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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why does it have to be so hard?

by Cyndi Coleman
As my “I-don’t-do-mornings” and “I-don’t-love-school tween” and I were racing to school one morning she moaned, “Why does school have to be so hard?” Granted, this was our first day back after Thanksgiving break, and none of “my people”  (who live under my roof) felt up to our day’s demands; but her complaint disguised as a question deserved an answer. So, as we waited on a red light to turn green, I began, “Well, baby, it’s only hard because it’s all new. Next year, this hard stuff will be easier, and there will be new challenges. But ya gotta get this stuff nailed down first, so you’re ready.”


Isn’t all of life similar to this? As I look back over my life, I can see God leading me down dark and seemingly desolate paths. Those times were scary and full of new challenges (or opportunities depending on how you look at it); and  those times prepared me for what was ahead. Of course, there were times, on those paths, when I darted away from God’s guidance. Those were undeniably the most devastating and destructive times, for I had truly lost all direction. Each of those times found me caught in an entanglement of hopelessness crying for my Savior.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Moment of Mercy

by Cyndi Coleman
Sometimes, we may see disaster on the horizon and we spend time praying it will not happen to us. However, there are other times when disaster approaches so swiftly that we are only able to sit back and take in all the shock and hysteria that has come our way after it has passed. Still there are other times when we see that potential devastation has been averted. These are the times we should recognize that God has chosen, out of his sovereignty, to bless us with a moment of mercy we did not even know to ask for. As an illustration of what I’m writing about, I feel compelled to tell you about a time that still causes my heart to sink. I’m talking about a time when the potential devastation we avoided was only by the hand of God.  It was a moment when he chose to show my family mercy. A moment we could have never seen coming.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Thanksgiving Prayer

by Pam Roth
Have you ever noticed how the Lord works in mysterious ways and how relevant His word is for us?  Today, I found a prayer that I wrote over 30 years ago. Little did I know, when I wrote this prayer, that my children would be in their 40’s and that my husband and I would live 900 miles away from some of them when I discovered this prayer, again. 


Heavenly Father,
As I think about the Thanksgiving season, help me to be thankful…I mean really thankful.  I am truly grateful for your provision and my family.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Change the Channel!!!

by Cyndi Coleman
A few days ago Catheryn, our youngest daughter, lost the remote to her tv. This was not the first time; it happens frequently - at least once a week. So, once again, Catheryn was lamenting the lost  remote. She was frustrated because she could not change the channel - it was stuck, and she was, too. As I was plundering under stuffed animals and between Barbie dolls, trying to help her find it, I heard her exclaim, “I know! I can borrow Sissy’s remote!” Within 30 seconds she had asked her older sister, changed the channel, and was back to enjoying her TV time.

Do you ever feel like that? Like your life is stuck on the wrong channel and you’ve lost the remote? I know I have felt this way many times. Sometimes, I know that I get my heart stuck on something and I cannot seem to change it. No pun intended, but I’m definitely channeling something and it’s not positive! I get frustrated and get even more stuck. It can be a vicious and depressing cycle. 


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Just the slightest shift, part two

click to read part one

by Naomi Widmer, guest writer
As I reflect back on when I first recognized a “kiss on the cheek from God,” I would have to say that it came on a frustrating August morning when God nudged Pam to call me. Unbeknownst to Pam, I had been silently calling out to God, asking for clarity and wise counsel. I am forever in awe of how God gently works with the wounded - sending one of His surrendered servants to reach out to help pull stuck feet out of the pit of despair. 


Psalm 40:1-2, "I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Just the slightest shift, part one

by Naomi Widmer, guest writer

We are happy to introduce Naomi Widmer as our guest writer for the next two weeks.  Naomi, along with her husband, Mark, have served faithfully in ministry for over 35 years.  Naomi is a gifted musician and teacher.  She has also served as a missionary in the Dominican Republic with her husband and currently they are serving in a Christian school in Romeoville, IL.  Welcome Naomi to the Relevant Women blog!

Recently, I was asked the question, "Naomi, what is one thing you might be able to shift in your life this week to lighten the heaviness you currently have in your life?   And, when you figure it out, send me an email!" When I got off the phone, I sat there feeling perplexed.  I had no idea what could shift, short of quitting everything I was involved in, and hitting the road to find an illusive cabin in the woods!

