Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An Unexpected Surprise at Eggspectation

This past month—May 12 to be exact—my wife and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary. From the beginning we dreamed of grandiose plans of a romantic getaway to celebrate such a milestone: a location only reachable by plane; warm weather; opportunities to splurge on fine cuisine; time alone to…ah, talk like newlyweds (cough, cough) while reminiscing upon the memories of our honeymoon. But as the date drew closer, the reality of such a dream-like getaway became obviously just that—a dream.

With my wife’s parents in Poland we were left with only my parents and older sister as resources to help assist with our two precious daughters. However, with my mom’s shaky health, it became increasingly clear that it would not be possible to have my parents watch them especially the younger one on the verge of crawling.

With plan A clearly on the backburner, we went to work on plan B. Possibly we could figure something out that would at least give us a few hours together of uninterrupted time. Granted, it would not be quite the extravagant plans we had previously conjured; but nonetheless, we could celebrate together!

Secretly we hoped that perhaps my family would offer to watch our two girls for a few hours since it was our ten year anniversary. As the weeks passed by and no offer made, we went to work to figure out who else within our circle could take on such a task (an energetic 3 year old coupled with an 8 month old who required ample attention). A dear lady from our church, Ann, came to mind—a kind, thoughtful, cheerful woman, one who was a youthful 60. My wife called her and she graciously accepted the challenge to watch our two girls for four hours on the date of our anniversary, from 2-6pm.

We were elated! All Aneta could talk about for a week leading up to May 12 was our anniversary date—it would be a time of bliss. Questions constantly poured forth: where would we go, what restaurant would we select, what food would we order, would we be able to walk around a historic area? The more we talked about it the more the anticipation grew. I could see the excitement in her eyes, a sparkle of hope. We both love our two precious daughters, but we were looking forward to our time together—alone, uninterrupted for four hours. We were dying to embrace the romantic within as we renewed our commitment to one another on this special day. This would be a time of rejuvenation.

On Wednesday, May 11 Aneta received a phone call from a person with a somewhat hoarse voice. Ann had somehow come down with a severe cold and was sent home from work; however, she assured us that she could still come over the next day to watch our girls. Although we were appreciative of her willingness to do so under such circumstances, we declined simply because our youngest had pneumonia and the last thing we wanted was for her weakened immune system to be exposed to further germs.

We were crushed. What could we possibly do now to plan for our long awaited anniversary celebration?

That morning I called my mom to see what they could do and she offered to watch Simone, our oldest daughter if we took Eliana with us. At this point we had exhausted our short list of trustworthy candidates who could possibly watch our youngest daughter.

Honestly, we were bummed. A lump of frustration persisted in my throat for the majority of the day. Without going into all the details, we just felt frustrated that our family could not do more to help us celebrate this special day. And I felt guilty for feeling this way as my negative attitude persisted.

Perhaps we had placed too much stock into the sentimental values of celebrating our anniversaries on the actual day that they transpire (we have a few different “milestones” throughout the calendar year that we intentionally celebrate as a means to honor Christ and to strengthen our marriage).

And as our day unfolded, many of the minor details were not coming together—simply reinforcing that negative jive within. “Oh great,” I retorted, “How am I going to make this day anything worth remembering on a positive note?”

Finally we dropped off Simone at my parents’ house with Eliana in the backseat. Our plan was to go first to the jewelry store. I had previously purchased a necklace that I felt would be appropriate to commemorate our anniversary. However, it was not quite what Aneta had in mind so we went back to Macy’s so Aneta could select one more to her liking. Our time was short since we had to get back home to put Eliana down for her afternoon nap for an hour. Aneta found a necklace that enthralled her! We raced home to put down a crying baby since we were well behind her normal sleeping pattern.

However, she never fell asleep as she was too overworked.

Finally we grabbed her and sped to the closest restaurant to us—Eggspectation in Gainesville. We had been there before and we both knew exactly what we would order, which would cut down on the time: Aneta ordered her favorite new grilled chicken and fruit salad (with fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries); meanwhile I ordered the Eggsuberant (eggs, pancakes, turkey bacon, potatoes, and fruit). We arrived at the outdoor patio with perfect weather. We plopped Eliana down who was in her seat as her eyes took in the change of scenery (thankfully she probably did not realize that she was technically the third wheel on our 10 year anniversary celebration!).

As our waitress took our order, we made mention to her that we were there to celebrate our 10th anniversary. Immediately, she enthusiastically congratulated us.

