People Need to Grow Too

your most powerful testimony....

 

Whether you are a child or an adult, you never stop learning and you should never stop growing and changing. The moment you stop growing, changing or learning, might be your last moment on Earth.

The same goes for Churches and denominations. They should also grow and change and learn. People need to step away from their “check list” of sins and look at the truth that Jesus tried to tell us…… He came to break down the wall that man had built up around the basic rules or laws.  He said to love each other, pray for those who wrong you, and serve the Lord your God. That’s it.

The world is changed by

Now look at what we have done. We did the same thing. We have taken the basic book, the bible, and we scare people with it. We make people feel bad about themselves. We become judges and juries. “but it says in the bible….” Don’t get me wrong, I love the bible but the reality is that we have taken a book that was written through the holy Spirit yet put together by men with some political agendas. We have used it to intimidate people.  People stop coming to church and stop believing. They don’t talk to their children about God or Jesus. Satan wins!!!

Is that what we want? No! We want to be accepted, loved, supported just as we are. It is not a sin to be black, white, Asian, gay, deaf, blind, or anything that isn’t “perfect”.   you know it’s against the law to walk your elephant down the main road of  town……you laugh but people have not changed some laws that are way out of date.

 

It’s not a sin to get a divorce and marry again, or get married after a spouse dies. It used to be considered a sin but we changed with the times……

It is time we change again. Actually, it’s long overdue. There is a school of thought that our church is starting to lean toward.  We want to help people come back to God’s house and feel loved and accepted.

We need to make the change

I have witnessed my churches generous heart with my husband and I. We stopped going to our church because we didn’t feel the support from the pastor who led the church at the time. then a couple years later, my husband was mowing the lawn and on an incline he leaned over to clean the deck of debris. he lost his balance, fell off and the mower went over his hand. All I heard was the mower stop, I came outside to see him walking and holding his right wrist yelling, “call 911, call 911”. by the time I got 911, he was by my car, “just drive me”. I threw the phone in the back seat and drove like Jimmy Johnson. Lights flashing, hazards on, honking my horn at 120mph. I got to the hospital that was 15 miles away in 8 min. As I’m getting out the cop finally pulls up behind me, I ignored him, punched the numbers into the keypad and took care of my husband. It was the loneliest,  day of my life. My husband was out of his mind in pain, screaming things he would never say. It was heart wrenching.  I wanted my family who were all 8 or more hours away. I tried calling the only friends we seemed to have down here but they were away too. I called my Aunt Judy (my mommy God gave me) she would pray and tell the family. I then thought, the pastor, no matter what we needed him. I went. A wonderful man named Tommy Mitchell was at the church. I told him what happened. He said the Pastor was away but gave me a number to reach him.  I ran home to take care of the dog and pack a bag for my husband. He was to be taken to Duke to be operated on.  I got back to the hospital and saw Tommy Mitchell there.  He didn’t have to but that’s just Tommy, big heart, does as Jesus would do. When my brother called and asked what he could do I jokingly told him send the family. 12 hours later I got a call from my Aunt Judy that she was coming down. God is Good!!!!!!

After the amputation of fingers and some time…… we got a check in the mail from that church…..they knew Bruce had lost his job in June and now we had bills to pay.  That floored us. We knew what to do and we slowly made our way back to the church. They accepted us back, lumps and all. Pastors had changed and we just all clicked.

God picks up nobodies and makes somebodies

This church could have shunned us, but they didn’t.  Love, acceptance is the core of these people.  Yet some still let things get in the way of that….they go back to their check list of comfort. I don’t understand why there are not more black people in our congregation until I remembered what someone said, “they probably don’t feel comfortable in a church like ours”.   Really? or is it we don’t make them feel comfortable? or is it that some people don’t feel comfortable or they are too afraid what others will think?

live by faith, not by fear

In January a gentleman was invited to come to our service. He felt so accepted and loved that he and his husband have become a part of our church.  When I met them officially in April, it was instant kinship. I could feel it. The holy spirit moving through the church. These are men of God and an answer to my prayers for this church.  Some people got to know them and accept them for who they are. Some, took to their fears and are missing out on two great christian men!

