Monday, October 12, 2015

Good News

It seems as if every time I turn on my television or log onto the internet I am bombarded with story after story and image after image of atrocities and disasters. War, floods, earthquakes, riots, murders dominate my news feed and leave me reeling from the horrors of the world. How does one cope with such waking nightmares? Where can a person find peace in the midst of world-wide turmoil?

Simple answer: Peace can be found in Jesus Christ.

Now, before you tune me out and write me off as one of those crazy Born-Again fundamentalist whackadoos, just know one thing. I share this only because I love people. I have no judgment or condemnation to bring upon people. I am a flawed human being who sins and fails God every day. But I have been given Grace. However, I believe with all my heart that the Age of Grace is coming to a swift end and so it is with great love and urgency for my dear friends that I share the Truth with you.

God loves you. He does not wish to see one person spend eternity in hell.

"Well, why does He send people there?" you ask.

Again, simple answer: He does not send people to hell. We send ourselves by rejecting Jesus Christ.

"But I'm a good person!"

That's great, but the Bible says that the best of our efforts to be good are like dirty rags to a Holy and Just God. We cannot earn our salvation, but that brings us to the Good News. We don't have to!!!

God sent His Son, Jesus Christ as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus took upon himself the weight and shame of all our sins and paid the price for them. He suffered the punishment we should have had as sinners.

Through his sacrifice, we have direct access to God the Father. We don't have to go through priests or perform rituals and follow a bunch of impossible rules in order to earn God's favor and redemption. We have been given a chance to come to God through His Son and ask for forgiveness for our sins. God grants us His Grace and Mercy when we come to Him in the name of Jesus and confess our sins to Him and turn from those sins to follow Him.

Life is impossible to navigate without God. Without the peace He gives, this world becomes a dark and dismal place in which we don't know where to turn or what to do. How wonderful it is to be able to come to God as His child and say, "Help me, I'm lost, confused, depressed, stressed, worried, afraid, etc." 

The Christian life is not without worries or problems (no matter what Joel Osteen tells you.) There are difficult times. But as a Christian, you will never go through those times alone! You have a loving Savior on your side, not to mention a brotherhood of other Christians to lift you up in prayer.

"But what about all those hypocrites?"

Look, Christians are human. We mess up. We do and say things we should not. We succumb to temptations. If any person tells you that they do not sin, they are a big, fat liar. We all do. But true Christians will do their best. They'll repent and ask for forgiveness. We try not to judge, but unfortunately, it still happens sometimes. The key is not to fix your focus on flawed humans, but on Jesus. He never messes up or disappoints. He'll never lie to you or lead you astray. He will never break a promise to you. 

Dear friends, I feel in my heart that time is very short. Things are going to be brought upon this Earth that will be unlike anything we've seen before. If you haven't given your heart and life to Jesus Christ I beg you to do so before it is too late. All it takes is simple, child-like faith. God will hear and answer when you call out to Him. He loves you and wants to know you and show you the way to peace and joy! 

None of us can figure out this life on our own. And none of us can be "good enough" on our own to earn eternity with God. But remember the Good News: We don't have to do it on our own. Jesus Christ has already done it for us and we only have to put our trust in him to receive a place in Heaven.

You don't need any flowery language or thees and thous to pray to God. He is a loving Father who longs to communicate with His children. A simple prayer is all it takes:

Pray this prayer wherever you are right now and God will save you. He will change your life and give it meaning and purpose! He will give you joy and peace in whatever circumstances you are facing.
Be blessed my friends. Trust Jesus Christ with all your heart and in every part of your life. He loves you very much and I do too!

Monday, August 17, 2015

10 Signs You Were a Church Girl in the 90s

The 90s were like, totally awesome in so many ways, but they were especially cool for church girls. If you were a member of a church youth group, GAs, or other religious organization during the 90s you probably have a lot of fond memories of lock-ins, pizza blasts and fundraising car washes. You probably also remember that:

1. You had a crush on one or more members of the group DC Talk-
Most 90s girls had to say a prayer of repentance at least once for secretly wishing to have Toby Mac's babies. And you may or may not have had a dance routine to "Jesus Freak."
Eminem?  Puh-lease...