A cool breeze could be felt as we sat at our table in the shade. Aneta checked to make sure Eliana was properly clothed. I assured her that Eliana would be fine. We both slumped in our chairs. We were somewhat tired as we had been going nonstop for most of the day; yet, we were trying to enjoy each other’s company, but our attention was fixated on Eliana. Aneta started feeding Eliana her dinner so that she could focus on the meal once it was served. As Eliana swallowed her last bite, the waitress brought out our meals. Simultaneously another woman arrived at our table congratulating us on our anniversary. She commented on how cute our little girl was while asking, “Can I pick her up?” As we started eating our dinner this unknown lady walks around the patio with Eliana in her arms. It was obvious from the beginning that she had a knack for little ones.

Aneta and I glanced at each other as our eyes communicated, “Who is this lady?” I figured she either worked there or was a very good friend of the waitress.

As she walked around with Eliana, Aneta learned that she was a mother of two and a grandmother of three.

Finally she brought Eliana—smiling, and cooing with glee—back to her seat as someone from inside requested out to her attention. We thanked her profusely for giving us a few minutes with each other as she entertained Eliana.

The waitress came back to the table as we finished up our meal. She informed us that they were going to bless us with free desserts: one for each of us! We were taken back, shocked by their kindness. A few minutes later they brought our desserts to us just as the sweet lady returned.

“Maam, do you work here?” Aneta asked. “Oh yes,” she replied, “I’m the manager here.” Furthermore we learned that her name was Joe (at least that's what I understood she said).

She proceeded to pick up Eliana once again to entertain her so that we could enjoy our meal together.

Without question we were touched deeply by the generosity of this woman who blessed us above and beyond our expectation. She was a ray of sunshine bursting through a cloudy day. Humbled, we again expressed to the manager our deepest appreciation. Although our previous expectations for this day of celebration fell short, this act of kindness on behalf of the manager at Eggspectation helped us to enjoy a moment together while reminding us of God’s goodness towards us (and reminding us not to allow unfulfilled expectations to dictate our mood and attitude!).

Well, in closing I want to say, "Thanks Eggspectation and Manager Joe and the kind waitress at the Gainesville Eggspectation!"

Thursday, May 26, 2011

MUCH HARM from FALSE MAY 21 PROPHECY? | Andrew Strom

I would be interested in your comments on this. Of course, the liberal media took great delight in ridiculing the whole of evangelical Christianity over this - even though very few took part in it. Harold Camping's false prophecy of the "End of the World" gave great cause for unbelievers to mock. But will there be any long-term effects? I was interested to read the opinion of 'Tula' one of our readers below:

"I am getting a lot of comments from family and other contacts about 'the end of the world' Harold Camping thing. My mum said her whole office was laughing about it and its been all over the media here in the UK. I am not bothered that people are laughing and mocking about it, as they would when it did not come true. A couple of things come to mind, that it did shake people up enough to think about it deeply. Also that when it does come they will have been 'de-sensitised' and will have put most of us Christians in the same camp..."

What are your experiences with others over this?"

Andrew Strom invites you to participate in discussions at his website (click here).

Sunday, May 22, 2011

IS YOUR HEART SMOTHERED IN BROWNIE BATTER?

Do you enjoy brownie batter more than the actual baked brownie? Yep, I do! For me, a plain brownie that stands alone is just that—plain, nothing special. Plain brownies tempt me, not! I bypass without hesitation. However, you stick a bowl in front of me oozing with fresh brownie batter and it’s a different story.

Growing up I always had a knack for showing up in the kitchen just when my mom finished pouring the batter into the pan prior to the heating. Being the thoughtful and helpful lad I was, I grabbed the bowl to clean it thoroughly with a good spatula. (It was always messy, but licking good!) Definitely well worth the sacrifice to ensure the bowl was spic-n-span. Needless to say, I’ve continued the habit to this day, to my wife’s delight (what wife wouldn’t want a husband who helps around the kitchen!).

Recently my wife and three year old daughter baked some brownies with some extras like crumbled Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (and other healthy goodies!). As I entered the kitchen that day, my eyes scanned the countertop for the bounty—the treasured brownie batter bowl. I was hoping for dear life that the “unlicked” bowl did not meet an immature and senseless demise in the sink baptized in soapy water.

Off to the side my eyes caught a glimpse. Ah, my heart leapt!

The bowl glistened, undefiled. Untouched, it stood with an inviting allure. My wife noticed my gawking. Being the wise woman she is, she immediately handed me the bowl smothered with batter.