As I sat there, I soon realized I had to get rid of all my pat answers or "christianese" statements.  The truth is, I literally had to sit this one out by being still, leaning into God, and listening for His still small voice.  This was the beginning of becoming aware of how God would perform these subtle shifts in my life. Honestly, to sit still and wait on God's gentle moving in my life is the opposite of my personality.  If I see a problem, "I" want to fix it - solve it in three easy steps and be done with it!  But from where I was sitting that day, it was evident my three-easy-step plan wasn’t going to work this time.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Finding peace in troubled times


Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Pam Roth
Have you found yourself saying, “I’m so tired of all of the negative news?”  And then, there is the concern of life threatening diseases and constant financial concerns.

Gratefully, I am reminded that I do not need to be fixated and troubled by the unknown; but I need to be focused on what the Lord wants to teach me during this time.  When I am alone and quiet, I find myself asking… “Is this a wake up call for me, for America?”   “Am I putting too much trust in other things and not enough trust in God?”  “Do I value my possessions more than I do my relationship with God?”  “Where is all of this going?”  And, “What will our lives be like in five to ten years from now?”  These are hard questions, but questions I need to ask myself.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Decide to be near to God

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
On a beautiful, sunny afternoon, I was reading on our back patio when I came upon a chapter about prayer and being near to God. Immediately, a particular Bible verse began to drift through my mind, “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).  While I paused to reminisce on this verse, I lifted up a half-hearted, weak prayer that went something like this, “Lord maybe you should come near to me, so I know where to find you.” I was not expecting an answer, but I got one. It was a shocking thought that consumed the rest of my afternoon. I felt God whisper to my soul, “You must come near to me because I am always near to you.” Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Since this caught me off-guard, I spent the next several hours contemplating and praying through this contradictory thought. 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

No Quenching Allowed!

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
“Do not quench the  Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16

Those who know me well would likely - no definitely - agree with this self-assessment: I am a very zealous person! Whatever I am passionate about consumes me and flows freely from within me. Since I am an extrovert, sometimes the things that are swirling inside of my head come gushing right out of my mouth. This can be both good and bad! And trust me, this has gotten me into, and out of, a lot of “interesting” conversations.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Much Appreciated Sabbatical

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women

by Pam Roth
Just about this time, several years ago, my husband and I took off for a week-long working sabbatical.  The cabin we stayed in was nestled in the woods near a lake.  Not far from the front porch of the cabin, you could see the lake on this beautiful piece of property.  So one day, we took a pair of Adirondack chairs down to the shoreline to rest and watched the sunlight dancing on the lake.  It was a picture perfect afternoon, and a great beginning to our little get away. 


Have you ever felt the need to get off of the “carousel of life?”  Does it seem like your life is spinning out of control?  Or maybe you feel like you are just walking around in circles, not accomplishing anything.  Perhaps you are exactly where we were.  Nothing was really wrong – life had just been pulling us in so many different directions that it had been hard to stay focused on any one particular project.  Specifically for me, the most important aspect of my life – my continued relationship with the Lord needed a time of renewal and both of us just need to find a quiet place to retreat.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Circumstances

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Heather Mason
Have you ever wondered what it really means to be a Christian?
Does it mean now, your life here on earth is perfect? You will never experience pain, go through trials, or be disappointed?


Over four years ago, I made the decision to give my whole self to Christ and to live for him. He was my Savior and he died so I could be free from sin. John 3:16 tells us “For God so loved the world, he gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall never die but have eternal life.” Immediately after that,  I was waiting for circumstances in our lives to line up perfectly and thought we were never going to have any struggles ever again.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Delight or Duty?

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
Last week we had an unusual night at our house. There were only two of us at home and we had nowhere we HAD to be. As I was sitting down to read, my younger daughter asked if I wanted to play a game with her. She lit up when I said, “yes.” I told her to get the game set up and I would join her in the den in just a moment.

I could see my daughter from where I was sitting. She was smiling; and skipping and singing while setting up our play area; and with great care, she set up each piece of the game. Her eagerness and excitement was a shining aura around her. As I watched her, my heart completely melted.  I loved the fact she was delighted to play with me. I could sense it wasn’t the game; it was me. I felt wanted and needed and very loved. It felt so good. I smile, even now, remembering it. As I set my Bible aside to play with my daughter, a thought bolted through my head: “When was the last time I was that excited to spend some quality time with Jesus?”