Now they are working on our second  contemporary service which has been shrinking because our youth is all growing up and going to college. They have taken it online so that if people can’t get back into town can see it now. It’s still growing trying to get more people to do the singing, fundraising, cooking, etc…..  They are working harder than anyone has on the mission of this service we call, “Spark the Fire”.  The mission is to create a place of love, acceptance, and reconciliation of all God’s people. All skin colors, all abilities, all ages. I’m even trying to do some sign language on there!!!! God is moving and grooving! Who knows, maybe I’ll even sing….. Here is the mission:

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We at Ahoskie United Methodist Church, embark on a journey of reconciliation as we celebrate the diversity of all God’s children and recognize the sacred worth of all persons regardless of race, age, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, physical or mental capacity, education or economic or marital status.

The outreach mission of Spark the Fire Ministries is to proclaim this statement of welcome to all who have known the pain of exclusion and discrimination within the universal church, and offer a safe place for all to worship at our sides without judgment, and invite all to participate in our services without fear of exclusion.

The point? Churches can’t do the same thing for for 10 generations anymore. Jesus was friends with tax collectors, women, the unclean, the Lepers, the people that others felt uncomfortable being around. Well, as for me, I want to be more like Jesus and Thomas.   I said to someone, “half my family is black, half my family is deaf, part of my family is sprinkled with some Latinos and the rest is topped with a couple of wonderful homosexuals and if anyone has a problem with that, it’s THEIR problem, and they can keep it to themselves.”

What can I say, I have gotten bold in my old age and I love my family no matter what color or country they come from, and it makes me sad and mad when people say they are accepting but then they complain about people coming to a church. How can you do that? People seem to find a way to be against other people. Can we change this??????

It all baffles the Child-like faith I have. Call me crazy but I don’t let my pride or ego get in my way. I’m glad that there some people who are consistent and dedicated to this church. We all go through “growing pains” and we all come back to the basic conclusion, God meant for this to happen to see who were the strong of faith and who were not……  Who is part of a church for God and not just out of obligation?

Come back to church and give God a chance. good-church-quote-by-dr-martin-luther-kingjr-faith-is-taking-the-first-step-even-ehen-you-dont-see-the-whole-staircase

If you want to support our church please go to http://www.Ahoskieumc.org  or go on facebook to find Ahoskieumc or https://www.facebook.com/Sparkthefireahoskie/  or Ahoskieumw….contact us one way shape or another. We can help you learn about us, God and I pray heal your hearts.

As Reba’s new song says, “We are still worth saving, we got to give this world back to God.” and get out of his way.

 

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It’s Memorial Day……..Again

 

Memories can be foggy

I was looking back at a blog I posted, New Traditions: What Is Memorial Day?  It was pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day after the Civil war. It was a day to remember all the people who served in the military and who died. This is different than Veterans Day when we pay tribute to all the living  men and women who are currently serving or have served in the military in the past. Memorial Day Graves

Memorial Day should be a day for family to gather and remember other family members who have served them in the past. To just remember those who were in the military, who served at some capacity in a war or military movement. My Dad was in the Korean War. I’m not sure what he did but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t shooting a gun…. My granddaddy was a guard in Newark, NJ. I’m not sure what he guarded but he served. My Pappa’s father was in the army…..they moved a few times even to Alaska.  So, you see, all families have some relative who served in our military forces. The stories of these family members need to be told and handed down to the next generation. This is what Memorial Day should be about, the remembering of our military in our families shared with others. This way they are never forgotten and will live on.