(However, I must state, proudly so, that I decided to set it aside for dessert since dinner was only 30 minutes away. I can’t eat a dessert or snack right before the main meal—my mom taught me well!)

As you may have taken note of, I enjoy—immensely so—brownie batter!

I have a question for you: What is the brownie batter that God unrelentingly seeks after?

Just as my eyes scoured the kitchen for the prized brownie batter, the eyes of God scan the landscape for one thing so dear to Him—namely, your heart of devotion to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9 states, “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (NASB).

Ah, a heart that is “completely His”—it is like a heart smothered in brownie batter that the eyes of God cannot resist! Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 11:3 precisely this brownie batter smothered heart as “the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” A heart truly devoted to Christ is to be treasured above all else.

Is your heart like a bowl smothered in brownie batter waiting for the taking? Will the eyes of the Lord find your heart as one devoted to Him, one that is “completely His”?


Copyright © 2011, Brian Francis Hume

Thursday, May 19, 2011

News for Kingdom Shifts!


Please take a moment to go to our new Facebook page to "LIKE" it so that you can join our interactive dialogue with others. CLICK HERE.

Also what do you think of our new logo for Kingdom Shifts?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

J. Lee Grady | Why I Don't Buy the May 21 Prophecy

Here are three reasons why Harold Camping's end-times prediction should be ignored. (Click here for link to article on Fire in My Bones.) 


J. Lee Grady
 I spent the past week in Guyana, a South American nation where the people are friendly, the food is spicy and churches are growing at a healthy pace. But Christians there face a serious challenge because of the sad legacy of Jim Jones, the American cult leader who ordered his followers to drink poisoned Kool-Aid at their compound in Jonestown in 1978. The mass suicide, which killed 909 people (including Jones), went down in history as the world's worst example of religion gone wrong.

"Even today, the Jim Jones tragedy poses a problem of credibility for us," one pastor in the city of Corriverton told me last week.

You can imagine my dismay when I arrived in Guyana and learned that groups of Americans were combing the streets and passing out literature claiming that Jesus will rapture the church on May 21. These Christians apparently are so convinced of the prediction that they traveled to the only English-speaking country in South America to deliver a last-minute warning.

This outbreak of rapture fever originated with Harold Camping, 89, a California-based Bible teacher who says he figured out the date of Jesus' return by studying the book of Daniel and other biblical texts. Never mind that Jesus said no one would know the timing of His return (see Matt. 24:36). And never mind that Camping has a bad track record—he previously set Sept. 6, 1994, as the date for the Apocalypse. Many gullible Christians are still willing to trust Camping’s instincts.

I cringed when I heard that Americans were telling Guyanese people they have two weeks left before Jesus arrives to take all true Christians to heaven. Camping's followers also believe the world will end in October. I've learned in the last week that many believers have jumped on this bandwagon; they've put up billboards, purchased TV ads, painted warnings on rooftops, issued radio alerts and flooded nations with printed warnings.

I can't compete with this doomsday madness, but I can offer an appeal for sanity. Here are three reasons why we should not spread Camping's prediction:

1. It is a false prophecy. How can I say this with assurance? Because Jesus Himself said all end-times date setting is strictly off-limits. He told His disciples on the day He ascended: "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority" (Acts 1:8, NASB). If it is not for us to know, then how does Harold Camping know? Is he God? Only the worst form of spiritual pride would lead a person to claim such knowledge.

2. Failed date-setting has discredited Christians many times before. Why can't we learn from history? William Miller, the father of Seventh-day Adventism, was convinced that Jesus would come back in 1844. When his prediction turned out to be bogus (a moment known as "the Great Disappointment"), many disillusioned “Millerites” abandoned their faith.

Jehovah’s Witnesses taught that Jesus would begin His millennial reign in 1914. When that didn't happen, they pointed to the outbreak of World War I and began teaching that this was the "beginning of the end." A few years later they moved the date to 1925. Nothing happened that year, but more than a generation later they circulated the prediction that the world would end in 1975. (They also taught that only Jehovah's Witnesses would survive a global holocaust.)

Recent history is littered with more of these embarrassing predictions, including Jim Jones’ claim that the world would end in nuclear war on July 15, 1967. Jones was a communist who believed he was the reincarnation of Jesus, Buddha and Lenin, so Christians didn’t take him seriously. But when a Christian layman, Edgar Whisenant, wrote 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988, millions of believers bought it. You won’t get much money for that book at a garage sale today.

