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Monday, August 22, 2011

Ten year plan!

Currently we've been thinking about our "plans for the future"...I guess thats what a baby does to ya!

(Speaking of which, the pregnancy is going really well. We found out its a little boy!! Miles Timothy Clemons. We're so excited!)

Most of you know that Tim and I have a heart for church planting and missions. We have known this since we got married, and it has yet to change. However, the location of where this calling will take place has yet to be placed on our hearts. It has changed so many times its embarrassing (New York, France, Middle East, Amsterdam, Turkey, name it!) We are completely patient, and would be happy and excited no matter God leads us. We just aren't sure if it will be American and we wanted to keep both options open, hoping that God will reveal where He wants us.

Here is the situation...
Currently we are in the International Church Planting degree, hoping to be employed with the IMB for two years after our local studies. Because most of the countries we would like to serve in are "closed" countries, we were thinking it would be beneficial to have a degree or trade that would help us enter into the country (and put us in a position to be heavily involved with locals) Both of us wished we had studied something else while in college (Candi wanted to study middleschool/highschool teaching, and Tim wanted to study business.)

Here are the two (ten year) scenarios that we are contemplating.

  • We continue with the International Church Planting program. We would be deployed in 2014, and serve 2-3 years overseas in a location that is chosen by the school and the IMB.
  • We return to the states, and hopefully become involved in a church plant.
  • We study to receive our teaching and business associates.
  • (optional) We apply for a career position with the IMB, utilizing our teaching and business degrees.
  • We switch to the North American Church Planting program.
  • We are then employed with NAMB in a North American location.
  • While serving with NAMB, we would pursue our associates in business and teaching.
  • (optional) After serving with NAMB, we would apply for a career position with the IMB, utilizing those degrees.
The reason why the last points are (optional) is because God may reveal to us that we should ultimately be serving in America. We're just trying to allow God to move us where He wants.

We ask that you please pray for us as we make this decision. We welcome any advise, encouragement, criticisms or whatever you want to throw at us! There is probably several aspects that we are overlooking. We are simply trying to make the best decision for our future and could use some wisdom.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Little Baby Clemons on the Way!

As most of you already know…we’re pregnant!

(actually wrote this about a week after I found out)

We are sooo very excited. I want to go out and buy everything now, I want to find out if it’s a boy or girl, I wanna see it and play with it! EEEEEeeee! So far my pregnancy has been fairly easy (I realize this may change when I post my next update) HA. The waiting process of pregnancy is killer! You feel different so you wait and wait and wait to take the pregnancy test. You take the pregnancy test (maybe multiple times) and you wait and wait and wait for the results. You get a positive, and you wait and wait and wait to have your first doctor’s appointment. Then you wait and wait and wait to tell everyone about it! THEN you wait some more to find out if it’s a boy or girl! Finally…you gotta WAIT for the thing to even get here! PHEW sure is frustrating for a woman with raging hormones. In all honesty though, every little step is so exciting I don’t even care about all the waiting.

Everywhere I read told me to have a journal during my pregnancy…so here goes.

This is what I’ve experienced so far. (I’ve erased some, cause they were just a little too personal to place on a blog. HA sorry if what I did put offends anyone.)

  • Implantation Bleeding- Didn’t experience this.
  • Missed Period- Yes
  • Abdominal Cramps- Yep
  • Fatigue- I nap all the time! I get sleepy by 9:00pm but for some odd reason I wake up at ungodly hours in the morning. (Now, I’m still tired all the time…but I stay up at night with nausea and wake up later)
  • Headaches- Occasionally…and they like to occur right in the middle of class, church or a movie. Of course.
  • Food Cravings of Aversions- Haven’t really noticed much except I am always hungry. The only thing I can’t seem to get enough of is orange juice. (I still crave orange juice…but eating has become harder due to nausea. I try to eat little things every hour)
  • Morning Sickness- Not really, just starving when I wake up. (I call mine Night Sickness)
  • Nausea (with or without vomiting)- Haven’t had any!! *knocks on wood* I’m pretty amazed by this, but I haven’t thrown up since I was a kid. So maybe that’s just not a problem for me. Which would be AWESOME! (Obviously this didn’t last long. I’ve only thrown up once…but the nausea is pretty frequent.)
  • Tender or Sore Breasts- Yes…this is quite annoying.
  • Frequent Urination- I didn’t really notice a change until a little while later…now I’m up a during the night with frequent bathroom trips. (I notice it now. I try not to drink too much at night)
  • Increased Sense of Smell- Not really.
  • Heartburn and/or Constipation- Sometimes. (both are a big yes now.)
  • Mood Swings and Irritability- At first I noticed my mood was really good, I felt so great! Its been changing though. (I’ve been crying every day over the weirdest things. Sometimes it’s just cause I’m happy. Other times I can get really mean if I haven’t eaten…)
  • Back Pain- Yes, comes and goes.
  • Skin Changes- Yeah, I look like a teenager again. Stupid pimples.
  • Gas- More so in the beginning, but yes, so embarrassing.
  • Higher Body Temperature- I haven’t taken my temperature, but I have felt warmer.
  • Bloating or Weight Gain- bloating yes, haven’t noticed any weight gain.
  • Positive Pregnancy Test – YES! More like four a five of them! Haha

