Archive | August, 2010

Who Are You?

24 Aug

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people belonging to God, that you may declare the
praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God;
once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10


Our upcoming move is approaching quite quickly … in fact, the big yellow truck will be pulling up out front one week from tomorrow.  There is still much to do, but every day more boxes are piling up in each room, appropriately marked regarding the contents and the new room to which it will be carried to upon arrival.  In the midst of the non-stop activity of packing, all the while still doing my part in hosting the pre-season football camp for the UC Bearcats at Camp Higher Ground, I make the time for the important things…like running an errand with my hubby, writing my blog, and going to church. 

Since my final day of employment at Higher Ground is this coming Sunday, I went to church this past weekend with great anticipation and emotion, knowing it was my last Sunday to attend Springdale Nazarene.  To add to the excitement of the morning, my dear friend Linda and her daughter came to join me on this final Sunday.  The songs were no doubt hand-picked by God Himself just for me …

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!


The choir came alive as the Days of Elijah rang throughout the sanctuary in praise …

These are the days of Ezekiel
With dry bones becoming as flesh
And these are the days of his servant, David
Building the temple of praise, yes
And these are the days of the harvest
The fields are all white in the world
And we are the laborers that are in your vineyard
declaring the word of the Lord
Behold He comes, riding on a cloud
Shining like the sun, at the trumpet's call!
Lift your voice!  It's the year of jubilee!
Out of Zion's hill salvation comes
Then there was a baby dedication.  I ALWAYS cry at baby dedications,
for I remember those two very special days when Tim and I stood before
God and the church promising to raise Kimberly and then Ryan to know
and love Jesus.  And not too long ago we stood with Kim and Troy as
they promised to do the same for Cole. 
This baby dedication was unique in the fact that the baby is the
grandson of General Superintendent Dr. David Graves, who is a
former pastor of Springdale Nazarene.  With great emotion and
grandpa pride, He performed the ceremony, followed then by
preaching the morning message.  What a treat!  He spoke
some of Africa, which is his first area of service as a
General Superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene.  I sat
on the edge of my seat as I listened to him tell that just
last Sunday he was in Swaziland … and I could hear the thrill
of a pastor’s heart as he is being blessed with the privilege
to personally experience and see what God and the Church is
doing on that great continent. 
Dr. Graves spoke from the books of Isaiah 60, Deuteronomy 7
and 1 Peter 2:9. His emphasis was that we must know who we
are and where we are going. Here are the four E’s…
Evaluate … Where I am right now.
Envision … Where God wants me to be.
Establish … Goals on how to get there.
Examine … Myself along the way.
Whatever God implants as a vision where He wants me to be, HE will be the One to work it all out if I
let Him …

Although you have been forsaken and hated,
with no one traveling through,
I will make you the everlasting pride
and the joy of all generations. 

You will drink the milk of nations
and be nursed at royal breasts.
Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior,
your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
Isaiah 60:15-16


The service ended with another hand-picked song …

Fill this place with the praise
Of the God of all grace
Lift Him high, Glorify
The Ancient of Days

Oh Ye saints lift your voice
Lift Your heads and rejoice
God is here!
Fill this place with praise



 I know this was an unusual blog … but as I sat there in the service, I knew I needed to share it here this week.  Perhaps there is someone besides me who needs this message  … for such a time as this. 


To listen to the actual message, you can go to the church’s website …
It is titled 2010-08-22 Sermon WHO WE ARE

Join me in evaluating, envisioning, establishing and examining … Who am I and where am I going?

Until next time,



Scripture Box

17 Aug

“The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land!!”
Isaiah 58:11


My days are filled lately with non-stop activity.  If I’m not working in the dining hall at Higher Ground serving food to the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, then I’m at home packing.  Our projected moving date is quickly approaching and there is still so much to be done.

As I was cleaning off the few remaining items from my bookshelf, I came across a black recipe box, except it’s not full of recipes.  It’s full of Bible verses.  This is a very special box, given to me by my son many years ago when our family responded to God’s call upon our lives to move to Albuquerque, NM.  Knowing how much his momma loved the Scriptures and depended on them, Ryan wanted me to have them handy, organized, and within reach. 

Eight different tabs divide the box into topics, each one marking the correct spot for the corresponding verses.  Some of the 3×5 cards are printed out on a computer, while others are still in his unmistakable handwriting.  Some have the identifying book/chapter/verse address and some do not.  And lying in the bottom of the box is the all-time favorite verse that was once taped to the top of the lid.  Over the course of many years and a couple moves, the tape lost its stickiness, but the message still rings true to this day … the verse that our family knows by heart … Isaiah 58:11

“The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land!!”


Our family claimed that scripture as a promise from God Himself when we obeyed Him and made our home on the campus of Nazarene Indian Bible College in 1997.  Over the years, I have come to realize that the sun scorches more than just the high deserts of Albuquerque. The sun, along with the high humidity also takes its toll on the rolling hills of southeast Indiana.  Even in the midst of a snowy and cold winter, God promises to guide and to satisfy our needs.

Before I close my box of treasures and pack it away with other items that are dear to my heart, I would like to share some of the verses with you.

