Wednesday, 27 March 2013

looking for rest in a busy week

Tonight is gloriously unpacked for the Buntings.  At the start of this week, we were expecting 5 nights and 2 mornings for our family to be involved at church.  But much to my happy surprise, tonight's Care Group meeting was cancelled.  (Not that I don't love Care Group...but...)  With this being Easter week, we will present two nights of "Jesus, Rock of Ages," the musical Keith and I have compiled over the last few months.  Years ago, back in another land far, far away, we used to present yearly Christmas and Easter productions, sometimes involving full scale sets, hired-out extra lighting, t-shirts with our production logo and massive amounts of rehearsing.  Well, gone are those days.  No, this musical is simple.  It is built around quotes on the life, death, and resurrection of Christ made by men much smarter than ourselves: Calvin, Spurgeon, Apostle Paul. I did write narration to seam these quotes together with the musical selections, but it was easy with such great material to work around.  Last night was our first full run-through with everybody.  It was rewarding to see it come together...and difficult to see so late in the game how it could have been better.  We will do our best to tweak things before the first presentation this Friday night, but we know God will be praised in our efforts.

Thursday (tomorrow) night, we will have our dress rehearsal.  Friday morning we have a "Good Friday" service, followed by our first presentation of the musical that night.  Saturday is off, other than Keith playing for a wedding, then Sunday we meet morning and evening, with our second musical presentation at 7:30 pm.  Again, we are so thankful for a night off tonight!

Coming off of a full weekend with the Metro Life ministry team being here, we are feeling the crunch of the busy life, but know God will meet us in it!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

a visit by Metro Life

Good morning friends and family.  It is 9 am.   As I sit here listening to the birds chirp, I am reminded that it is spring in the northern Happy Spring! I didn't plan on being here in the house typing up a blog post this morning.  Right now, the rest of our church is meeting for a special time with the prophecy team of Metro Life Church from Orlando.  Pastors Aron Osborne, Mike Nash, and Chris Jessee are here along with a few couples and one teen to share with us on the gift of prophecy this weekend.  Last night we had our first session, ending around 10pm.  We are hosting Chris Jessee in our home and thanks to Skype, we were able to chat with his sweet wife Stephanie as well late last night.  We went to bed at about 1 am, and then were woken up at 4:30am by a sick girlie.  Poor girl.  None of us got much sleep last night, so I am praying for God to strengthen both Keith and Chris and my other girls as they encounter the morning session today. 

As I enjoyed the worship time, listened to Aron's message, and engaged in the follow-up prayer time for many in our church last night, I was excited to "taste" what the Lord would do this weekend.  And now, here I am...home caring for my girl instead of engaging in today's meeting.  I know God has a purpose in this.  To be sure, I will be praying for this group and the meeting today as I stay at home, making sure my daughter is cared for. 

Last night Aron preached on Ezekiel 37, the story of the Valley of Dry Bones.  He likened us, in a spiritual way, to the dry bones Ezekiel prophesied to.  One particular concept that affected me was the fact that although at one point the bones had sinews and flesh back on them, they still were not alive until they were given breath.  And this is a picture of us without the Spirit of God.  Without the life of the Spirit in us, we may look like God's people, yet be very much like dead men.  "So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army."  Ez. 34:10  Later, God tells Ezekiel to prophesy more to them, including this phrase, "And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live..."  v.14.  This was so amazing at the time for many reasons, but especially because Israel was used to only experiencing the presence of God inside the Temple, not inside of themselves!  A new day was going to dawn for them, and this is the day in which we live...where the Holy Spirit of God indwells us, filling and empowering us.  This is where Aron "left us hanging" last night...stirring us up to want a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit so that this morning, we could talk about the use of the spiritual gifts that result from being filled with the Spirit.  I am thankful these meetings will be recorded so I can benefit from them later.  May God do "exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ask or think" this weekend and in the following days.  Thank you for your prayers for Kingdom Life Church!

Friday, 15 March 2013

a week in the life

March 15.  One month 'til tax day!  Yes, we still have to fill out U.S. tax forms, even though we live in another country.  But along with tax season comes two of our girls' birthdays, preparation for Easter, and many other activities on our church calendar.  Next weekend, a team from Metro Life Church in Orlando will come and lead us through a seminar on spiritual gifts.  Friday night, Saturday morning and Sunday morning will be spent gleaning from this helpful group.

In the last 6 weeks, our church has been hosting Christianity Explored, a class similar to Alpha.  Each Wednesday night we arrive about 7pm to set up the food we've brought and prepare to serve the 30 or so people who will be on site that night.  Of those 30, about 15 are attendees for the course, including some of our own church young people and their parents, and some guests.  According to Keith, this last week was particularly meaningful as many in his group were affected by the statement "What we learn in Mark's account is that we are far more sinful than we know, yet we are far more loved than we could possibly imagine." 

Alongside this course, we continue to prepare for our Easter Musical, Jesus, Rock of Ages.  Last night at rehearsal, the worship band was sounding particularly good!  Please pray for our rehearsals and for all to come together by Good Friday evening, when we present it for the first time.  With the Metro Life group coming next weekend, we are a bit more strapped for time than we originally planned.

  We are also excited to be hosting four sets of visitors over the next months.  This keeps us busy as tour guides...which we love.  It's amazing how suddenly people we haven't seen in years are coming to see us!  Wonder why?   Well, it might be that the Bahamas is just a tad more exciting than Lancaster, PA or Gaithersburg, MD.  Just maybe. 

Monday, 4 March 2013

so this is winter!

March came in like a lion here.  Yes, winter finally arrived in Nassau.  Now you sturdy Lancaster County folk will laugh, no doubt, as we would have a year ago, when we tell you the actual weather.  Remember though, as your blood is adjusted to cooler temps through the fall, leading up to harsh winter cold, we went from 83 degrees with sun and no wind one day to 60 degrees with no sun, lots of rain, and 12 mph winds the next!  Yep.  That was winter.  It was 63 in the house, with the oven on.  We did not think it possible, but we were cold!  No warm blankets, no heaters, no sweaters, and worst of warm water.  The down-side to having a solar water heater is that no sun =  no hot water.   Showering in our home between October and April must happen between the hours of 2 and 5 pm if you want warm water! This doesn't work so well for Keith, who is always at the church office during those hours.  In the summer of course, there is never a shortage of hot water, even though in the heat of those days, a cool shower would be appreciated.  A bit mixed up.

One weather site I keep on my favorites list described our arrival of winter as "refreshingly cool." Ha!  I think it might have been very "refreshing" in the summer.  So it has happened.  We are Bahamian in our body temperatures.  Winter is now a 60 degree sunless day.  I believe that was called "April" in Lancaster. 

The result of this sudden change in the weather is that Keith, along with several others in our church, are now sick with colds.  We are happy to see the sun again today, though the temperatures are still in the 60's.  The land of endless summer has had its winter.  No doubt we will be missing these cool days come July!