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Discipleship, Devotion or Both?

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
Discipleship or devotion? What’s the difference? Does it matter? Are they the same thing? Can one exist without the other? These were questions rolling around in my head when I misunderstood a text from a friend. A dear friend asked me to prepare a devotion for a retreat. When I asked if there was a specific focus or theme she shot back a few ideas. The text read, “How about discipleship or devotion?” I thought she meant those, together, as a topic. So I began thinking it through and researching it a bit. I felt a little confused though; thus the questions above.

Though I am familiar with both words, I looked up a definition to see their exact wordings. Sure, I know I should be a “disciple” of Jesus and I have a morning “devotion” time, but actual definitions can shed such light and bring perspective. So, here they are:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Modern-Day Idolatry - Part 2

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
So, how does a Bible believing, God-revering girl slip into idolatry? Unfortunately, very, very easily. Remember our definition of idolatry? “Whatever gets our firsts…” Whatever is a pretty inclusive word, isn’t it? So, let’s throw out a few things that just may be getting our firsts: our jobs, school, money, fashion (i.e. cars, clothes, shoes, etc), CELL PHONES, houses, TV, games…I’m sure you saw those coming… How about a few more: our children, our marriage, boyfriend/girlfriend, relationships, ministry, church, fitting in, feeling comfortable, feeling needed and wanted, being in charge, worry, a person, a pill, a possibility… the list goes on and on and varies from person to person.  

Now, here’s the hardest part...may I suggest that we take a moment and put things on pause right here. Have any of these things ever so consumed you that the pursuit of them got your “firsts”

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Modern-Day Idolatry

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
A few nights ago, during our time together as a family for devotions, we read a section in our book called, “Israel Forgets God.” It was a simple story - if we can call forgetting God simple - which introduces the cyclical faith of the Israelite people. As long as Moses and Joshua were alive, and leading the people of Israel - although, they would rebel against God from time to time - they would always return to him. However, there came a time after the death of Moses and later, with Joshua when those ways were forgotten. Judges 2:10 says, “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers (died), another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the images of Baal (false gods).”

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Girlfriend Gossip

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak at our women's Bible study. When I accepted, I did so with a previously written lesson in mind. I originally thought, “How awesome. I will use the lesson I prepared for a women’s retreat last spring. I may need to tweak it, but no big deal. Little work. Easy work. Done.” Or, so I thought. I tried and tried to tweak or adjust the lesson, but God clearly said, “Don’t you think you should ask me what I think?” Uh, oh… Obviously, with a question like that, the answer was clear, I was on the wrong path. So, he told me he wanted me to talk to the ladies about gossip. “Are you kidding me? No! I will not. I mean, that’s not really you, is it Lord? That is just some crazy thought in my head, right? They already know it’s bad. After all, everybody knows that. They’ll think I am judging them. Oh no! What if I have gossipped with some of them. How awkward.” I tried to talk my way out of it. However, God was persistent and so, I gave in and I nervously did research and with shaking hands and a rapid heartbeat I told the ladies what I discovered. 

And now, I will share it with you. I know, I know, I didn’t want to hear it either. I have to admit, what I found in Scripture can seem harsh and shocking!

I guess I have always considered gossip as the “little white lie” of sins. Sure, it’s wrong, well, sometimes, right? Okay, so, it’s wrong, but it’s not that big of a deal. Now, those of us who have felt the sting, or crushing blow of gossip realize that it wasn’t little or white or innocent...and yes, it was a very big deal!



So, what is your personal definition of gossip? Pause. Think about it for a minute. Now, what is gossip, exactly? 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Faith is…waiting

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Heather Mason
So you’ve made it through the storm. The uncomfortable event in your life is resolved and you begin living in your comfort zone once again. Have you ever found yourself living this way? The process of going through the struggle, making it through, growing closer to the Lord, and after some time your life is back to “normal.” Normal meaning, going about your days, possibly spending less and less time with God because, hey, everything is going great. Do I think it is wrong to be comfortable and enjoy the pleasures God has blessed us with? No, but I realize with me, I have a tendency to go through the motions of this life and spend less time with God when everything is good. Maybe even letting the faith that I built up through that last storm drift out of my memory. But, gratefully God has a way of reminding me.




