Monday, November 29, 2010

Apply it to Me Monday

We hope all of you reading this had a fantastic Thanksgiving! We enjoyed being with family over the weekend. It was wonderful to be back with our church family yesterday after missing a Sunday for Winter Camp. We love our church and the people that make it what it is.

Something God has really placed on our heart to do through our blog is to post a scripture each Monday and discuss how we can apply it to our everyday life. So the name... "Apply it to Me Monday." Although there is not much time to go into great detail today, it's our goal each Monday to allow God to speak to us through His Word, and then to share that with you! We can look back over so many times a particular scripture carried us through difficult circumstances, or times a scripture brought about breakthroughs in our lives when we applied them. God has made so much available to us through His Word. All we have to do is tap into that and it becomes power and life to us!

Now, it's already after 3:00 today, but this will not be typical for the Mondays to come. We will have these posts up in the a.m. so you can check it out before you start your work week. Today's verse is explanatory for why we are doing this:

“For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope.” Romans 15:4 NET

No matter the season you are walking through in life presently, whether bright or dark, happy or sad, on a mountain top in your relationship with Jesus Christ, or wondering if God is even there, these scriptures are for you. We pray that through "Apply it to Me Monday," you will be strengthened and encouraged!

In His Love,
Josh & Jill

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gratitude

After a full weekend of camp we are ready for some time with family, good food, and rest! We are so blessed. In reflection of all we have to be thankful for, we could not help but remember some special people who made camp happen this year. We thank God for the ministry that happens through them and for the friendship He has given us.

Chresten Tomlin was the guest speaker at Winter Camp. Our lives are enriched each time he ministers. We are thankful for the message he preaches, and the challenge he sets before students to truly live a life that follows Christ with no compromise. You can learn more about his ministry at ctministries.com.



Allen & Angela Chapin are our amazing District Youth Directors of Louisiana. They are what makes the camp experience happen for students! We are so thankful for their hearts and constant source of encourgement. They are truly the best, and we thank God for positioning them in the role He has.



We know that many of you reading this blog are thankful for these awesome people as well! So don't let an opportunity to give them a shout out pass you by! Leave a comment expressing your appreciation. It will make their day!

One other thing we are thankful for... you! Thanks for reading our blog, being a support to us, and maybe even lifting us up in prayer from time to time. We love getting to stay connected to people through our website and blog.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May it be a blessed day for you all!

~Josh & Jill

Monday, November 22, 2010

Winter Camp Photos

Winter Camp was a blast for everyone! Friday night we enjoyed a bonfire & hot chocolate after service. Then, Saturday temperatures were up to 75 degrees, then cold again at night. The mild to cold weather set a different tone for camp than in the summer. We loved it.

Our worship band led the worship for each service. We were so proud of them! So many students and sponsors from other churches complemented them on being so genuine. They really are about worshipping God, not just looking and sounding good. God is really using each of them to usher worshippers into His presence in a powerful way.

Our absolute favorite part of camp is the altar time. That is our motivation for going. We love praying for students from all across the state and watching God touch their lives. We saw God stir a hunger in our own students to really operate in the gifts and callings that He offers. One student received a call to full time ministry this weekend. One student felt clearer direction in their calling. It's exciting to take a group of students who are saved and in love with Jesus. It makes camp more fun in a sense. Rather than going to the altar to get saved or repent of deep sin, they run to the altar in pursuit of knowing God more, and sometimes they even minister to other students there. We had incredible times in the altar each service. It will be fun to watch the fruit of those times develop over the weeks and months to come in our Wednesday night services.

We know you are ready to see pictures, so we posted several! Hope you enjoy!





















Sunday, November 21, 2010

Camp Update

We are waiting in the cafeteria for our turn to serve the students supper, and have finally timed it to where we are able to blog with Internet connection! Yesterday we just had tons of difficulty getting connected during free moments. We were extremely excited about posting pics throughout the weekend, but must apologize. We did not pack the USB cord for the camera! We will post pics as soon as we possibly can!

We have had some TREMENDOUS times in God's presence. Friday night students responded to God's word in repentance. Last night many more repented, & God poured out His Spirit! Our hearts are so full & expectant for what will take place in tonight's service. The students have really enjoyed the morning sessions in which they are challenged to live a life compelled by God's love for us.