3. End-times date-setting hinders the cause of Christ. Just imagine what will go through the minds of unbelievers on May 22, 2011. Christians told them Jesus would return, but He didn't. This will make followers of Christ look silly and unreliable.

As sincere as Camping's devotees may be, sincerity is no excuse for theological error. It is wrong-headed and irresponsible for any Christian to tell an unbeliever when Jesus is coming back or when the world will end. That is not the message we were commissioned to preach. Dates and deadlines do not have the power to save souls—only the gospel can do that.

When we share Christ with others, we don't need to provide a date for His Second Coming. Instead, we tell them about the miracle of Calvary and remind them: "Today is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2). No one knows when he will die; every new day could be his last. And every person will stand before God when this life is over.

There is urgency in the gospel, for sure, but it is not about a countdown to the rapture. Hundreds of thousands of people die every day without Jesus, whether or not He returns in their generation. This alone should motivate us to avoid foolish distractions and false prophecies so we can get busy with the task of genuine evangelism.

J. Lee Grady is contributing editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter.com leegrady. His newest book is 10 Lies Men Believe (Charisma House).

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dr. Tom Dooley | Ministering in Manassas, Virginia

This Sunday, May 8, my good friend Dr. Tom P. Dooley will be ministering at New Covenant Fellowship in Manassas. The service starts at 10am and I highly recommend that you visit NCF if you are in the northern Virginia region. Click here for directions.

I have known of Tom since 2004 when a former disciple of mine was working for Destiny Image Publishers and he mentioned a book that was creating quite a stir in the office. Obviously that is the kind of book I want to get my hands on! This ripple-effect book was Praying Faith by Tom Dooley (since then he’s written two more books: Half-Truths are Lies; Hope When Everything Seems Hopeless). Within a few days I purchased my copy and I was not disappointed! I reread the book in ’06 and at that point I felt something stirred in my heart about connecting with Tom—I had a “knowing” of sorts that he would be a pivotal part of what God had called me to do in this coming hour. I finally made contact with him in January of ’07. We met face-to-face a month later when he was on a prophetic assignment to Washington, DC. Since then we have spent time together on multiple kingdom assignments from the Lord throughout the United States. I am also in my third year of serving on the board of the ministry that Tom founded—Path Clearer Ministries. Click here to visit the website.
Without question I have been immensely blessed by Tom’s friendship, wise counsel, prophetic insights and tenacity of faith—he is a friend whom I consider to be trustworthy. He has profound stories of God doing supernatural, miraculous orchestrations through him on his journey in multiple, diverse settings: from the Pentagon to a platform in Nigeria before one million attendees to a television studio in the UK ministering the word of the Lord.

As you can see, Tom is also quite successful in the marketplace (www.tomdooley.org):
- PhD biomedical research scientist
- Ran as a Republican nominee for Alabama State Board of Education, District 4.
-Entrepreneur & businessman
- Former professor
- Inventor with multiple patents
- Author of 65 scientific publications
- Outstanding communicator (syndicated radio, TV, & print media)
- Chief Scientific Officer - MediQuest Therapeutics Inc. (2004-present)
- CEO & Founder - IntegriDerm Inc
- CEO & Founder - ALtruis LLC

I hope you’re able to join us this Sunday at 10am!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

National Day of Prayer

Watch LIVE tomorrow (Thursday, May 5th) from 9:00am - 12:00pm ET as prominent leaders from around the country gather on Capitol Hill for the 2011 National Observance. CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE.

Program highlights include:

•Keynote - Joni Eareckson Tada, 2011 Honorary Chairman.

•Other speakers include: Dr. and Mrs. James C. Dobson, Congressman Allen West, Chaplain Barry Black, Justice Paul Newby, Captain Ryan Voltin, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, and more.

•Special Musical Guest - Ginny Owens.

•Worship Leader - Jared Anderson.

Special thanks to GodTV for partnering with us to broadcast this special event around the world via DirecTV channel 365 and Webcast.

IT'S NOT TOO LATE...

Although the 60th Annual Observance of the National Day of Prayer is tomorrow (Thursday, May 5th), it's not too late to host/find an event. Just this week, there have been thousands of new events posted on our Web site. Now is the time to visit us online and find an event in your community or post the event that you are planning. The searchable event listing is the most popular page on our Web site - posting your event information on www.NationalDayofPrayer.org helps increase both awareness and attendance. The posting process is simple and only takes a few minutes. CLICK HERE to post/find an event now.