So much to do so little time…

Life has been hectic the last few months. Since my last post about having 3 children for a one night placement we have provided respite for another foster family. A sibling group of three ages 4, 3 and 19 mo. came and stayed a couple of nights and were such a blast to have! We are going to provide respite for oldest 2 again this weekend and looking forward to it immensely.

We were hoping to have some long term placements by now but that hasn’t happened yet. We are so ready to have children running around the house. I can’t begin to explain how much we enjoyed having those kids here. We just want to be parents! Some people thought I was nuts to take on that many kids under 4 but I assured them I was prepared and I was. Loved every minute of it!

We’ve decided that we are going to have to break down and get a mini-van. It is the only realistic thing to do if we are going to have up to 4 kids here. I’m just not a mini-van kind of person. I have never liked them. I’m an SUV kind of gal but I’m willing to sacrifice to have a family. We’ve been looking but having a hard time finding one in the price range we need that is still in good condition.

I’ve been working on some posts but never seem to have enough time to finish them. Hopefully, I’ll get back on track with posting soon! I miss being able to sit down and type out whatever is on my mind!

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The coming evangelical collapse | csmonitor.com

I just found this to be a very interesting article.

The coming evangelical collapse | csmonitor.com

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A 12 year old Speaks Out Against Abortion

Changes that came last night and left this morning…

We had 3 changes to be exact!!! They arrived about 9:30 last night.  It was a temporary one night placement but we found them to be precious!  It took a little while to get them settled down.  They needed baths and what few clothes they had needed washing so I was up until midnight running a load.  The case worker took them to school this morning, she was running late, which ran me late to work. If I had known where their school was I could have taken them.

We are praying that the Lord will provide and I will be able to quit work soon.  I don’t like public education or daycare but as long as the children we have are in the foster care system we will have to deal with that.  I would appreciate your prayers that we can get to our goal of being in a position for me to stay home as soon as possible.  It is likely going to take a several months but that is our ultimate goal.

Overall, the experience was  sad (for the children) exciting and a little scary for us all at the same time.  We weren’t sure how the kids would react to us and the dogs and cat but everything went very very well. Praise the Lord!    They loved the animals and they were very well behaved.  The case worker came to pick them up for school this morning and was going to find a longer term placement for them.

The next experience may not be as good, the kids may be more traumatized by being taken from their parents who knows.  Again, your prayers are requested as we continue on this journey!

I wish I could post pictures of  them but due to confidentiality, I am limited as to what I can tell you and show you without permission.  Once we are in the adoption process I’m sure I will be able to share more!

Until next time!

Changes are a comin, I tell ya!

We have been approved for foster care!  Yep, foster care!  We could get a call any day or any moment to pick up a child or that one is being brought to us.  Huge changes are coming to our lives once they start coming.   We hope to adopt through this avenue and are praying that God sends us the child(ren) He has for us soon.

Undoubtedly, the posts will become more personal at times because I’ll have all the joys and heartaches that will be associated with fostering.  I don’t know how difficult it will be for me to not get too attached to these kids but still love them as I would my own.  If it becomes too difficult then we will change our status to foster to adopt.  It is still a risk but not as much as just fostering is.

It is very exciting and we are anxious to have little ones running around here .

More to come…

An interesting quote

“The Bible calls debt a curse and children a blessing. But in our culture we apply for a curse and reject blessings. Something is wrong with this picture.”
~Doug Phillips

I read this on Christian Worldview Network and thought it worth posting here.  I’ve not broached the Emergent Church specifically yet I don’t believe but I have addressed the post modern church which is part of it.   I’ve also provided some good links for additional information about the Emergent Church on my sidebar.

This is an insidious and evil influence that is disguised in such a way that it enters churches subtly.  It takes discernment to recognize it and sadly the church lacks discernment which is evident in the way this has infiltrated mainstream churches that were once Bible believing churches.  Heed the warning and be ever watchful!

Posted: 12/08/2008

Memoirs of an Emergent Church Victim

by Heidi Swander
The two pastoral search committee members I spoke with assured me there would be no problem.  Making certain that a new pastoral candidate was firmly grounded in Scripture, acutely aware of the Emergent Church, and stood squarely against it would be at the top of the list of attributes to look for in a new senior pastor.  Hey — they said they even had an Emergent Church watchdog on the committee.  What could go wrong?  Plenty.