Thursday, August 7, 2014

Faith is…

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Heather Mason
Faith is defined as complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

My husband was deployed overseas when he received news that his career in the Navy may be cut short, pending budget cuts. He waited days to tell me because he was afraid of my reaction.  For both of us, it was a major surprise to see how incredibly calm I was.  I remember telling him, “everything was going to be okay, just have faith.”

It would be seven months before we knew for sure if he still had a job. Month by month, my calmness faded; and before I knew it, I was taking things into my own hands, trying to make things happen. It got to the point, I encouraged my husband to retake an aptitude test, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, to boost his scores; which would open up more job opportunities for him within the Navy. At the sixth month mark the answer was “no,” and it looked like he may need to start looking for a civilian job.   Usually, that would be the end of this process; however, we had miscalculated and he received one more opportunity to be considered for a job. He was selected and was able to re-enlist in his current position and move forward with his career.

 Re-enlistment Ceremony, Bahrain 2/14

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hanging Between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"


by Cyndi Coleman
As Christians, we spend much time talking about the crucifixion and the resurrection, and we should. After all, as Casting Crowns puts it in their song, “Oh Glorious Day,”

Living, He loved me, dying, He saved me.
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever…


These two events are what Jesus’ life was all about. The entire purpose of God wrapping himself in flesh was to come to Earth, to love us, to save us, and to justify us.

However, what we don’t usually spend much time thinking about, much less talking about, are the hours between these eternity-altering events. While those events are of utmost importance, I would like for us to focus on that span of time between the two events - the hours between the crucifixion and the resurrection. Have you ever paused to consider them? Those were some dark hours in many lives.

Although Jesus had told his disciples (and the women who also traveled with them) in no uncertain terms he would suffer and die; and then he would be raised three days later (Luke 9:22). However, once Jesus exhaled his last breath, and the tomb was sealed, their faith waned with panic and confusion set in. 

“Wasn’t he God?”  
“Wasn’t he all powerful?” 
“Why didn’t he save himself?” 

“What about the kingdom he talked about?”  
“What now? Am I next?”

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Learning His Passion & LOVING IT!

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
Although I was a cheerleader throughout middle and high school, I had very little understanding about how sports - football and basketball - were played. I knew when we made a touchdown or missed a free throw, but that was about it. I supported my friends and school with joy when we were up and felt sad when we were down. However, the truth be known, I was just a bystander, just another fan.

I always said I’d never marry a preacher or a coach because they are too consumed by their careers. Well, about 17 years ago I fell in love with a handsome football player who turned out to be a fantastic football coach - and my husband. 


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Prayer: Are you Baring Your Soul or Bargaining with God?


Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
Recently, I was praying for a friend of mine. There was a possible move in her future and this was the day the decision would be made by her husband’s employer. Since I cannot imagine life without her being around, my prayers were serious and offered several times. In prayer, mid-sentence I might add, I felt the Holy Spirit ask me if I trusted Him. I must admit, this caught me completely off guard! In the quiet, I felt Him nudging my heart with, “Trust me with your prayer. Trust me with the desires of your heart.”

At this point, I realized that I was bargaining with God. I was using lots of, “I really want this, but not if this or that” tucked tightly with, “if you do this, God,  I will do this or that”. I was “dressing up” my request and bargaining with God to get what I wanted. I was, in my own way, explaining to God why what I wanted was best and why that should matter to Him. Ever been there?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Disappointment HURTS!!!

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
Sometimes believing God will handle a situation does not mean that a particular situation will turn out positively. Meaning what we want or desire may not be what happens. In fact, the outcome or results may actually bring a multitude of negative emotions: disappointment, sadness, anger, fear or a combination of these.

Disappointment can also lead us to a place of wandering as we wonder if somehow God has missed something. Does God realize how important this is to me - my family? Doesn’t God care about how much this hurts?!  Isn’t God all-powerful?!  How did he let this happen; more importantly, WHY did he allow this to happen?

Friday, July 4, 2014

You are More

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women

by Cyndi Coleman
When I was a little girl I wanted to be a princess so badly. Every princess movie and story completely inspired me. I felt that I was living an ordinary life, but I was made for more. I felt like I was created to live an exciting, adventurous life. So, I prepared myself and waited for my fairytale to begin. However, it didn’t take many years for me to realize I wasn’t perfect, I messed up a lot, and hurt the people I loved the most. I began to believe I wasn’t good enough or special enough for the childhood fantasy. No wonder it never came true.