Anyway cute little "clemontine" will be a Christmas baby. I am due around December 26th. Which is good news and bad news. Bad news, cause I don't wanna be in the hospital on Christmas. Good news, cause my parents will be able to return for vacation during that time!! So nice to know that they'll be here!!

I'll try to keep updated, but you guys know how sporadic I am with blogging!

Friday, March 25, 2011

God's Love for His Creation

This is not a review of Rob Bell's book "Love Wins" nor is it a critiscism of his theological views. I have not read his book and so can not speak to what it does or doesn't say. (Although i plan to read it and would welcome a free copy should anyone be feeling generous) Also i have not read much by Rob Bell or listened to any podcasts so I do not feel comfortable discussing his theological views. I really do not want to start a Rob Bell discussion. There are enough of those out there.

However, this is a response to a topic that has been thrown into the spotlight because of Bell's newest book. What really does happen when we die? Scripture is very clear that the punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). Scripture also speaks of judgment for those who do not place their faith in Jesus as the atonement for their sins (Romans 3:21-26). But it appears that the question at hand is this: Can someone still go to heaven if they do not recieve Jesus as their savior and depend on him as the propitiation for their sins?

As humans we "understand" several things about God. From his word we are told that He is loving and just. It naturally seems though from our perspective - that is the perspective of the creation - that if God were truly loving that he would want all to be saved and that if he were just he would give everyone every possible chance to come to faith in Jesus, even after death. However i would like to suggest that this does not depict a God who is loving and just. This depicts a God who is bound to the well being and salvation of man out of obligation to man's need for Him. This is not an image of the God presented in the Christian Scriptures. God is not obligated to redeem his fallen Creation. He did not cause creation to fall. Saying that God is responsible for cleaning up mankind's mistake would be thrusting man into a superior level over God.

God's love and justice are not displayed in that he is obligated to redeem mankind to himself. God's love and justice are made evident and all the more glorious in that he chose to redeem His creation. The same creation that rejected Him. The same creation that traded relation with him for brokeness. The same creation that said, "I would rather be left to seek my own glory and bask in my insufficiencies than to have anything to do with you."

God's love and justice are not strengthened and made beautiful because he will give us endless oppurtunities to accept Jesus. It is cheapened. It makes God look like a little boy who is willing to do anything just so the cool kids in school will notice him.

But there is an undescribable righteous love that is displayed when God says "Even though you hate me and want nothing to do with me, i have made a way for you to be whole out of MY provision in Jesus Christ." This is a just God. A God that requires atonement through blood for sin and offers the sacrifice because he knows that the sinner can not. This is a loving God. May God grant us the humility and the boldness to hold up what we think love and justice are to the light of His word. Without it, what hope do we have of knowing Him at all?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Touched by Angel

So today after church Tim and I didn't have enough time to go home to eat. (He had to go to work, and I had to attend a friend's bridal shower.) So we decided to stop and grab something from the mcdonalds dollar menu. While standing in line, we began discussing how much we could buy with the 4 dollars in our bank account. All of a sudden, a lady came up behind us and told us to order whatever we wanted and she would pay for us and may the Lord bless us. Haha, apparently she heard our depressing discussion. We were so touched we felt like crying. We asked what her name was, and she said Angel.
She left immediantly after paying for our food. We never saw her come in or go out, and we never noticed anyone else in line with us. I dont know if she was an actual angel, but it was pretty ironic that her name was Angel. Normally we always see ourselves as the giver. It was very touching to be the recipient of a good deed. What a remider of the way we should respond to the needs of others. How wonderful and encouraging is the body of Christ!

