Home church

February 8th, 2015 Posted by 1 comment

homechurchWhen God does new things, changes direction, offers us a road less traveled we often do not appreciate it. We question whether we heard Him correctly or rationalize that what appears to be His direction really can’t be.

For the past several years, through many circumstances, our church is now a Home Church.

I know.

“Really,” you say? “How can that be?” you question.

Believe me, you are asking nothing more than what I have over and over.

Everyone knows that Home churches aren’t really churches at all. At least not here in America. They’re too different.

What’s different about them from real churches?

Do you teach?  Yes. Worship? Yes. Fellowship? Yes. Support ministries? Yes.

In other words, act just like a real church congregation. Just a congregation meeting in a home instead of a building set aside for that purpose once or twice a week.

As usual, my arguments have the substance of wet tissue paper.

Truthfully, the older I get, the more I realize what an albatross around my minister-husband’s neck I’ve been for years. He is the one who catches the vision, speaks it into reality, holds onto the path God has chosen without looking back.

I am Lot’s wife. I look back to predictability, routine, life-like-it’s-always been. I like my life where it is. I don’t like change.

Ann Voskamp says you cannot get clear new water without digging a well, and digging a well involves breaking through the hard barrier of the ground to find the richness beneath.

What God is doing today is not what He did yesterday. Yes, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, but His methods are not. Who knows what the future of the Church will be in America? No one does, but it appears by the growing number of Home Churches that we may be the cutting edge of a surviving American Church.

So, no more whining about what I do not have, about what is comfortable, but instead, eyes forward, I look ahead to what God is doing today, in my life, in the lives of those of us who call Victory Church our home.

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Hopes for a Happy Peace-filled Christmas

December 16th, 2014 Posted by No comments

christmas

I imagine many of you relate to the line from Paul’s letter to  the Corinthians where he said, “Your lives are a letter  written in our hearts; known and read by everyone…” This  is what I feel when I see my children standing strong in  God, growing and ministering. I wish to say, “There! That is  what I spent my time on, they are the evidence of my  sincerity, prayer, and dependence on God to raise up godly  children.”

They all grown now, wives, a husband, secure in themselves and where God has placed them and they make me smile. A lot.

Jana is a board member of Blossom Ministry in Washington State. She wrote in their winter newsletter the following article I’d like to share with you.:

Planting Gardens

 At this point, if you’ve been reading our Blossom Newsletter in the last couple of years you know that my husband and I lost our son when I was 5.5 months pregnant.  It’s been more than 2 years since we lost him, 3 years since we first learned we would probably deal with infertility, and with another miscarriage last spring it’s an understatement to say we’re tired of loss and waiting.

 This is my HARD place.  My “dark night of the soul” if you will.  I feel like I am in an never-ending         desert; wilderness; dare I say, exile?

 What do you do when you have been sent to exile?  Either by your own choices or simply because this broken life finds itself there…how do you cope when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel?  And what do you do while you wait?

 Jeremiah chapter 29 opens with a letter that Jeremiah wrote to the exiles.  He says that the Lord God of Israel commands that these exiles should, ”…Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce…Increase in number there; do not decrease.

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Build. live. plant. eat. multiply. pray.

In other words: You’re going to be here for awhile.  You may as well be productive while you wait.  That list is full…years worth of stuff to keep you busy while you wait for freedom.  The exiles were banished for 70 years before God brought them home.  What a LONG time to sit and twiddle your thumbs.  Maybe not as long of a time if you have something to show for yourself while you waited     expectantly.

We find more lists from God throughout scripture. 

In Psalm 37:7-9 we are told to trust, do good, dwell, cultivate, delight and rest.  In Proverbs 3:5-6 God  reminds us to trust and not lean on our own understanding.

Once Jeremiah gives God’s commands to the exiles he brings a word of hope:  “This is what the Lord says:

“When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”  ~ Jeremiah 29: 10-14

 He promises light at the end of the tunnel!  I  don’t know when that will be for me or for you  but someday we will be brought home from exile.  Multiple times God promises to bring us home:

Ezekiel 21:41  ”When I bring you home from exile, you will be like a pleasing sacrifice to me.  And I will display my holiness through you as all the  nations watch!”

Jeremiah 12:15 says “But afterward I will return and have compassion on all of them. I will bring them home to their own lands again, each nation to its own possession. “

Deuteronomy 30:1-10 (paraphrased)  In the future when you are living among the nations to which the Lord your God has exiled you, take to heart all these instructions. Then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes. He will have mercy on you and gather you back from all the nations where he has scattered you. Even though you are banished to the ends of the earth, the Lord your God will gather you from there and bring you back again. The Lord your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live!  The Lord your God will then make you successful in everything you do. He will give you many children and numerous livestock, and he will cause your fields to produce abundant        harvests, for the Lord will again delight in being good to you as he was to your ancestors. The Lord your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees  written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.

 ~ Jana

[Reprinted by permission, Blossom Ministries, 2014] http://blossomministries.com/

I hope her story touches your heart as it does mine.

tree And Jana is not the only writer in the family, our younger  daughter, Jenn, recently began a blog for young mothers.  You can read it here:  http://poofandtheniwasamom.wordpress.com/ and be  blessed by her love of God.

 

May God fill this holiday season with Joy and Peace.

Janice Hildreth 

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A wish for a hope-filled Spring

May 3rd, 2014 Posted by No comments

hope
Spring is a time of new beginnings and sometimes new beginnings inspire hope in us. I’ve been thinking a lot about hope and know that when I feel its peaceful presence I am fueled with renewed purpose to continue my work in this life.

Even something as mundane as a Monday brings me hope. Of course if you’re not a pastor’s wife you won’t understand why this is, but trust me, Mondays bloom with hopeful possibilities for the future.

The beauty of flowers just budding in my garden send me dreaming of scent-filled afternoons and charming bouquets on my counters — hopeful.

God understands the importance of hope in our lives and takes pleasure in gracing us with these moments.

It is true that hope doesn’t have an impact without the experience of walking through a dark time. The endless days of a child’s illness become touched by hope when his fever breaks, and we know our prayers have been answered.

If you’re like me, you have things you have seen decades pass without seeing a dream come to pass, but the knowledge that God planted our dream, watered it, and kept it alive, revives our hope that we will yet see it happen. And because of His hope, we persevere.

If you’re going through a hard time, lean on God’s word and rejoice in the Hope of the World for He is sharing your days and experiences with you, and does not leave you hopeless.

Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Janice

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