Since I was nothing very unique or special, I decided to settle on whoever and whatever would give me the approval I was so desperate for.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fearful Buddy

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
Our sweet and adorable lab, Buddy, is ridiculously scared of seemingly everything. A rain storm, train whistle, and even the weekly garbage trucks are enough to send him into fits of shaking, hiding, or attempts at running away.

I can understand the shaking and hiding, but the running away has always puzzled me. Why would he seek to run away from the safety of our home and out into the open where the scary noises or threatening weather is?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Cloudy Waters

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
We have a fish tank which is home to eight goldfish. It is quite relaxing to watch them swim around; however, there are times when we have to care for the fish by cleaning their tank. 

Every once in awhile, the water gets cloudy and and that’s when we know it is time to clean the tank. That means we must drain it, clean it, rinse all the rocks, and refill it. Of course in this process, we have to relocate our fish. We wait to catch them until the water is relatively low; this cuts down on the chase somewhat. The poor little dears dart all over frantically trying to avoid the approaching net. One by one, we scoop them out and gently place them in their temporary holding tank. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Many Hats of Womanhood

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women

by Cyndi Coleman
As a woman, I wear so many hats: wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, co-worker, church member, neighbor, teacher … and just maybe, one or two I am not aware of. I earnestly desire to excel, not just survive, in all of these areas. Of course, that is impossible and comparing myself to others is a one way street to depression and unrealistic expectations of self.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Running the Race

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women

by Cyndi Coleman
Every once in a while I get on a health kick. You too? When I do, I usually employ two things - healthy eating habits and running. I don’t really enjoy running as some do; however, it quickly produces more dramatic results.

Running is hard to do. Pushing myself to my goal of distance is tough; but I must press on because if I do not, nothing will be gained. The fatigue, sweat, burning muscles and thirst are not pleasant; however, they are part of the process. Pain can indicate growth, mile markers on the track lead to finishing well. 


“...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Hebrews 12:1b)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Life lesson #12 on my trip to Honduras

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Pam Roth
I’ve been praying about a significant way to end this series.  So, I chose to write about something that happened toward the end of our trip, something that might be applicable to all of us.

Early on, as Luisa and I began to plan our trip to Honduras, we started talking about the possibility of taking a trip to the Island of Roatan.  With a full schedule, traveling to see Luisa’s family and friends and two conferences, we weren’t sure if or when it would work for us to go to the Island.  However, being hopeful things would fall into place, we continued to talk about the likelihood of the trip happening, and penciled it in for two full days at the end of our stay in Honduras.  


Because Luisa hadn’t been to Roatan since she was a child, she was excited about the prospects of making the trip and shared the plans with her mom; while staying with her in Santa Rosa.  As the two weeks of our trip were coming to an end, it became apparent we would be able to go to the Island.  So, we finalized our arrangements with friends living on the Island, and Luisa’s mom decided to join us.  Now, there were three of us with our hearts set on going to Roatan. 
 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Life lesson #11 on my trip to Honduras


Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women

by Pam Roth
Do you ever wish you could get off the merry go round of life?  Is your life anything like mine, where you find yourself pushing the envelope sometimes?  The weeks and months seem to fly by, your schedule is full all of the time; and the things you promised you would get around to never happen because you just keep pushing them out further and further.  

Perhaps secretly, most of us long for a simpler time.  A time when cell phones and text messages didn’t dictate our schedules.  When every home had a phone tethered to the wall, and when we were at work, we worked and when we came home, we got away from work and focused on our family and other interests in our lives.

While in Honduras, I had the opportunity to actually experience a “flashback in time.”  Mostly, driving through small and rural villages, we saw people on their horse or mule-drawn carts traveling down the roads.  Quietly and persistently, they would climb the hills while carrying a heavy load of wood, wares, or food.  

As we traveled, I paid particular attention to the horse-drawn carts. The dichotomy of carts alongside the vehicles on bustling roads allured me to thoughts of a simpler, more peaceful place.  It was easy to let my mind go there...to rest from other things going on around me.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Life lesson #10 on my trip to Honduras


Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women

by Pam Roth
Real or imagined...fear is a powerful emotion.  And faith...well, it is just the opposite of fear; that is why I love the definition of faith in the Bible, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT)

As soon as I accepted the offer to be a guest speaker and travel with Luisa to Honduras, friends and family began expressing their concerns.  One of my friends actually emailed asking me not to go because she was afraid.  Specifically, some of our friends and family were most concerned about Luisa and I flying in and out of San Pedro Sula; which, recently was herald “the world’s most violent city” (study by Mexico’s Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice).

