Monday, July 27, 2009

Latest from Jason and Lina-

It has been a little over two weeks since Lina was sent back to Costa Rica. We have spent these two weeks researching and figuring out the best possible way to return Lina to the U.S. With much advice from family, we chose to ask a well-trusted immigration lawyer to help us file the right paperwork. Today the lawyer submitted the paperwork to the government, and this means it is now a waiting game. How soon Lina returns to the U.S. depends on someone looking at the paperwork. We are believing for a miracle because “man” (Gov., Lawyer, Congressman, etc…) says it will be at least 5 months for this to happen. But what is impossible with “man” is possible with God.

These circumstances were a big shock to us, but we know it did not surprise God. We trust Him to see His goodness come forth through this process. It has not been easy to say the least. We did not even realize how much pain there would be in the event that we were separated. Through His grace and strength, we are taking it one day at a time. We appreciate all of your prayers. We know they have helped us and they have been heard before the throne room of heaven. God is near the brokenhearted, and we stand on that promise.

We covet your prayers because we believe God is going to do a miracle in bringing our paperwork to the forefront of the immigration system and having it approved. Another miracle we need is in the area of our finances. Government fees, lawyer bills, plane tickets and the fact that we lost almost half of our income as a couple is quite a big deal, and we are grateful for your prayers in this situation. What we want most is your prayers, but if you would choose to be a part of this miracle, it would be a blessing too! And PLEASE only give after praying and believing God has placed it on your heart to do so. We have chosen to live a life of faith, and know God will take care of all our needs. Please send us an email if you are willing to help!

Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers! “We will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” Psalm 27:13

Jason and Lina-

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cool Wedding Entrance!

If I had been officiating this - I would have had to get involved! That's scary!!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Ultimate Funeral!

Pics from funeral home in Alabama!

Did you see the remote in his hand?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Need of a Miracle!

This is an update on my last post- we now have more info, and it is not what we expected. It may take longer than we originally expected!

On a personal note I need your prayers and encouragement. On Saturday Jason and Lina were coming back in to the country from Costa Rica after visiting her parents for her birthday, Lina was detained, treated as a criminal, and sent back to Costa Rica. Here is Jason's response:

Last weekend as we were entering the country from vacation in Costa Rica with Lina’s family, Lina was detained by U.S. Customs, and returned to Costa Rica because of Visa issues. There is much paperwork and petitioning to be done for her to be able to return. This separation is not without pain. Both of our hearts are broken because of the fact of being a part. But we both know that the attitude of our hearts are what God is looking at this very moment. He is looking at our heart response in this very moment, and I can confidently say our hearts can stand before him at this very moment and say "I am not offended, God. I love you even in this moment. Even in the pain, I am not offended at You, nor am I offended at the government system. Your ways are perfect and I trust You." We thank Him for the grace to walk through this little trial, and know His banner over us is love. This might take sometime to resolve the issues and bring her home, but we believe through prayer, she will be here sooner than we can imagine. This light affliction is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Thank you for continuing to pray for us in this time.
We too are devastated as this could be a long process in trying to get her back to the USA and us. Estimates that we are being told is 6 mos to a year. That is totally unacceptable. We are asking God for a miracle. Please join with us and pray for us all, especially Jason and Lina.

What God has joined together let no man (or government) put asunder!

Monday, July 13, 2009

When the System Breaks Down!

For 9 hours on Saturday countless murders took place, illegal aliens crossed our borders, drug smugglers applied their vicious death, terrorists killed and maimed, Guantanamo detainees enjoyed the graciousness of the United States, and one terrified 23 year old girl was treated rudely as if she was the catch of the day by US Immigration officials!

Saturday and Sunday were very eventful days for Jason and Lina. They had gone to Costa Rica to spend her birthday with her family. Upon returning to DFW Airport, she was suddenly taken away without even one chance to say anything to Jason because of a visa issue. She was held for 9 hours and treated as if she were a criminal by immigration officials. She was scared and they were extremely rude to her. After a shift change a female agent pulled some strings and she was let go to be with Jason overnight. She collapsed in tears into Jason, Harry's and Arleen's arms. She was sent back to Costa Rica on Sunday.

Today, she and her dad begin the lengthy process of applying for the correct US visa so that she can be reunited to Jason and her US family.

How do I feel? Anybody have a brick? But, I got this email about the situation that brought comfort and perspective in the situation. It's from Laura Long Rankhorn, one of our great youth pastor's wife in Liberty Fellowship. Please read:

This morning Pastor Ernie was preaching from a passage in Exodus. I underlined a sentence because it spoke to me and when I read your status I felt like I should pass it to you.

Exodus 14:4 says, "I will make Pharaoh so stubborn that he will pursue them. Then, because of what I do to Pharaoh and his entire army, I will receive honor, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord." It hit me that sometimes God can lead us to a point or we can find ourselves in a position where we feel trapped, helpless, and hopeless. Sometimes as in the case of Pharaoh- God was the reason he pursued the Israelites. I'm going to pray that now that you all are in the position of trapped, helpless, and hopeless that God will use this situation to show people that He is the Lord and that Lina can add this to her testimony of how God has done miraculous things in her life. I know nothing about the situation, but I do feel like God wants to give you a peace that everything is going to be ok.

Please know that JC and I will be praying for this situation. We will be praying for Lina and Jason and the two of you- that God will minister to your hearts and give you His peace, and that you all can sit back and be spectators at an awesome fireworks show of miracles.
Love you all so very much,

We are positioned for a miracle! Thank you Laura and others that are praying!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Christians Serving Time...