2. You knew the power of Veggie Tales-
Any junior leader knew the importance of having a library stocked with Veggie Tales videos for Junior Church or nursery duty.. They were funny and entertaining and if you timed it just right, parents were there to pick up their kiddos just as the credits rolled.
"It's time for Veggie Taaaaaaaaaales!"

3. You knew WWJD-
The trendy bracelets not only advertised the fact that you were religious, but they were a big help when making important life decisions. Should I answer back to this rude person? What would Jesus do? Should I go to that wild party? What would Jesus do?  Should I wear sneakers or sandals?  What would Jesus do? (Duh, sandals.)
'Cause Christians need swag too.

4. You thought Shout to the Lord was the bomb-
This praise song turned power anthem was a staple at youth rallies and retreats during the late 90s. It was like the "Bohemian Rhapsody" of church songs. If you heard it you had to sing it at the top of your lungs. Whether you could sing or not.
We loved Darlene Czeck  Czech  Zwieback ... whatever.

5. You kissed dating goodbye-
The well-known treatise on Biblical courtship by Joshua Harris came into vogue in the latter part of the 90s. While people could argue that Harris made some good points, most of us just jumped on that bandwagon if the approaching weekend found us dateless.
*Sniff* This is waaaay more scriptural.

6. You went to Church Night at the skating rink-
Many skating rinks had a special "Church Skate" on Wednesdays. They would forgo the MC Hammer and Madonna and play Christian artists like Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman. Youth groups would come by the busload for good, clean, potentially bone-breaking fun.
There's nothing like busting your rear-end to the pulsing beat of Carman.

7. You laughed at Mark Lowry.
 Mark Lowry was the Christian comic du jour of the 90s. He was goofy but joked about stuff we 90s church kids could totally relate to. It wasn't a good church van trip until the group leader pulled out the Mark Lowry cassette tapes he bought at the Christian Book Store.
Yes, that is what television sets looked like back in the day, kids.

8. You went to or worked at a Judgment House
While most of our friends were going to haunted houses during Halloween, we church girls were attending or volunteering at our church's Judgment House. We splattered ourselves with  fake blood and played accident victims or we dressed in all white with tinsel halos and played angels. Because what's Halloween without dressing up and scaring the crap out of ministering to people?
Nothing says "Jesus loves you'" like seeing people being dragged to Hell by teenage "demons."

9. Your church had Chick Tracts-
Chick tracts are like Judgment House comic books. They don't pull any punches and they cover a wide range of topics: evolution, Dungeons and Dragons, greed, drinking and much more! Most 90s church kids were aware of the entertaining stories and nightmare-inducing depictions offered within those weird little tracts.
Charles Dickens won't mind...

10. You went to church camp-
Whether it was Centrifuge, Crosspoint, or En Fuego, church camp awesome. There were games and music and cool inspirational speakers who re-lit your spiritual flame. You had a great time with all your church friends and came back with renewed passion. And a glow-in-the-dark t-shirt.
"Dude, I've gotten saved like 3 times already this week..."

What did I miss?  What are your favorite memories as a 90s church kid?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I Mustache You to Go Try Don Bigotes

My family enjoyed a fantastic lunch today at what has become our favorite restaurant in town, Don Bigotes.  This place offers an amazing lunch buffet that is not only delicious, but easy on the bank account. The cuisine is authentic Mexican and it is truly some of the tastiest food in the area.

Don Bigotes, or "Mr. Mustache" as it's translated, opened in February of 2015 in what was formerly the Jack's building in Cherokee Plaza in Centre, Alabama.  Owner Alex Bravo (I love his name, he sounds like a secret agent!) gave the place a complete overhaul inside and out. It's colorful, fun and inviting. 
It's easily spotted from the road!