A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. Proverbs 22:9
But just as you excel in everything, in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us, see that you also excel in the grace of giving.
2 Cor. 8:7
Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Romans 12:13
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
Hebrews 13:2

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Slow to Anger, Quick to Love

Two posts back to back! Must be in the writing mood.

This semester is teaching and growing us in incredible ways. Besides taking four amazing classes (well 3 amazing, one not so amazing), God has been reveiling so much of Himself through His Word. Its wonderful to soak it all in. You can hear a story told a million times, but there comes a time where everything connects and it is made real to you.

So a little while ago I wrote a post on marriage. One of the passages I gave was James 1:19-20
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
James 1:19-20
While having a personal devotion time, I came across this passage in Psalms.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
Psalm 103:8

This verse immediately reminded me of the verse in James. But this was not the only verse proclaiming that the Lord is slow to anger and quick to love. Its also found in Exodus 34:6, Numbers 14:18, Nehemiah 9:17, Psalm 86:15, Psalm 145:8, Joel 2:13, Jonah 4:2, AND Nahum 1:3

How do we do this? How do we become slow to anger? How do we become quick to love others, quick to listen to them, and quick to actually LOVE them?

We learn by example.

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

We are but mere reflections of the Son. Tim gave a good analogy today, he said that we are like the moon, the only light that we can give is a reflection of the sun's light.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

This is why Paul says in Philippians 4:8 that our "good deeds" are rubbish. LOVE, FORGIVENESS, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GENTLENESS etc. can only come from God. We cannot have the fruits of the Spirit, without the SPIRIT! We are nothing apart from Him.

This righteousness comes from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ. Romans 3:22-24

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wrestling with God

Do you ever feel like Jacob in Genesis 32? Jacob wrestled with God. Even though he ended up with a limp, God said that he prevailed. I'm not sure if this passage is saying Jacob physically wrestled with God or if this was a spiritual battle. But I do know that there are times in our lives where we feel as if we are wrestling with God.

God speaks. We hear.....we digest....we obey. Or at least we should obey. But that pattern takes a crazy spiritual wrestling match between our desires and God's desires. Sometimes we're not even sure which desires are ours and which desires are God's. During this wrestling match, we may even get physical results like Jacob's limp. Except ours comes in the form of nausea, headaches, and fatigue.

Tim and I are going through this right now. We're trying to wipe away our desires for God's. Sometimes our desires are so wrapped up in "good things" that it is hard to tell the good things from the God things. Please pray for us. Pray that God will give us clarity to see His will. Pray that we would not create any form of division in the body of Christ. You can pray for us in the same way that Paul prayed for the believers in Colosse.

"For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light."
Colossians 1:9-12

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Growing in Love

Sorry its been awhile, I guess we get blogging brain farts. Alot has happened these past few months....crazy how that can happen.

We are now currently in a new home (just right down the street) and Tim has a new full time job at a Walmart distribution center. We're loving the new place, its bigger with two bedrooms and feels like a mansion to us! We're so use to living in small dormlike marriage housing...its weird having a townhome. Tim loves his new job. We get so much more time together. He works the night shift on the weekends, so we get Tuesday-Fridays together! Works out great for classes too!

We feel so blessed, it almost feels wrong!

It seems like recently our marriage has never been better. I can't believe we are still so madly in love. We learn more and more about eachother everyday...but in reality I think we're learning more about ourselves everyday. You never notice how selfish humanity is until you're in a relationship. Its amazing how self centered we are, and you don't see it until you have to put someone else first above yourself.

Marriage can only work when you both focus on glorifying God. Its not about what she feels or what he feels....its about what God feels. Its not about what she did wrong, or what he did wrong...its about forgiveness and making His name known! Its not about ourselves, its about the Almighty, Prince of Peace, King of Glory, Our LORD Jesus Christ! Aren't these themes throughout His word?

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
James 1:19-20
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:3-6
Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:12-14
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

We're coming up on two years of marriage... Can't imagine what the Lord will teach us by 50 years!! What a beautiful thing the Lord created.