The church is made up of men and women who are called upon to volunteer to serve in various capacities. Have you ever heard of the 20/80 rule? Twenty percent of the people doing all the work with 8o percent of the people sitting idly by.

I recently talked to one of those 20% who felt burned out and under appreciated. He was taking some time off from his service activities- and enjoying it!

One of the things that a pastor hears often from church members when they are asked to serve somewhere: 'I have served my time!"

I want to ask them when did serving God and His Kingdom become a jail sentence! Was serving God really like being incarcerated? You did your 'Kingdom time' and now have been released and set free?

I don't think so as I try to overcome a spirit of slap that is fast rising up in me!

We never retire from working for the Kingdom of God.

John 9:4-5
We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. TMB

Eccl 9:10
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. NIV

Seems to me that Jesus expects us to work for His Kingdom until we die! Death is the only excuse for not serving God and His church and Kingdom any longer. And then and only then would we (God included) not expect you to!

Serve on!!!!!

Monday, July 06, 2009

You Drink Too Much Coffee When....

1. Juan Valdez names his mule after you.
2. You chew on your roommate's fingernails.
3. You can jump-start your car without cables.
4. You do twenty miles on your treadmill before you realize it's not plugged in.
5. You can't remember your second cup.
6. You have a picture of your coffee mug on your coffee mug.
7. Starbucks has a mortgage on your house.
8. Your birthday is a national holiday in Columbia.
9. You don't sweat - you percolate.
10. You grind coffee beans in your mouth.

Friday, July 03, 2009

For My Wife...My Dream Come True!

I could wish
for more ways
to say "I love you"...
but I could never wish
for someone more special
to say it to.

I could wish
for better words
to describe to you
how you make me feel...
but I could never wish
for anyone better
to whisper those words to.

I could wish
on all the stars in the sky
that I could make
every dream in your heart
come true...
but I don't have to wish
for my dreams...
all my dreams came true
when your love
came into my life.

Happy 38th Anniversary, Debi, I love you!

Church: Love It, Don't Leave It

I thought this was a great article sent to me by my son Jason. Good enough to pass along and give a shout out to it's authors Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck.

Here's what Bono, Oprah, and the guru speakers on PBS won't tell you: Jesus believed in organized religion and he founded an institution. Of course, Jesus had no patience for religious hacks and self-righteous wannabes, but he was still Jewish. And as Jew, he read the Holy Book, worshiped in the synagogue, and kept Torah. He did not start a movement of latte-drinking disciples who excelled in spiritual conversations. He founded the church (Matt. 16:18) and commissioned the apostles to proclaim the good news that Israel's Messiah had come and the sins of the world could be forgiven through his death on the cross (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 2:14-36).

For almost two millennia, it was axiomatic that Christians, like, actually went to church (or at least told other Christians they did). From Cyprian to Calvin it was believed that for those to whom God "is Father the church may also be Mother." But increasingly Christians are trying to get more spiritual by getting less church.

Take a spin through the religion section at your local bookstore. What you'll find there is revealing - there are "revolutionary" books for stay at home moms, teenagers, and Christian businessmen. There are lots of manifestos. And most of the books about church are about people leaving the church to "find God." There are lots of Kerouacian "journey" stories, and at least one book about the gospel according to Starbucks. It used to be you had to overthrow a country to be considered a revolutionary, and now, it seems, you just have to quit church and go pray in the woods.

We've been in the church our whole lives and are not blind to its failings. Churches can be boring, hypocritical, hurtful, and inept. The church is full of sinners. Which is kind of the point. Christians are worse than you think. Our Savior is better than you imagine.

But the church is not all about oppression and drudgery. Almost every church we know of visits old people, brings meals to new moms, supports disaster relief, and does something for the poor. We love the local church, in spite of its problems, because it's where we go to meet God. It's not a glorified social/country club you attend to be around people who talk and look just you do. It's a place to hear God's word spoken, taught and affirmed. It's a place to sing praises to God, and a place to serve others. It's a place to be challenged.

The church is more than plural for Christian. It is both organism and organization, a living thing comprised of a certain order, regular worship services, with doctrinal standards, institutional norms, and defined rituals. Without the institution of the church nurturing the flock and protecting the faith for two thousand years, there would be no Christianity. If Gen Xers (like us) and their friends want to be against something, start a revolution. If you want to conserve truth and grace for twenty centuries, plant a church.

We love the church because Christ loved the church. She is his bride--a harlot at times, but his bride nonetheless, being washed clean by the word of God (Eph. 5:25-26). If you are into Jesus, don't rail on his bride. Jesus died for the church, so don't be bothered by a little dying to self for the church's sake. If you keep in mind that everyone there is a sinner (including yourself) and that Jesus Christ is the point and not you, your dreams, or your kids, your church experience might not be as lame as you fear.

Perhaps Christians are leaving the church because it isn't tolerant and open-minded. But perhaps the church-leavers have their own intolerance too--intolerant of tradition, intolerant of authority, intolerant of imperfection except their own. Are you open-minded enough to give the church a chance--a chance for the church to be the church, not a coffee shop, not a mall, not a variety show, not Chuck E. Cheese, not a U2 concert, not a nature walk, but a wonderfully ordinary, blood-bought, Spirit-driven church with pastors, sermons, budgets, hymns, bad carpet and worse coffee?

The Church, because it is Christ's church, will outlive American Idol, the NFL, and all of our grandkids. We won't last, but the Church will. So when it comes to church, be like Jesus: love it, don't leave it. As Saint Calloway once prophesied to the Brothers of Blues, "Jake, you get wise, you get to church."

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Love the witty comic art of Bizarro-