 

Memorial Day should be about the people who sacrificed a part or all of their lives so that you could live a free life of faith. Wait, didn’t Jesus do that? He sacrificed his life so that we could live. Jesus also need to be remembered on this day, and everyday. He gave strength to many soldiers, around the world.

memorial day wreath

Here are some thoughts to  ponder on when you comment on this post.      Why is Memorial Day important to you?   What do you do for Memorial Day? How can you make this a better family day? Who do you remember on this holiday?  How does God fit into your Memorial Day Weekend?

Until next time, God bless!!!!

Mothers in Every Form

1 his presence by jeremy winborg portrait of mary and the baby jesus oil painting nativity

Mother’s Day, that one day to say thank you to someone who, for 364 days, will love, worry, nag, cry, cheer, pray, and care for you. Mothers come in all shapes, sizes and names.

photo-1 There is, naturally, the “biological mother”, otherwise known as one who carried you in her womb for 9 months then went through anywhere from a few hours to 36 hours of agonizing labor to bring you into this world and won’t let you forget it for at least 60 years of your life.

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There is also the “God given mother”. This is the wonderful person who takes a child as their own. Also called the “easiest birth ever”. They may adopt a child or just be their guardian. Some are called mom, grandma, etc…. I call mine, Aunt Judy. She earned the title out of respect and she asked me to call her that long before she took me in.
Another type of “mum” is the “pseudo mother” or a person who acts like a mother but is not a mother themselves. Many teachers fill this title and yet are told, “you don’t have children , you don’t understand”.  mhfc-logo
I had 4 souls who went to live with God, so that he could send me 400 children to care for as a “pseudo mother”. I nag them, pray for them, cheer them on, consequence them when needed and care for them.

Come to think of it you do the same for your pets. 20111025210938  Samba    Image        OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     Maddy with sister's ball
So, just remember, mothers come in all shapes, sizes and titles. Honor them everyday, not just on Mother’s Day!
Until next time, God bless you all!!!!

Easter: Living for a Greater Purpose

 

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What if we were to live our lives the way one Jewish man lived his last 3 years on this Earth? He loved everyone, prayed incessantly, served humbly, spoke boldly and honestly, healed without expectations, took ridicule with dignity, took punishment for sins and crimes he did not commit without complaint, and always did What God told him to do. If we lived like that, there would be less strife, less evil, less crime, less litter, and best of all, less political crap.

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If we lived the way Jesus did in his last years on this Earth, we would be living for a bigger reason than ourselves and our family. I’m not saying that we should sell everything we own and roam around the country or the world preaching, though that is a good mission, not everyone has that gift.
I believe that if all the Christians and the Jews, that would be 2,214,500,000 people of faith, lived as Jesus lived in his last years on this Earth, there would be no more ISIS! Think about it, over 2 billion of us against only 200,000 of Satan’s Demons.

God has plans for U
What is the greater purpose? It’s all the stuff that really matters in life. In my own life I think of my grandmother, years ago, picking up trash on her daily walks. I think about how our family would gather at a moments notice for a celebration, a brunch, or just because we were all in church on one Sunday. I think about my husband giving away extra vegetables from our garden to people who could use them. I think about how I can teach my youth everyday about how to live and do the right thing to change their behaviors. I think about how I know I am doing God’s will by teaching. I think about how God has helped me and guided me to where I am today because he had a purpose for me here on Earth that I will probably carry on in heaven.

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The greater purpose is part of you. It’s that part that , no matter were you go, you can’t help but do it. It’s almost a reflex. For example, my husband is a caretaker/people helper. No matter where we go he is helping someone with advice or even pulling out the EMT bag and checking them out until 911 arrives. I teach, where ever I go. I can’t help it. It’s either animals or kids my radar picks up.
So, can you do it???? Can you live your life as Jesus did? Can you stand up for what is right? Can you help others? Can you dare to be different then the world and NOT be selfish? Can you be an Easter Person?????

Blogging For God

I have always said that even though I seem to be a mild mannered teacher,  I really work for God. So, I guess you could say I also blog for God because he wants people to know about these children and this organization I am blessed to work in. He also wants to bring  people together when they connect through this organization. There are many opportunities that God has placed here.