Some would call it naivety, I would call it, “confidence in God.”  Instead of fear - and let me tell you, we had amble opportunities to be tested.  I had such an amazing sense of peace that everything was going to be alright. However, just being on the roads in Honduras with cars, trucks, horse or mule drawn carts and buses coming at you from every direction is scary enough; let alone never knowing when you might be approached by someone or flagged down by the local policia.  



Friday, May 9, 2014

Life lesson #9 on my trip to Honduras

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Pam Roth
How do you define true wealth?  Is it the things you possess? The financial investments you have made? 

The scripture (I Timothy 6:7-10), says that we came into this world with nothing and we will leave this world in the same manner.  It’s what we do with what we have in the in-between time that really matters. 

If you have had the opportunity to travel on a mission trip out of the United States, or perhaps on a vacation to another country, it doesn’t take long to see how wealthy we are as Americans compared to other societies in this world. 

While in Honduras, it was quite evident the stark difference between those that might be considered the “haves” and the “have nots.”  Houses contrasted from lean-tos in slum areas, to moderate concrete dwellings, to luxury homes surrounded with rod iron fences.  

(click for larger view)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Life lesson #8 on my trip to Honduras

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Pam Roth
Come...come insisted Luisa’s mother as we walked down the long corridor of her house toward the back door.  I have something special I want to show you.  


As we stepped outside of the main house into the drizzling rain, mama, as I fondly called her, dashed out ahead of us into a small wooden dwelling.  Once inside, she immediately walked over to what she wanted to show us - an authentic clay oven.  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Life lesson #7 on my trip to Honduras

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Pam Roth
The power of unconditional love is amazing! 

While in the small church in Santa Rosa, my eyes caught a glimpse of three young girls sitting with their mothers.  Quietly and attentively they listened to each speaker and then passionately they sang when we all worshiped together.  At one point, one of the girls saw me and she smiled.  Her smile was sincere.  It was heartwarming to see such an accepting face, so without hesitation I smiled back.   

During one of the breaks, she gathered up her two friends and gradually, they made their way across the room to meet me.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Life lesson #6 on my trip to Honduras

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Pam Roth
Where’s the church?  The driver pulled under a large tree to protect us from the rain and then he opened the car door.  Slowly and hesitantly, we began to exit the car.  Looking around, I began to wonder where is the church?  At that time, the only building we could see from the road was a small dwelling on the hillside that appeared to be someone’s home.  On the side of the house, people had gathered to have a cup of coffee under a protected space provided by a portion of the roof from the house.  Could this be the church?  If it was, how will they be able to accommodate all of the people they were expecting?

Walking in a row like little ducks following their mother, we started to climb the hill.  Stopping momentarily, we greeted those that had gathered under the roof; and then, with the wet and soggy ground under our feet, we began zigging and zagging our way up the hill.  


With nothing but the rain and the vegetation on the hillside in view, I began to wonder again - “Where is the church?”

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Life lesson #5 on my trip to Honduras

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Pam Roth
Perspective.  It’s an interesting thing how we hold on to our perspective about different things in life.  And, it is even more interesting how we have developed those perspectives.  Well, today’s blog article isn’t going to be a psychological or sociological lesson; however, it is going to be about how my perspective was challenged on my trip to Honduras.

The next morning after arriving in Santa Rosa, we went to a conference being held in a local church.  Since there were five women in the house needing to be ready to leave at the same time for the conference, we got up early.  It had rained all night; and it was literally pouring down rain that morning.

Once we were all ready, we needed to figure out how we were going to get to the conference because the roads were not safe to travel.  Gratefully, a nearby neighbor offered to bring the car and drive all of us to the church.  So, one by one, we carefully made our way through the puddles of mud in the yard to the car.  I was the last one to be escorted to the car with an umbrella; and much to my surprise, when we got to the car, there was no room for me to sit.  Jokingly, someone said, “You’re the smallest one of us, so jump in and lay across all of our laps in the backseat.”  


Seriously!  How was that going to happen?