The day came when the committee recommended a candidate.  To acquaint the congregation with him, the elders scheduled a number of “townhall meetings” so we could ask him questions.  My two questions were on eschatology and the Emergent Church.  I don’t remember his exact answers.  I do remember them being vague and unsatisfying.

Nonetheless, in due course, the congregation voted and the vote was just short of unanimous.  We officially “called” our new senior pastor.

Within weeks of his start date, sweeping changes took place in our church.  I liken it to a bull in a china shop.  The music — the one thing that is most readily noticed and a sensitive subject for any church — began to change.  Two on the pastoral staff left fairly suddenly.  The organist resigned.  The church services began to look different.  Social programs absent a clear plan for presenting the gospel began to emerge.

I tried to set these peripheral things aside and concentrate on his sermons.  This was often difficult because the substance seemed elusive.  I found myself second-guessing everything he said.  Sometimes what he said and the way he said it sounded disrespectful of the Word of God.  He spoke positively about New Age advocate Oprah Winfrey.  He began to weave quotes and video clips from Emergent leaders into his messages. He — and many of the elders — strongly urged the church to get on board with all that was happening, and eagerly promoted a questionable book we should read to help us in the transition.  And one elder blatantly recommended a book — two weeks in a row — by prominent Catholic mystic Henry Nouwen who is a father to the contemplative prayer movement.  My trust level was tanking.

Then one day here at Olive Tree Ministries I got the word that a friend of our new pastor, Terry Esau, would be speaking in my Sunday school class.  His subject?  “Breathing Lessons for Your Church.” My heart sank.  I was in the middle of reading A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen — a warning primer on contemplative prayer, which is a foundational teaching of the Emergent Church.  From the subject title I predicted that this speaker would have Emergent leanings.   It was that day when I finally admitted to myself that I was losing my church. As we sat down for lunch and Jan asked me to pray, I choked on the prayer and began weeping.

I had felt so comfortable at this church!  I had finally opened up and made some friends.  I had a Sunday school teacher that I could really respect.  I’d even gone to a couple of class social events.  I thought I’d found a church home.  And then, disaster struck in the form of a new senior pastor who turned the church — and my world — on its head.  For your average churchgoer, this is difficult; for a single person, the blow stings that much more.  For me, the pain was acute.

Now what should I do?

Others in the church were aware of the pro-Emergent direction in which the church was headed and tried to address it.  Many of the older members — who were systematically being ousted by the change in service music and venue — tried to talk to the new pastor or an elder to no avail.

Finally four of us had the opportunity to meet with the pastor and a couple of the elders.  At that meeting I heard firsthand what so many had reportedly been told: “If there are those who are uncomfortable with the direction the church is headed, it may be wise for them to find another place to worship.” It wasn’t directed at me, but I got the message.  They wouldn’t consider any pleas for caution, no matter how scripturally-based.

By the time that meeting was over, I’d had enough.  It was time to move on.

I’d already started visiting another area church intermittently and had really enjoyed it, though I was wary from my recent experience.  But the people were friendly, and the Word of God was dynamically preached.  I also discovered that the pastor was teaching a series on the Emergent Church in order to educate and warn his church family.  That really encouraged me!  I sat in on one of those lessons, and my enthusiasm grew.  Could it be that I had so quickly found a new church home that stood squarely on Scripture and against the postmodern onslaught I’d been wrestling?  In a word, yes!  It’s amazing how quickly my trust level is growing, and I’m so happy to once again look forward to attending church every week!

I realize as I write this that there are many of you who only dream of finding a solidly biblical church home.  Some continue to attend an unhealthy church because you don’t know what else to do.  Some choose to stay and fight – which I did for a while — but

you have to know when the gig is up and it’s time to move on.  And then, where to move on to?

Pray about it.  Set standards that you will not waver from. For me a church must be Bible-based, doctrinally sound, pro-Israel, premillennial.
Sit down with the pastor and grill him on your important standards that are essential to a healthy church.

There is a command in Scripture to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Heb. 10:25). The Lord knows that it is vital to our spiritual health and growth to exhort one another, “and so much the more as [we] see the day approaching,” – that is, the nearer the return of Christ is.  If He commands it, there must be a way to fulfill it.  Ask Him to show you what to do.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
RADIO: Learn about the deceptive and blatantly occult film “Twilight” to which Christians are flocking. Heed the warnings. It will be posted at “Radio Archives” by late in the day Monday. It was aired to our live audience December 6. For podcasting information, go here.
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Always looking up!

Heidi Swander
Ministry Associate
Olive Tree Ministries
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