God placed me in a multipurpose residential home for juveniles who have made some bad decisions and a judge has made one good decision for them by sending them to us. We are

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We teach skills that we all know but we have broken them down into specific actions. We teach using the “Model of Care”…. it’s like the “catch ’em when their good” but tell them what they’ve done wrong so they can learn how to improve themselves. It’s a more positive and caring way then just locking kids up in a cell.

The organization serves over 1500 youth from age 3 to 23. MHFC helps the families too by in-home services before children grow into troubled teens. This organization matches families with foster children. There is so much more, yet, I personally know only the group home.

Each multipurpose home has a program manager, a Family social service person, a teacher, 6 residential counselors and 2 overnight/away staff. The residential counselors stay with the youth at all times. They are rotated through out the 7 days working 15 hours a day which works out to about 2.5 to 3 days for each team of 2 RC’s. They are my back up and I am theirs. It is a great team effort to work with the youth that come here.

I am the teacher. I work Monday – friday 8:30am until 4 or 5 or 6pm, often hearing the words, “Ms. Pasek, you still here?”  When I first started I didn’t know what to expect. I had great training and a terrific Program Manager who really helped me a lot. I learned from other teachers in the other group homes how they teach and deal with the youth.  I took what I knew from 20+ years of teaching and ideas from  them and created my own curriculum that would be in line with the public school curriculum. I teach grades 6-10th, yet some youth have come to us at much lower academic levels and some very low IQ levels. My curriculum levels the playing field, sort to speak.

I teach 5 subjects, counsel 8 youth, create my own Individual Education Plan (IEP) for each youth, type up transcripts for each youth, make monthly progress reports for each student, and reinforce the skills and values taught in the home.

I tell my youth that  what I do is try to help the public school teachers by teaching them how to behave in class and how to succeed in school so it will be easier for the teachers to teach them.

I have had some successes and some not so successful experiences. I could tell you all about the various stories that come through our home. In the 5+ years I have been teaching I think 100 youth have come through. Out of those, I have heard good things of about 6 – 10. maybe 5 of those have come back to say hi and speak to the new youth.

So, keep your eye out for stories from me and others who work on the “front line”.  If you want to hear about specific things, just ask and I’ll see if I can oblige. Please let me know what you think. Share comments, reblog, or just say hi. Until next time, pray for all our youth and staff.  God Bless!

 

Part 3 : It Only Takes One: Step

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When I started this blog I said this was going to be about my life and my thoughts.  I took a step of faith to start this blog. Faith, not only that God wanted me to reach more people, but faith in my self that my writing could attract readers.So, readers, how am I doing? God has plans for U

I do tend to get distracted but it’s a good distraction because my life happens to involve my faith in a big way. I don’t now where I would be without Jesus, God, or my faith. I look back at my life and see things that don’t happen with people who have no faith. I can see how God worked in my life. How he has guided me from place to place, job to job, and all so I could have all the skills and insight needed to teach the youth I teach now.

 

If I didn’t have faith, maybe I would not have been able to hear God say, ” you will teach”, “stay in private schools”, “be observant”, “shed light on the dark”, “write about it”, “just write” etc…. These mean nothing to you but they were very important at certain times in my life. Of course the first and last ones are always being heard.

Im still working on you-God

Hearing God is more like having an authoritative inspiration, not only in your head but you can feel it too. We all get ideas that pop in our head like topics for blogs or how to fix something. God’s voice is different. It’s a calm confident voice you get in your head but you can feel it from your soul. It’s that “you just know” feeling. You just know this is the right thing to do, even when everybody around you thinks your nuts. You just know what you were put on earth to do. You just know who you will spend the rest of your life with. You just know you need to reach out to someone.

They have done studies that show that people who have a positive faith are less likely to suffer from severe depression.  In fact there was a study in 2008 that showed people who had faith and were involved in worship were happier than any anti-theists. In fact it showed that the anti-theists suffered more psychological damage from divorces and deaths than People of faith.