Well, that’s exactly what happened.  They convinced me that was the only way all five of us plus a driver were going to be able to make it in a compact car to the church in the pouring rain.  Logically, it made sense to all go at the same time, so the driver wouldn’t have to come back just for me; however, it was a bit of a challenge thinking about lying horizontally in a back seat of a car instead of sitting upright on the seat. 

On the twenty minute trip from the house to the church is where this life lesson on perspective came into play...


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Life lesson #4 on my trip to Honduras

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Pam Roth
When was the last time you made a decision you wanted to change; but, it was too late?  You know what I’m talking about.  The kind of decision where you begin to question your rationale for making the decision in the first place. 

Well, join me on a decision that we made to travel down the road to Santa Rosa. 



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Life lesson #3 learned on my trip to Honduras

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women

by Pam Roth
For an extravert, this may be one of the most difficult blog articles that I will ever write.  While I was experiencing it, this lesson was both challenging and beneficial. 

Jokingly, I said to my husband the other day - “Well, I’ve only written two blog articles about my trip to Honduras and the life lessons that I wrote about happened in the first two days.”  Then, I followed that comment up with this thought, “And my next blog article is about life lesson number three; which also happened in day two.”  It was at that very moment that I realized that the Lord was with me right from the get go of our trip and he had a divine plan in mind.  Two days and three life lessons...I must have needed this trip.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Life lesson #2 learned on my trip to Honduras

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Pam Roth
You know that sinking feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach when something doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would?  Especially, after planning, preparing and thinking you have a fail-safe plan.  Well, that’s exactly what happened to me the second day in Honduras.

After reading blog articles, researching the travel guide - Lonely Planet for Honduras, and getting advice from experienced travelers and missionary friends, I thought I was all set to go with a great financial plan that would keep me carrying just enough cash to get me through my two weeks in Honduras.   My husband, Nelson, had researched and found what he believed to be the best debit card to carry; and he had called the company to notify them of the dates that I would be traveling in Honduras.  I also had a small amount of cash with me for my flight from New Orleans to San Pedro, Honduras.  Once at the airport, the plan was for me to get cash from an ATM for the first week in Honduras and then get money on an as needed basis along the way.

Sounds like a perfect plan, right?  Wrong! 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Life lesson #1 learned on my trip to Honduras

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Pam Roth
We’ve all heard… “get rid of the extra baggage that weighs you down”… “you need to cut your losses” or we’ve read the scripture verse about “laying aside every weight that slows us down” (Hebrews 12:1 ESV).  Well, this was my very first life lesson learned from my trip to Honduras.

Everything was going well.  We arrived at the airport in New Orleans in good time and there was a short line to check in our luggage.  Well, until I heard the words – 10 pounds overweight.  Yes, it’s true, my suitcase was 10 pounds over the allowed weight for the plane.

After recovering from the shock of the announcement, I was on the floor with my suitcase wide open and reassessing what I had packed.  And so, the stress was on.  What would I eliminate?  What a painstaking process packing had been, so to think of what to eliminate in a matter of minutes was the last thing that I wanted to do.  With the help of my family, we began the process of pulling items out of my suitcase and then weighing the suitcase again to see if I had met the limit.  On the third trip to the scale, my suitcase finally qualified with an acceptable weight.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dirty Feet

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
The washing of the disciples’ feet was such a tender, teachable moment through which Jesus was teaching the depth of his love and dedication. In his righteous humility, he illuminates his love and ministry to us. Jesus did this willingly to give the disciples a foretaste of what he was willing, and meant, to do for them.



The washing of feet was meant to be done by a lowly servant, not the guest of honor. The disciples were appalled that Jesus should wash their feet.This was the most lowly thing they’d witnessed Jesus doing. Though beautifully symbolic and powerful, this was so little compared to what Jesus knew laid ahead of him in just a few short hours, the ultimate act of humility - the crucifixion.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Our Covenant God

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
Something I treasure about Scripture is when a well-worn verse has fresh life breathed into it and is as though the verse is brand new. That happened to me today with Genesis 9:9-10. God is speaking to Noah, promising never to flood the earth again, God begins by saying, “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you – the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you – every living creature on earth.” After this introduction God actually says He will never again flood the entire earth, but it is the introduction that got my attention today. Why would God make a covenant to animals? I get why He promised Noah and us, but why did He include the animals?