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?   You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.   So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.   Genesis 50:19-21




Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice,
and no one will take away your joy.    John 16:22


This day is sacred to our Lord.  Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10



God is within her, she will not fall;  God will help her at break of day. 
Psalm 46:5



For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11



Be still and know that I am God. 
Psalm 46:10


This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 
Psalm 118:24



Ask and it will be given, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.  
Matthew 7:7



No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses,
so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 
Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land
I swore to their forefathers to give them.  Be strong and very courageous.
Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you;
do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be
successful wherever you go.  Joshua 1:5-7



But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33


Whether you turn to the left or to the right; your ears will hear a voice behind you,
saying,  “this is the way; walk in it.”  Isaiah 30:21


Such ageless messages of truth shared by the heart of a child so long ago.  God knew I needed to find this dusty box today for yet another reminder of a young boy’s love, but more importantly of HIS own unfailing love, protection, guidance, and mercy.

Until next time,




House Hunting

12 Aug

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and He will direct your path.
Proverbs 3:5-6


Some people hire a guide and hunt for exotic animals, others hunt for keys in the bottom of their purses, untold millions hunt for a good parking place at the mall, and then others comb through the ads on Craigslist for hours upon hours to narrow their search for a home.  The last description of hunting is of me.  Ever since the final decision was made a few weeks ago to accept a new job just south of Harrisburg, PA,  nearly every waking moment that I wasn’t working was spent sitting here with my faithful companion looking at countless ads and blurbs on houses for rent.  I have been house hunting.

After I became accustomed to the SCAMS that are out there, advertising in full color a gorgeous home that truly is too good to be true, I began to sort and organize the ads that offered the home amenities that were most important to Tim and I.  Things like 3 bedrooms, central air, at least a one-car garage, and plenty of storage space were the prime attractions.  Location was significant, along with the most crucial issue being the cost.   Once all of these factors met in agreement, I began to make a list of places to look at.  I’m not sure what we did before we had Craigslist, Google maps, and a GPS, but I do know that I’m grateful for these technological wonders that allow us to do what we need to do with greater ease and less stress. 

My 4 Hunting Guides

The highlight of the hunt was hiring the guide.  In my case, I hired 4 of them.  My mother eagerly jumped at the chance to assist as long as the first leg of our trip was on an airplane.  After checking prices and finding that Southwest could get us there at a bargain price, we purchased our tickets and began making plans.  We met up with our other hired hands at the Baltimore airport where they whisked us away to rest before starting on our journey the following morning.   The smallest one in the party was incredibly cute, always wanting to point at cars on the road, tractors in the fields, and growl at tigers in his books. 

Little houses, old houses … small closets or no closets … narrow bathrooms and fancy bathrooms … black walls, bright yellow walls, and holes in walls … tiny retro kitchens and large kitchens … small garages, messy garages, and no garage … a total of 8 showings scheduled and only one decision to make.  With help from the Ultimate Hunting Guide, the little town of Red Lion, PA and the big brown house with green doors will soon become the haven of rest that God Himself has hand-picked for Tim and I.

As the weekend of hunting came to a close, Mother and I tucked away some very special memories of ocean breezes, little boy kisses, delicious meals, and precious family love.  There is much work ahead to do … closets and drawers to clean out, boxes to pack, moments to embrace, hearts to love, and a new chapter of life to anticipate.  Won’t you join me in continuing to acknowledge Him …   for He will direct our paths!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and He will direct your path.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Until next time,

August 5th

5 Aug

This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24


August 5 is a very peculiar day.  At least in our family it is.  It’s as if God hand picked a day and made it very special to a lot of people.  Here’s the story …

My first real attention to the day was in 1978 when I found out August 5th was the birthday of my boyfriend at that time.   No big deal, really … so his birthday was in Aug.  Mine was in October.  I soon found out that his baby sister was also born on his birthday and his brother missed it by 3 days.  Wow!  In the mind of a 17 year old, I immediately thought that those first few days of August for the Van Hook family must be a really fun time!  Lots of birthdays and celebrating!

Joanna & Kimberly Christmas 2009

Well, as the story continues, I married that boyfriend in 1980.  August and October birthdays, among others, were celebrated and life picked up momentum.  After a few surgeries and quite the struggle to conceive, this young married couple was thrilled to find out that they were going to have a baby!  August 16th was the anticipated due date.  To add to the excitement, my brother and his wife were also expecting a new baby the latter part of July … their 2nd child.  How fun to watch the ever expanding waistlines grow and to share those months with them! 

Well, I’m sure by now, you have guessed what happened.  My mother said from the beginning that it would.  The overjoyed grandma predicted that both babies would be born on Tim’s birthday, August 5th.  And they were.  Only one hour and 48 minutes apart.  Same city, different hospitals, and drastically different weights.  The 7 day past due little girl weighed a little more than 8 lbs, while our impatient daughter, who came 11 days early, tipped the scales at 5 lb 5 ounces.   The twin cousins, as they love to call themselves, our now 27 years old. 

What a day August 5th is!  Besides the immediate family, Tim has several cousins who share this special day of the year … and August 5th was his grandparents’ wedding anniversary.  Join me today in celebrating those we love on their special days in August!

Until next time,