Deuteronomy 6:5-9

"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

6 years ago

I can't believe it's been 6 years. December 28, 2004 my first son was born. Ethan Joel Mangum. Ethan (Strong, Firm) Joel (The LORD is God) Ethan was a super easy baby. He was never fussy, slept well, and overall happy.

They took Ethan to the nursery after I had him, because I ended up having a cesarean delivery. It was hours before I could hold him or nurse him. It was a nightmare. Because of that time, none of my babies leave me after delivery now. Martie pretty much stands his ground and does not let them take our babies. (you have that choice whether or not you know it)

When I did hold him and nurse him, it was absolutely perfect. I fell even more in love. The Lord used Ethan to grow me up in the Him. (as well as He has with each one of my children) With Ethan my view for more children changed. I never imagined us with a "large" family. I also started debating whether or not I should work outside the home. I owned my own business at the time.

So what is Ethan Joel like now?
Granny used to look at him and say he's going to be a genius. Well, I would have to agree. :) Ethan is very smart. He talked in sentences very early. He asks lots of questions. You can watch him and just see his mind going. I guess you could say he is a "thinker."

He's reading very well now. He's not that excited about it, unless it's a Star-wars book or something else he's interested in. He loves math and it comes very easy to him. I remember him adding numbers before I was even doing a "formal" math with him.

He still has beautiful blue eyes. His hair has darkened up a bit, but it's still sandy blond. Pa used to say he got his eyes from him. But, he looks a lot like my brother. Either way, Martie and I always said we would love to have a blue eye, brown hair baby. We just didn't think it was possible.

Ethan is growing into a responsible little boy. He will do his chores, and do them well. He will even go beyond his chores to clean something extra. He has a little obsessive compulsion. ;) He likes perfection. Hopefully God will use that to make Ethan more like Jesus.

He can be shy. He doesn't like the attention on him. Which can be difficult. (especially with family pictures) haha It can also be difficult if someone is trying to give him a complement.

Ethan loves his brother and sisters. Every time Taylor leaves now, he cries. He just goes to his room and lets out the softest sweetest cry. (it breaks my heart) He protects his little sisters, and entertains them for me at times. I can now trust him to keep an eye on them for me, so that I can do a chore. Andrew is his best friend. As I type this, they are playing Star-wars in their room. I hear them plotting out and giggling. (sweet sound)

Ethan loves to cuddle with me. He has always loved to crawl up in my lap with covers and just sit. He will look at me at the most random times and say, "mommy I love you."

Ethan, you are my favorite Ethan in the whole wide world!!! Happy 6th Birthday son!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Living out our faith

I hope and pray this post encourages someone to live radically for Jesus.

I am often frustrated with the lack of commitment that Christians have to corporate worship. First let me define corporate worship. This is a time where believers in Christ come together with the sole purpose of worship. (there can be a time of worship through music, prayer, preaching, communion...)

Hebrews 10:24-25 says that we should "Consider how to stimulate one another to love and goods, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near."

Now this is a difficult subject to speak on. Especially because I am a "pastor's wife." You may say that I don't understand. I am married to someone who's whole life is serving within the church. But please give me the opportunity to appeal to your heart as a fellow believer, who has not always been a "pastor's wife."

I remember asking my husband not too long ago, "If someone is not consistently coming to worship with the church, is that a reflection of their personal worship time with the Lord?" I also wonder if we do not make it a priority to pray with the church, do we make it a priority to have personal prayer time?

Looking at the Hebrews verse above,
we are commanded to come together with the church. I am confused at how I see in other countries Christian brothers and sisters walking miles in uncomfortable situations sometimes dangerous situations to gather with other believers. Yet, we here in America treat Sunday mornings or prayer services as something else on our schedule. We can come up with so many excuses. Yet there are people who would do or give anything to gather with other believers for the sake of worship.

It is mine and Martie's conviction to train our children to treasure that time with the church. Recently there was a big swim meet that was taking place on a Sunday morning. (what a temptation that was for Taylor and us) We had to stand firm that Sunday mornings were for worshiping the Lord with other believers. If we are out of town on a Sunday, we find a bible teaching church to attend.

I do not want you to be confused. Attending a worship service is not where your faith rests. Your faith should be in Christ alone. However I do believe that the time that you invest in serving your church body, worshiping with the church body, and encouraging the church is an outward sign of your faith.

James 2:14-17 "What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,' and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself."

Today was the first time in 3 weeks that I was in the service. (I had to teach one Sunday, Carissa was sick the 2nd, and I filled in for someone the 3rd) I cannot begin to tell you how I was encouraged, challenged, and refreshed to sit under the preaching and teaching of God's Word. I am reminded of my greatest purpose here on earth. Loving God with everything in me, and sharing Him with everyone else.

When I miss the service, I will listen to the sermons online. I need that instruction and training in God's word. If I want to live for Him, if I want to be faithful to Him, then I NEED that. I am a sinner, and I struggle constantly with sin. I need God and His word. I don't care HOW tired I may be, I don't care what the week looked like, I don't care what things try to distract me I NEED to gather with the church.

2 Tim. 3:16-17 reminds me "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; SO THAT the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." I thank God that I have a pastor who loves the Lord more than anything, and who loves the church, who wants to reach the nations for Jesus, and who wants to see the people of God become radical followers of Christ.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Here are a few of the pictures that I talked about in my last post. :) Enjoy! (Can you guess which one of my "blessings" did NOT want to get their picture taken?)