The weekend so far has been so special to the hearts of everyone here. We've created lots of fun memories just hanging out, playing games, going bowling today, not to mention the closeness that comes from experiencing God together in the altar. I wish we could write more right now, but duty calls from the serving line!
We love you, & cannot wait to share those pics with you!

Josh & Jill

Friday, November 19, 2010

Winter Camp Here We Come!

We will shortly be loading up approximately 35 students to head off for our state Winter Camp. We are excited, our students are excited, and parents are excited to hear the stories of how God moves in the lives and hearts of their students.

Here are a few things we are believing God for in fulfilling His purpose through this time set apart for Him:

1. His protective covering over our students and students across the state as we travel.

2. An incredible anointing on our students as they lead worship.

3. Receptive hearts to the words that will be spoken through evangelist, Chresten Tomlin.

4. Wisdom and discernment for Josh as he teaches the morning sessions.

5. Intense times in God's altar that empowers students to walk in their potential for Christ.

6. Joy, bonding, and increased unity among our group.

Thanks for taking the time to follow us on our blog. Thanks for lifting us up in prayer. Parents, thanks for trusting us with your kids. It's a responsiblity we do not take lightly, and an absolute joy to watch God at work in their lives!

So, that's it. We're off to camp!

~Josh & Jill

Monday, November 15, 2010

Little Mommy

Little Aubrey loves, loves, loves every one of her baby dolls. You would think she would just be attached to a particular one, but she is attached to them all! We have so much fun watching her be such a mom to her babies. She will walk around the house and try to go places with literally 5 or 6 dolls in her arms. We want both our girls to follow the plan God has for their lives, and never want to place an expectation on them that would interfere with that plan. It would not take us by surprise, however, if God's plan for Aubrey included running an orphanage! She is so concerned for every doll.

Throughout the day, she sees to it that they get their naps. This weekend I was cleaning the house, preparing for our life group that we host in our home every 2nd & 4th Sunday night of the month. As I cleaned, I discoverd sleeping babies EVERYWHERE! I posted a few pics just for fun.

These babies are on opposite sides of the Moses basket,
both carefully tucked in with a blanket.


These two are having a little nap together on the floor.

When babies go missing, I've learned to check the cabinets.
I guess they make for a cozy little dark place.
These two are having cheerios for a snack.

Aubrey gets to eat what they don't. :-)

Aubrey is right with me while I'm cutting the bell pepper for our fajitas at Home Life Group.
So are her babies.
She's one happy little mommy.


We wish everyone a fantastic week. God Bless!
~Josh & Jill






Thursday, November 11, 2010

Winter Camp

A few things we are so excited about over Winter Camp next weekend:

1. Giving our students the opportunity to retreat and experience God's presence.

2. Early morning walks and private devotion spent with God.

3. The chance to be with other youth ministers around the state that we only see at events like this.

4. The fact that the weather will be nice. November is like a Michigan summer in Louisiana!

5. The time we'll get to focus on ministering to our incredible students! As much as we love the precious girls God has given us to train up, we cherish the times we get to minister with undivided attention.
Below we have posted a few pics of our incredible students we'll be with at camp.


Each Wednesday, we split into Connect Groups for
small group time.
We've got some Godly girls in our bunch!



A little confession: I had actually posted a few more pictures, but got a little too happy with the backspace key and deleted them! I am not blog savvy enough to get them back without having to nearly start over, so we're a few pictures short of what we would have been! Sorry if you're a student and were really hoping to see your picture on here! Hopefully we will have opportunity to update the blog with pictures during Winter Camp of what's going on! If not, we will get pictures up shortly after! Love you all!









Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Progress

I was wishing so much today that the girls were big enough to take a picture of how Boston looked during our leash walking training session! I would have LOVED to post a picture. I was so proud of him. He did not flop like a fish one time! (If you haven't read our previous blogs, you may be feeling a little lost. Saturday's blog tells the story of our episodes with Boston, our Brittany Spaniel, and the leash!) I have come to the conclusion there is something about a leash that just terrifies him. When we began working with him today, he immediately put both front paws on that leash like he was ready for the dog dance show. Then he moved one paw to my back jean pocket with the other paw still on the leash. Then with both paws wrapped around my leg he kept up with me. This was when I realized he must really be scared. It reminded me so much of when the girls hug on my leg when they are feeling insecure about something. Finally, after several laps around our small yard, he WALKED! All fours! The girls gave him lots of encouragement and treats. I think we'll be taking a nice family walk really soon, and maybe even a trip to the park... all five of us!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Monday

I'd like to take a moment to say "Happy Monday" to all our readers out there. This morning the girls are playing well (the reason I am able to blog right now... smile) and we have our radio station, miracle 89.1 playing because we want to catch our pastor sharing a one minute devotional on the radio. Last Monday was the launch of the new radio ministry, and since we haven't slowed down to catch it yet, we decided today is the day. Pastor shares a one minute devotional on the radio each day, three times a day. We are so thankful for what God has done in our midst at Gateway Church, and are full of anticipation to see what He has in store for the weeks, months, and years to come!

Yesterday we had a special service in which our pastor began a series called, "How Does Anyone Stay Married Fifty Years?" At the end, every couple in the building stood at the front and renewed marriage vows. It was a special moment between Josh and me, but also was a special moment to look around and see all the married couples God has drawn into our church. Just a year ago, our church was devastated and in state of absolute emergency. From a business standpoint, and for all practical purposes, the church should not have survived. Yesterday we had over 300 people for the first time in over a year! God is so good.

If you are interested in the one minute devotionals that our Pastor has written, you can click on our link to the Gateway Church website and there is a place for you to sign up to receive a devotional each day via email. We love you, and thank you for all the prayers you lifted before our Heavenly Father in our time of need. As I reflect on the past year, I am reminded of a scripture God spoke to me in February. It has sustained Josh and me and it is our prayer that it will do the same for you.

"He is your constant source of stability. He abundantly provides safety and great wisdom; He gives all this to those who fear Him." Isaiah 33:6

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Born to be Free

Somehow October slipped away from us before we could blink twice! We were so busy last month potty training little Aubrey, and I am proud to announce that we have been in big girl undies on errands in town, at church nursery, home, and even bedtime through the night for an entire two weeks! No more diapers, no more pull-ups, Aubrey is officially a big girl and we couldn't be more proud of her! This would make me a little sad to think of our "baby" being all grown up, but the thought of how we can put all that extra diaper money to good use cheers me right up!
In the midst of potty training a very busy little two year old girl, we've made an effort to go on evening walks with our Brittany Spaniel puppy, Boston. The first time we tried to walk Boston with a leash he would not have it. Feeling a little sorry for him in how hard it must be to be such a little guy living in a strange home, we decided not to push the issue right away. We got in the habit of taking walks where the neighborhood is still developing, and there is minimal traffic. He does a pretty good job of just keeping up with us leash free. Today I must have felt up to a new challenge. I decided to go out in the yard with the girls and put that leash on Boston, who has doubled in size since our last "training" session, and teach him to walk. The moment he saw the leash, he took off running trying desparately not to get caught by the woman with the leash. Once I finally harnessed him, he refused to walk. I had to literally drag him, and even then he flipped around like a fish out of water trying to get free. At one point he had both front paws holding the leash and was walking on his hind legs. It looked like some kind of dance you see in those dog shows on TV. Later in the day, we braved a walk down the street. Even though I'm embarrassed to admit it, this was his first real training session. He didn't catch on very well. We drug him around the neighborhood. The girls found it so funny. You should have seen him when he saw the fence leading to the back yard. He couldn't wait to get inside it and detach the leash.
I guess the whole adventure reminded me of us, and our longing for freedom. I really couldn't blame Boston for not wanting to be on a leash, but I wanted for him to understand that this was his ticket to leaving the confinement of the back yard. If he would walk with us, and obey our commands, a trip to the park with the girls would be a lot of fun. So far, he's staying home when we go to the park. Hopefully training session two will bring more progress.
We can be the same way at times, can't we? So often it's the difficult things, the trials, the testing, that are the very things that free us. At the time all we can see is the restriction of the leash, but if we'll allow God to teach us, and follow His guidance, we may just get to take a trip to the park!
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