The menu is great, offering the traditional favorites like fajitas, tacos, and burritos. There are also a number of excellent not-so typical items like fried tilapia, Pina del Mare and even vegetarian fajitas. There are daily specials which are always excellent and a great value. My husband and I like to split the Los Mariachi Fajitas for Two featuring short ribs, chicken, shrimp, beef and chorizo. Bueno!

Today we all hit the wonderful buffet. There is such an assortment of delicious things to try on the buffet and at only $6.25 a person, it's a remarkable value (especially considering the amount of food my boys can put away!)  The buffet offers taco shells and tortillas to make your own tacos, spicy chicken nachos, beef and chicken enchiladas, some really tasty seasoned chicken with cheese, and my personal favorite, Mexican lasagna. The items on the buffet change day-to-day, but there is always something excellent to try.

              Mexican lasagna is soooo yummy!
                                                    I like the enchiladas a whole lada!

There is also a nice little dessert buffet offering fruit, pudding, sopapillas and little cake bites.

So pretty... I must eat them!

The regular menu has other desserts like yummy sopapillas topped with ice cream, banana chimichangas, and churros!

The staff at Don Bigotes is super friendly and personable. The waitstaff is always helpful and ready to refill your glass or get you anything you need or want. Alex Bravo, the owner, seems to be always smiling and on hand to see that your visit is a good one.

Don Bigotes is a great place to come with the family. The tables and booths are spacious and there is a small kids menu with child-friendly dishes. The dining area is nice and perfect for events like birthday parties (complete with embarrassing sombrero!)  There are 3 large screen televisions in the main dining area and another near the bar which are great for watching the game. Speaking of the bar, I'm told Don Bigotes will soon be officially licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for those of you longing for a margarita. 
It's a fiesta for the senses! 

Don Bigotes is my family's go-to place for a meal out.  It's fun, delicious and very affordable!  If you haven't checked them out yet, you should. For more info you can visit their Facebook page here.  

What are you waiting for? Vamos!

Monday, June 29, 2015

My Facebook Newsfeed is Making Me Crazy

Not that I had far to go, but still...

Auburn's ginormous new scoreboard?  Y'all, a bigger scoreboard only makes the scores look bigger. Do you really want your embarrassment at this year's Iron Bowl magnified 435%?

All those rainbows are going to make me have a seizure.

All those Confederate flags are making me want to watch "Gone With the Wind" and I don't have 3+ hours to spare. Besides, it's RAAAAAAACIST!  

#darkfordinner- Seriously?  This is a thing?  Why is this a thing? Why does this have to be a thing? Don't families talk to each other anymore?  Why does anyone (especially a child) need a computer or iPad or whatever at the dinner table?

Why aren't we talking about what's going on in Greece?

When did Mental Floss become the new Buzzfeed?

Stop tagging me in Poe memes. I've seen them all. A bajillion times. Seriously, quit.

I like dessert too, but sometimes it's good to pin a recipe for roasted carrots or broccoli.

Oh, you posted a selfie? That's different.

No, you don't look fat in your pic, but if you keep asking I'm going to say yes and offer to let you be my guest at the gym.

I don't know who half of you people are.  I think Facebook is friending people of my behalf.

You are selling your truck, not saleing it. Your truck is for sale, not for sell.

Everyone's offended. Everyone's offended that everyone's offended. Everyone's offended that everyone's offended that everyone's offended.

Why are people swimming in Weiss Lake?  Ewww!

Too many pictures of Donald Trump and not enough pictures of Cristiano Ronaldo.

If you love reading so much, why are you always on Facebook?

I think that about covers it. I'm sure my newsfeed will be on the lighter side tomorrow after all the *unfriendings.  My work here is done.

*Get a sense of humor. Or buy one. They probably got one fer sell on the Facebook Yard Sale No Rules Page.