Church Planting among the Nahuatl


An Invitation to Intimacy

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” Jeremiah 33:3

So, just last week, Thursday actually, I started going through a study on prayer. Prayer is one of those aspects of walking with God that I love, but I don’t think I completely get it at the same time. Prayer has this kind of mystery wrapped around it for me, like a something you peel that always has another layer once you take the present layer off. Now, I’m not complaining, I love mystery and surprises and I love that God keeps things new and fresh in prayer for us.

To start the study I read a few scripture passages, Jeremiah 29:11-4, Romans 8:14-17, and Revelation 3:14-22. In the process of reading these I was challenged about God’s desire for fellowship with us, and how God’s desire is that we would have an intimate relationship with Him. What is more intimate than prayer? And really, could God be inviting us to pray? Could prayer be God’s invitation to a deeper walk with Him? I believe the answer is yes. God knows us. We are His children, and He promises throughout scripture that when we pray He WILL listen. He says when we seek His face in prayer we WILL find Him, and we WILL experience a deep understanding of the meaning of His adoption of us as His very own.

It is not our prayer which moves God, it is God that moves us to pray. He knocks on our heart’s door each and every day, even moment, and by doing so makes known His desire to have this deep relationship with us.  God truly receives pleasure from our wanting to be with Him. In Rev. 8:3,4 it talks about our prayers being a sweet offering to the throne of grace, an offering the Lord waits patiently for as we grow in our understanding and knowledge of what it means to be with Him, and receive from Him.

When I think of people that understood prayer in the Bible, the main one that comes to mind is Daniel. His delight was constantly in the Lord. It did not matter what the law was telling him to do, or what his schedule may have been for the day, nothing kept him from his intimate relationship with the Lord. And yes, the Lord blessed Daniel, and I know that He wants to bless me and He does, and it blows me away every time. But there’s more, more relationship, more blessing, more glory to the Lord to be had! This prayer life never gets old, I never get to the “last level” of being a good pray-er, there is constantly more of God to know, and He invites me constantly into prayer to know Him and to bring Him glory as I communicate so intimately with Him.

As I end this post, I thought I would include some pictures of the serenity of campus. Usually at least once or twice a week I try to walk by the lake at least for a bit and spend some time beckoning the Lord in prayer in the glory of His creation.

Peacefully still

Peacefully still

A blossoming tree outside the Linguistics classroom building

A blossoming tree outside the Linguistics classroom building

The sun glistening on the water out from the point

The sun glistening on the water out from the point

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Existing for His Glory

Our blog has been in need of a new post for some time. I have been gone three of the past 4 weekends judging at various gymnastics competitions, so my weeks have been catch up time on all of the “to dos” that pile up when I’m gone.

The Lord has been teaching me some incredible things as I have spent time in Romans for the past several weeks. This morning  I settled into our cozy IKEA chair with a steaming cup of coffee and turned the pages of my Bible to Romans 11. Reading chapters 9-11 I am amazed at the Lord’s love and mercy for the Jewish people even though they rejected Him over and over throughout history. God’s plan for mankind is so amazing indeed, for because of this rejection salvation was offered to all. But, with all the rejection that God has endured from His people He still desires for them to come to Him more than anything. He wants them, He craves fellowship with them.

This concept is often hard for me to grasp, the concept that God craves me. I know, that sounds kind of strange, but God truly does desire and crave a true relationship with me that consists of me communicating with Him. A relationship of me walking day in and day out with Him. He craves my voice talking to Him throughout the day, He craves me worshipping Him when Iam amazed at His creation, and He craves me sharing with others about Him because I am so excited about my relationship with Him.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just crave things…chocolate, probably number #1, peanut butter, apples, fresh vegies, water, cookies…not that I want to give you a list of my favorite foods, but I think you get the idea. I know that when I crave something there’s not much I can do to get over the craving except to have a little of whatever it is I’m craving.

A little honesty here, I’m not a super-christian, most of you are completely aware of that…but I do crave God. Not all the time, sometimes I allow myself to get to busy for Him, but at the end of the day I sit down and reflect and realize I am craving Him because I’ve pushed Him out of my day. I love my time with God in the morning, and I love talking to Him throughout the day, when I don’t….something…He is missing. I know that He is glorified when my relationship with Him is active and vibrant, when I am walking with Him daily, and this is what He desires of me.

Just to finish off my thoughts, I’ll close with Rom. 11:36, Paul wrote a great verse here to sum up God’s greatness and it is a good reminder to me as I go throughout my day, to include the Lord and walk with Him.

