

Soccer Game Day! :)
State Team Send Off Pep Rally

At Kirkwood Baptist Church, there have been new faces most Sundays along with some children visiting in Life Groups and Children’s Church.  We had our annual church hayride this past weekend where around 50 people attended and we have Trunk or Treat coming up Halloween night at the church. We are getting ready for winter events, including a Christmas Bible Study in a local apartment complex, participating in Operation Christmas Child and also a partnership with Love INC, a ministry that helps meet needs in His name throughout the community.  We are also kicking off a college/young adult age home group Sunday evenings so please pray that God would use each of those for His glory.


Every day I am so humbly reminded that God’s plans are so much better than anything we could ever imagine.  He uses everything to prepare us for what He will call us to do next and I am so thankful for the doors He has opened here in Bozeman. 

October in Bozeman!

My uncle Bill came up for a visit
over my birthday weekend in October

Please pray for:
-       -Upcoming ministry opportunities at Kirkwood – that His name would be lifted high and people in the community would see their need for a Savior.  Also, that Pastor James, our Youth Pastor Andrew, and myself would continue to be united in the work and prayerfully seek Him as we plan.
-       -For Heritage Christian School – staff, families and students to be a light for Christ here in Bozeman and be intentional in using the platforms God has given us to share the eternal hope we have in Him.
-       -Personally, for the ability to juggle the many responsibilities I have here, for the ability to continue to develop relationships in this community, and most importantly that I would continue to pursue Jesus every day. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Using Our Gifts for His Glory

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance, and perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete and not lacking anything." 
-James 1:3

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 
-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Many of you know I injured my back in college while on a golf scholarship to Vanderbilt University and ended up having to walk away from playing.  It was one of the most difficult seasons of my life to endure but also one of the sweetest because I learned that joy is not contingent on our circumstances but our ability to rest and trust in Jesus and His plan for our life, which is always far greater than anything we could come up with.  The night I would have left for my last tournament in college I got a call and offered a position with a traveling sports ministry that used sports camps as a platform to share the Gospel.  After that summer, other opportunities God has put in my path over the past five years have taken me around the country and the world seeing hundreds come to know Him.  We serve an awesome God.

In March 2012, after struggling for years with my back that effected my day to day living, let alone my ability to play sports, I had four nerve endings burnt off in the lower part of my back, and after a few months of rehab it was feeling stronger than it had in a very long time.  In May 2012 I moved to Bozeman, Montana to pursue what the Lord had for me here...  I didn't even know where my clubs were but last year while on a trip to clean out my dad's place after he passed away, I pieced together a set from what I found in the garage and ended up taking them with me back to Bozeman thinking maybe at some point I'd be able to hit a few shots again.  I pulled them out of the garage in late spring once all the snow had melted out here and was five years removed from tournament golf heading into this summer, but last week I competed in the Montana State Women's Amateur and below is the link to the news piece that was done after the tournament.  God works in ways far beyond what we could ever imagine and we can use any of the talents He has given us to bring glory to Him.  I am so thankful for all God has taught me through this and for the doors He has opened.  He is faithful and we can praise Him in every season and circumstance if our foundation is in Him.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we all ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever! Amen."
-Ephesians 3:20-21

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

All In A Month

Jesus answered, "It is written, 'Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'" -Luke 4:8

It was a whirlwind month of July but very thankful to see God at work through that time ...

Summer Sports Camp and Block Party:
A team from Columbia, TN came into Bozeman to help with our summer sports camp at Kirkwood. From 9-12pm each day for a week the children rotated through soccer, flag football, silly sports and Bible Study.  We had over 40 campers registered for the week and it was a great opportunity to use sports as a platform to share the eternal hope we have in Christ.  The kids were taught what it means to know and love and serve Jesus and to be a light for Him in their surrounding community. The week ended with an awards celebration where each child got an individual award and we showed the camp video from the week, followed by a pizza party with the kids and their families!  It is always fun to see each of the children improving their sports skills throughout the week, but nothing compares to seeing them grow in their relationship with Christ!

That week we also hosted a Wednesday night Block Party where we had 1000 pairs of shoes to give away.  It was a great evening with many people passing through and an opportunity to share the love of Christ and meet needs in the surrounding community.  Even though it was a rainy evening, we were able to give away a couple hundred pairs of shoes and had the opportunity to pray with some of the people who came through and shared their stories with us.

Provo, Utah Mission Trip: The week before sports camp a team of five adults and four children from Kirkwood went down to assist First Baptist Provo for a week.  We painted the outside of their church, cleaned the inside, assisted with Backyard Bible Club in an apartment complex and spent time with Pastor Russ and his family who I have gotten to know well over the past year.  We were reminded how important fellowship and mutual encouragement is in building up the body of Christ.  In Hebrews 3:13 it says, "Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called 'Today,' so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."  Satan would love nothing more than to see God's faithful discouraged and off track, so having others around to continually point each other back to the Lord is so important.  Beyond that, my favorite part of the week was getting to play soccer and kickball with the children in the apartment complex.  Most of them were bilingual and it was fun speaking some Spanish with them.  I am constantly reminded what a platform sports brings to build relationships that open up the door to share the Gospel.  Each of the children who played kickball stayed to listen to a devotion afterwards and we also had the chance to feed everyone who was there. 

4th of July weekend: At the beginning of the month, I was able to head up to northern Montana over the 4th of July weekend.  This was a week I was reminded how gracious the Lord has been to put some really sweet people in my life since I arrived in Montana.  I had the opportunity to stay in Bigfork, Montana for a few days with a family I have gotten to know through the golf course in Bozeman.  After a few days in Bigfork and Whitefish, I was able to take a quick trip through Glacier National Parkon the way back down.  It is beautiful there!

At the very end of July I had a super sweet friend that I got to know from my college days at Vanderbilt come through town after she worked a week of camp in Washington.  I was able to take Emily to check out a couple of the waterfalls up Hyalite Canyon and we also spent a day in Yellowstone and the northern part of the Teton National Park...

The rest of July also consisted of our last block party of the summer at Kirkwood and beginning preparation for August events which include a back to school giveaway, a youth camping trip and welcoming the MSU students back to school.  I have also been working at the golf course on the side and getting ready to start the Athletic Director duties at Heritage Christian.  It has been amazing to see the doors God has opened in Bozeman since He brought me there in May 2012 and I can't wait to see what He does moving forward.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever." Psalm 107:1

Please pray for:
- For God to continue to use Kirkwood and the other Bible believing churches in the area as a light for Him in a community that really needs Jesus and that we will be able to meet the needs of those He places in our path.  Also that Pastor James, Andrew and I would continue to follow His direction and never try to do anything in our own power.
- For God to provide all the children's workers necessary for Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings.
- To be able to spend my time as the Lord would have me to as I juggle responsibilities at Kirkwood, the golf course and serving as the Athletic Director at Heritage Christian School.  That I would be intentional each day in using my gifts for His glory.