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Hello Texas

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gems-texasIt seems that God has put me back right where I started.  Not quite, but almost.  In this picture are my adorable new daughters in Christ. 20 daughters of the King gathered last week as we began the GEM's ministry in Houston. (Girl's Enrichment Ministry)  In addition to that, we have 5 leaders, one of whom God put it on her heart to bring GEM's to these 5th grade girls and she was fervent in her pursuit to make it happen.  God did tell me when I first moved to Houston 2 years ago to "sit tight" and let Him open the doors.  And He has, all through other Kingdom workers.  That's why it's so important to be in touch with the Body of Christ.  He uses ALL of us.  If you don't think He is using you, ask Him to show you how He is, ask a good friend to tell you how He is.  Don't keep your faith a secret, it's for the telling, not for the keeping.  Doors open when we profess Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

God moved me into ministry over 15 years ago.  He put it on my heart to gather a group of women who seemed to be in the same spiritual place as me, wanting something more, but not knowing exactly what it was we were after.  One day at my grandparent's house, I told my grandfather that I needed a Bible.  I didn't have one, never owned one, I didn't know which version to buy, there are so many.  I am sure he had to contain himself not to jump out of his recliner fast as lightning to go out to his shop and select one of his well worn Bibles for me.  Don't you know he was praising God all the way out there and back.  I love my Bible.  The one he gave me is my favorite.  I have many now, but none so worn as this one.  It is the New King James Version.  When He gave it to me, the binding was secured with a piece of packing tape, but it was still in great shape.  On the inside cover, he had cut and taped a printout of the Ten Commandments and placed a hand written note with 2 Chronicles 7:14 beneath it.  He also has Genesis 22:14 written inside but without the scripture notation.  Gen 22:14 says, And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day.  In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.  I wonder why that verse was noted. This verse is placed in scripture after Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son, but the Angel of the Lord told him not to do anything. Abraham took hold of a ram caught in a nearby thicket and offered it up as a sacrifice to the Lord rather than sacrifice his one and only son.   I wonder if Papaw wrote this because he knew the Lord provided Jesus as our scapegoat or if he was searching for provision and trusting for it in another matter.  I wish he had written all over his bible like I have.  Maybe men don't do that like women do?

Papaw's bible has been used well.  I am not boasting, but I can't tell you how many people I have been given the opportunity to minister to and have used this bible for that exact purpose.  I have faith that the Word given to the author's of this great book by the Holy Spirit has changed lives.  Young girls, teens, mothers and daughters, college kids, father's, the homeless, they all have heard God's Word from this precious gift.  I wonder how Papaw picked just that one to give to me among the many he had.  I wonder if he knew God's plans for me.  As a child and as a teenager I never really understood the work that he did on the prayer line at church and delivering Meals-on-Wheels.  I used to tease him and ask him how many of those meals he ate and didn't deliver.  Now I understand all of it.  He and my grandmother never pushed "religion" on me, but I don't know two more faithful people than them.  Thank you, God, for giving me such incredible, faithful grandparents and for letting me have a close relationship with them for more than 30 years.  You never know how God will use people in your life.  Age has no boundaries in faith.  Jesus has no boundaries.  Nothing can hold Him, not even death.

At our first GEM's meeting(s), God likes to keep things pretty basic.  It's important to get on the level of who you are teaching, you don't want it to be like a school day because they are already tired of school.  We talk about what different words mean like Christian, Word, Messiah and Fellowship.  Don't ever assume anyone knows what you're talking about.  GEM's is all about fellowship.  That's one of my favorite christianese terms.  Fellowship means this-- a heavenly love that fills, or should fill, believers with love for one another.  It is more satisfying and fulfilling than mere human love.  How about that?  I have had that verse memorized since our VERY FIRST GEMs meeting ever way back in September of 2008!!!  I believe in what I call GEM's math.  It's a simple concept as I am no mathematical scholar.  I believe that one GEM has the potential to affect at least 7 people.  Herself, 2 siblings, 2 parents and 2 grandparents.  If she shares anything she learned or did at GEM's she is testifying for Jesus.  We encourage them to share.  We pray together (it's the most wonderful time) and eventually we ask anyone to share something about her faith when she is ready.  Tears on that one every time.  It's fellowship.  The bond of Christ.  It is unbreakable.  I am so thankful to add 4 new Texas GEM's Leaders to my Sister's-in-Christ list.  I don't keep a list, but you know what I mean.  We will never know the impact of our investment in God's people.  But my hope is that one day, one of our GEM's will do the same for her children.  They do say everything's bigger in Texas.

If you are interested in starting a group like GEM's for your daughter, granddaughter, niece or any girls you care about please click on this link.
http://greaterthanministries.com/speaking-ministry/speaking-topics/girl-s-ministry-gem-s   
Our GEM's range from 5th grade to seniors in high school.
 
Or maybe you are interested in investing a weekend of your time exploring your faith with your spouse or a child/teen.  Outback America gives that opportunity in many cities including Mobile and Houston. Check out their website at www.OutbackAmerica.org.

The "parent" of Outback America is the JH Ranch.  You can enjoy the same experience for a longer period of time in beautiful northern California. Their website is www.jhranch.com.

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Guest Thursday, December 14 2017