“For everything comes from Him, and exists by His power, and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever.”

So…the other day, I was craving biscotti…I know, it’s kind of weird, but I really love biscotti. They are sweet, but not too sweet and tasty and delicious dunked in a cup of coffee or tea. Plus they are lower fat and healthier than most cookies. So, I made some, and wanted to share the recipe and a few pictures with you. Enjoy!!

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

1 cup whole hazelnuts (toasted)

1.5 cups all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hersheys Dark)

1 Tbsp. instant espresso powder (I used some instant coffee granules I had)

1/2 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. baking powder

4 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread hazelnuts on baking sheet and toast about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. If hazelnuts are not blanched, toast them until the skins begin to crack, then remove them from oven and wrap them in clean linen or cotton towel (not terrycloth). Rub the hazelnuts to remove most of the skin. Set toasted nuts aside.

2. Sift the flour, cocoa, espresso powder,  baking soda, and baking powder together and set aside.

3. Beat eggs lightly, just until blended, in mixing bowl with whisk or in electric mixer. Remove two tablespoons of egg mixture to small dish and set aside. Beat sugar into remaining eggs until blended. Stir in flour mixture to form soft dough.

4. Divide the dough in half and place one portion on a well-floured work surface. (Use lots of flour, this dough is quite sticky)  With floured hands, pat it into a six-inch square. Scatter half the hazelnuts on the dough and press them into the surface. Roll the dough into a cylinder about 2 inches in diameter and 12 to 15 inches long. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and place the roll of dough on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Brush the tops of both rolls with the reserved egg.

5. Place in the oven and bake about 15 minutes, until firm to the touch. (This took me until 20 to 25 minutes.) Transfer to a cutting board and cut on an angle into slices one-half-inch thick. (I found that letting them cool for five minutes made this easier, as well as a sharp knife with a tight serrate.) Return the slices to the baking sheet, laying them on their cut sides, and return them to the oven. Bake another 20 minutes, until they are crisp and dry. Allow to cool completely before storing or serving.




Finished product! Not the best picture, but these were quite delicious. You could use any type of nuts that you have, I happened to have some hazelnuts and I really like their distinct flavor.

Finished product! Not the best picture, but these were quite delicious. You could use any type of nuts that you have, I happened to have some hazelnuts and I really like their distinct flavor.

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Famous people and a glimpse of heaven

Two weekends ago I traveled to Springfield, MO to judge at the gymnastics competition of the Missouri Winter Games. The competition was Friday-Sunday with all age groups and levels of womens and mens gymnasts competing. It was an honor to be asked to judge and I enjoyed my fellowship time talking with the other judges throughout the weekend as well. I was able to meet judges from Arkansas and Oklahoma, which is always a fun experience.

But I must say, probably the most exciting part of the weekend, for me, as well as for all the gymnasts participating was the appearance of Nastia Lukin, the 2008 Olympic Gymnastics All Around Champion. She came in to Springfield and did a short exhibition with dance and tumbling, spoke a few words to the crowd, and handled about an hour and a half of autographs and pictures. Being judges we were able to have a quick personal picture time with her “I got to put my arm around her” and I think I told her that her dance was beautiful or something like that. Then she signed the pictures with a gorgeous silver pen, and they were given to us as memories of the weekend. How cool is that?!

When I got home Sunday evening, I was looking at the picture as I showed it to Pete and thinking about the whole experience, and it just struck me, how much more amazing it will be when I get to heaven and get to see Jesus. I have no idea right now what that’s going to look like or whether or not I’ll be able to put my arm around Him, but I sure hope so. From what I know of Jesus, his love and grace I’m pretty sure He will want to spend time with me, and that He might think it was funny if I asked for a picture with Him or an autograph. In fact, I don’t know what He would say, but I hope He might say something like “your life was my autograph for all of those you spend time with and showed my love.”

No matter what heaven is like, I know this was a reminder to me of the greater things I have to look forward to. The eternal life with my Lord, the eternal worship, and a new glorified body without pain, sickness, or heartache. Oh, the glorious things He has promised, these are the things I get excited about!

Most of my pictures of Nastia turned out a little blury because they were taken during her dance exhibition. But here's one that's not too bad.

Most of my pictures of Nastia turned out a little blury because they were taken during her dance exhibition. But here's one that's not too bad.

This was during our individual photo session with Nastia, which was really cool by the way.

This was during our individual photo session with Nastia, which was really cool by the way.