So, take a moment and try to listen for God’s voice. God is there. You may not hear him right away, it may take the “10 days for delivery”, and it may not be what you expected. However if in your prayer, each of those 10 days, you let God know you are willing to hear him, and want to hear him, you will, and when it happens you will just know!

If you have faith, you will just know that God is there guiding you, protecting you, and empowering you with the holy spirit to do his will here on Earth. If you don’t have faith, I suggest you get some. Don’t get the cheap stuff like the fanatics, but get the positive uplifting faith that you will feel when you enter the place you worship. You will just know!

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The Gift of Love

EarthGiftWhat was the first gift given to humans?  Many say it was love which is a great answer but take a look at Genesis (in the bible or Torah) and you will see  in Genesis 1: 29-30 it was things of this earth so we could live.  God gave us what we needed to live and prosper on this earth. It was us humans that messed it up.

Giving gifts has been a tradition since Earth was created. God gave humans plants and animals. Eve gave Adam an apple which has given the rest of the human generations,  for tens of thousands of years,  headaches and heartaches.  1 his presence by jeremy winborg portrait of mary and the baby jesus oil painting nativity Then came the first gift of Christmas which was love in the form of a baby.  In a little stable or cave when there was no Fabreeze to cover the lovely oder of the cows, donkey, goats, and chickens. God loved humans so much that he sent his son to be born as a human, grow and go through all the good and hardships humans went through and to learn how to balance being human and being God’s son.  Kids think they have it hard today, ha.

I could not imagine the taunting and name calling he had to go through. For him it was simple: he was God’s son. He also had Earthly parents that he had to respect and obey. He also was Jewish and had to follow the Earthly laws of that religion and the man made laws that surrounded each of the 10 commandments  to understand all that they went through to get to this point. All the traditions he learned and grew up with knowing that they were of the earth and man made not of the heavens. He was a child who not only had to balance chores and education, but two different realms. He couldn’t afford to get distracted by girlfriends and marriage. The bullying he went through was no picnic either.

His mother knew he was here for greater things and she could only talk to two people about it; her husband Joseph and her cousin Elizabeth. It’s safe to say she didn’t get to vent very much in her life. She had to hold it all in. She had the gift of the most understanding of mothers. She knew when he was born, his time on earth was limited and she had to share him with “the world”.  She knew she was just his earthly caretaker and she had to accept that. So she taught him about faith and answered all the questions a mother answers for her growing child. She taught him responsibility to family and friends. She showed understanding when he ran off to the temple and kind of answered back, ” Don’t you know I would be in my father’s house?”  She realized her place in his heart. So, Mary gave her son the gift of love from a mother which included patience, understanding, discipline, faith, and unspoken heartache. God knew she was strong enough to handle it, that’s why he chose her.

reflection of cross in eye

So, God sent his son to endure the pains of growing up as a human. He knew what it was like to be different than the other children. He knew what it was like to be teased and probably bullied. He knew what it was like to feel like you are a disappointment to your parents. (he learned carpentry, but how good was he?).  He knew what it felt like to like girls but to stay away from them.  He knew what it was like to sit amongst people who didn’t understand what he knew and what he saw. He knew what most kids, even today, feel and think. He’s been there and done that and then he was betrayed, beaten, flogged, bullied, carried a 200 pound piece of tree for a few miles, fell a few times, got hit for falling, then had huge nails driven into his wrists and feet (splitting bone, cartilage and muscles).  If that wasn’t bad enough, the position he was in made it very difficult to breathe. He endured physical, emotional and psychological pain that we could only imagine.

God gave the gifts of the earth and  love. We should use the earth in a loving way. We should take care of the gifts that he has given us such as the animals, the trees, the plants, and the ocean.  We should seek and value our spiritual gifts whether it be teaching, encouraging, accounting, or care taking. Monetary gifts can not go with us when we go to heaven however these other gifts of love, of the spirit, they are the purposes we have awaiting us in heaven.