Sunday, August 24, 2008

Eyes Wide Opened.....

Today started out like all of our other Sundays here in Wilmington.... we went to church and then we all met as a launch team to share together and pray together as a team..except this day we didn't meet in a home..we met at Greenfield Park here in Wilmington.  Paul and Noele had reserved the pavilion for us to meet and eat in while the kids played on the playground beside us. When we arrived we noticed there were people in the pavilion and me (ash) being the imperfect human I am thought to myself, "well, they need to get out because WE have reserved it"...I found the Lord quickly speaking to me about my initial thoughts and so we proceeded to unpack our coolers and "set up camp" so to speak.  I quickly realized that these just weren't people like us picnicking in the park, but they were homeless.  They soon realized we were there with an agenda  so they left and moved to the pavilion right across the sidewalk from us.  As we all sat around talking I sensed in my spirit the Lord nudging me to do something.  I wasn't sure what.  But the thought came to we are a new "church" and we have people observing us from a distance with REAL obvious needs.  So, what were we going to do to meet those needs today.  I wrestled in my thought processes....thinking, how do we do this.  I quickly found my judgmental attitude rising up within me saying, "but they are smoking, one has a cell phone, there is probably alcohol in those cups"..ugh...I hated I was thinking those thoughts.  I found myself thinking well they can afford those things, why not food?  I found the Lord quickly speaking to me and saying, "Ashley, it is not for you to judge them...just be ME to them".... As I was wrestling with what to do, I said to Noele, "I think we need to do something...maybe feed is so obvious they are watching us..what are we going to do?" She then mentioned to Paul that maybe we should cook up all we had and have the 15 or so homeless people come through the line and have what we had leftover.  I agreed.  It was amazing what happened after that as I sat back and watched our launch team slowly make our way out of our comfort zones to minister to these people.  It was like watching a slow motion movie take place.  Paul, being the outgoing talkative one that he is..announced to them all to make their way over and help themselves.  It was interesting to watch these people make there way over and introduce themselves and say thank you.  We had a chance to talk with a few of them and hear a little of their stories and as I sat there I found my judgmental attitude slowly fading away and I was moved to tears for these people.  Our hearts were breaking for them.  God was there today and he taught us something that even as we sit here and write this we are checked in our  spirits once again about something that has bothered us since our time today with the homeless people.  Why did we give them our leftovers?  Looking back on that today, we should have cooked everything and given it to them FIRST and WE should have gone without if we had run out.  It was like giving God our leftovers. It was a learning experience and yes, we know that we did what God was asking us to do, but realizing now that our human selfishness got in the way and we did it all backwards.  God help us as we strive daily to be YOU in the flesh.  We so realize that we will mess up, but thank you that you see past our faults and our sometimes backwards thinking.  
Today our eyes were wide opened to the SO many needs in our community.  Our prayer is that we never become "used to" the needs of those who have less then us.  We were quickly reminded today of the scripture that says, "The King will reply I tell you the truth whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine you did for me" Matthew 25:40
It all goes back to LOVING GOD, LOVING PEOPLE, and IMPACTING THE WORLD..  This is a process and an eye opener for all of us.  

Chris and Ashley

Friday, August 22, 2008

Being still and waiting....

Hey Friends,
I (Ash) decided it was time to update this blog on what God is teaching us in these early days of this church planting adventure. We just recently hung a chalkboard in our home that we call our "Scripture Board" where we post a verse that the Lord gives us to memorize for the week. The kids are enjoying memorizing and then placing a star on their "scripture charts" daily when they are able to recite it to us. Through this, God has given us a verse this week that is before us EVERY day so that we cannot forget what He is requiring us to do...The verse is Psalm 37:7a which says..."Be still in the presence of the Lord and WAIT PATIENTLY for Him to act..." (NLT). The Lord is teaching us to wait on all areas of our Ally, this is waiting for God to reveal to her the purpose of this move in her life..she questions how she is going to find a friend here...for her this journey has been a little more difficult in that she didn't have a friend that moved with her like Caleb and Anna Kate did. It seems that each move we have made it always is the most difficult for her. I keep telling her that God has an AWESOME plan for her here in Wilmington and God called her just as he did each of us to step out in faith. To Caleb and Anna Kate this verse is teaching them to wait patiently in their daily lives and in their eyes their interpretation is that God is teaching them to be patient... to them they say "patient with each other and when we tell them as their parents they need to WAIT". I chuckle when I think of each of their interpretations but nonetheless each one is a lesson God is teaching them....For Chris and is learning to BE STILL in His Presence and wait for HIM to show us what direction HE would have Crosswinds to go....We only want God's fingerprints all over this new church and there is SO much planning and preparation ahead of us....we don't want it to be us at ALL....we only want God's leading and His direction. Please pray for us that we will continually be in constant prayer for His leading and for us to be able to have much wisdom and discernment in the days ahead. God is SO good and we have been in awe at what He is teaching each of us who are a part of this launch team. God is up to something BIG and we are humbled to be on this journey with Him. Thank you to our friends and family for your love and for your prayers. We so appreciate each of you.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Recent Photo

Hey everybody, just wanted to share a recent photo we took of our family out near the battleship here in wilmington. I can't believe how quick the kids are growing up. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Getting Settled

We are beginning to settle into our new Wilmington lifestyle and are enjoying it more and more each day.  We love being near the beach and having access to a pool whenever we want. More than that we are being amazed by God's faithfulness everyday. A couple of things that God has done over the past few weeks is to work out the details with the kids schooling and also provided Ash with a great job. I can't say it enough how awesome it has been to see God working through all the details. 
As far as church planting goes we are loving more and more everyday that God called us with such wonderful people to plant Crosswinds Church. They are such good friends and I look forward to what God has in store for all of us as we journey together. We have just recently started meeting every Sunday after attending a local church. We have had two meetings that we have been able to get to know each other a little more but more importantly pray together as a team.  We have been praying for each other and praying for what God wants to do through Crosswinds in the days ahead.  Please keep praying for us that God will continue to use us to make a difference for the kingdom.


BIG God using little us.

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

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