As I pondered this, it seemed as though God gave me a clearer understanding of that particular verse.  A covenant does not demand a two-sided promise; it can be one sided. Sometimes, God’s covenants are one-sided. God’s promises depend not on the promise receiver; but, on the promise maker. His perfect promises hinge on nothing but His holy self. His promises are not contingent upon our actions, acceptance, or even knowledge of them.  They, like Him, just are. God is The Great I Am, so therefore His promises just are.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Messy Ministry

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
Our family morning routine concludes with me leaving our home last. So, it is up to me turn everything off and lock up. One morning, not too long ago, I was really in a rush to do these last minute tasks.  I was already running late, when I noticed a distressed bird trapped in our screen porch. As I bolted the sliding glass door and headed out, my heart sank. I knew what I should do. But I delayed… “You will definitely be late for work if you stop to help this bird,” I argued with myself.

Now, I had a decision to make.  I could leave the bird and get to work on time, or I could save the bird and be late. Since this was not our first trapped bird, I knew it could be a long and drawn out process. The bird was frantic and flying into the screens over and over desperate to escape. I knew that in a short time, she would be dead or lying on the cold concrete floor with something broken. I could not stand it. I unlatched the door and hurried to help. I tried to shew her this way and that, to no avail. Finally, I cried out and asked in Jesus’ name for her to take my direction and go toward the now-open door. As I live and breath, she went directly out the door at that moment. Immediately, I thanked Jesus and then made my own hurried flight to work.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Reserve

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
Though I was one of the girliest girls ever, when I was younger, one of my favorite pastimes was mud-riding on my very own four-wheeler.

Once while out in the country with my dad and big brother, Dad was planning to lead us to a new place to ride on the adjoining property. I was unfamiliar with the land, so I did not know the way, but he indicated it was far.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lactose Intolerance

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
When our second born became dramatically ill after each bottle, our pediatrician revealed to us that she was likely lactose intolerant. It was a simple fix; we changed her formula and she - and we - were all better.
 

Not being able to drink milk has never seemed to be a problem; she loves her soy alternative. However, as she has gotten older, ice cream has become an issue. All of her friends and sister enjoy it, but she can’t. It looks good and it tastes even better, but the after-effects are painful. Each time she indulges, she hurts and is sick for a while.
Catheryn has gotten used to this and sometimes she decides to have the ice cream knowing the pain will come.  She is old enough to make the decision, so we allow her to decide - to make a choice. 
 
As Christians, we also get to make decisions and choices daily. It is called free will...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Selling Lotion

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman 
When I moved away to college, I worked part-time selling bath products in the mall. I was hired on by an energetic manager who demanded all employees study and learn every product in the store. I learned much about which products were good for different skin types and why certain people were attracted to different designs and packaging. Since I was majoring in Marketing, this was all very interesting. Under the direction of this good manager, I was knowledgeable enough to not only sell, but to sell products that truly benefited the consumer. 

Since this was almost an hour away from my hometown, my usual customers were people whom I did not know. My only relationships with them was strictly superficial. I noticed over time that if a customer came in that happened to be from my hometown, I felt embarrassed and awkward. I had a harder time closing the sell. I didn’t know less, I just felt silly.
I don’t know about you, but this is true in my spiritual life as well. I am more apt to, and more confidently to share my faith with strangers and new acquaintances than life-long friends and especially family.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Un-Christmasing

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
I dread taking down our Christmas decorations. It is sad. In fact, I put it off as long as possible. One year, I left our Christmas decorations up until March! No joke.

What was much-anticipated and a joy a little over a month ago, is now a dreaded chore. Isn’t it interesting how the very same items and activity can change with time? A month ago, my daughters and I were trimming the tree to blaring Christmas tunes; recently, I had to beg...I mean demand their help. Why? The thrill, expectation, and the overall spirit of the holiday, had drifted away, lost, packed up and shut down until next year.

Does this sound familiar?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Time for a change?

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Pam Roth
January is the month for new beginnings and hope for the future.  Well, at least that’s our intentions every January…to look to the future and to make resolutions to change the things in our lives that need to be adjusted. 


So, what New Year’s Resolution have you made?  Are you committed to get back into the routine of going to the fitness center?  Or maybe you decided to be more organized this year, so you ran out and bought all the necessary items that you are going to need…a calendar, file cabinet, or containers to organize your closets.