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FACEBOOK...WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE
By Linda Kauzlarich
Awhile back, I shared with you some thoughts on witnessing. Would you mind if I told you a little bit more about that particular adventure?
Shortly after writing that, I started to notice something in the way I relate to people. This is probably not news to anyone but me, but I tend to be a little inconsistent. Enough so, that I began to pray about it, asking God to make me a "whole person". I know that sounds weird. But that's how I sometimes feel. A little bit fragmented, like I have different personalities, depending who I'm around.
Help on that came from a strange direction. I got a little wake up call in the form of Facebook. Have you heard of this? It is a website where you can post pictures and messages to friends and do a bit of on-line networking. I joined kind of by accident when my sis wanted me to look at some pictures of her kids. I couldn't do it without setting up my own page and then I got fascinated with it. Suddenly I was in touch with some of my "regular" friends, as well as work friends, relatives, old school chums and ....yikes!....church friends!
Suddenly, some of the stuff that I routinely spew (for lack of a better word), was being seen and read by all of these people. Let me tell you...if you want to know who's paying attention, just say something a little colorful on Facebook.
Now understand, I'm not talking about any deep, dark secrets or any blatant double standard I'm living by. It's just that I relate to these groups of people differently. And suddenly, I was doing some pretty funky "filtering" of my words, trying not to offend. I had to think twice about what I was saying and how it might be taken. The fact is, there are people in my life I am very guarded with, and some that I am careless with...bordering on unwise. I have a sarcastic, insulting sense of humor, and sometimes I cross the line.
It's not that I'm going to talk to everyone the same way. Relationships and personalities are far too varied. And, it is normal to respond to them differently to some extent. I don't want to send anyone down the rabbit trail of false guilt on this issue. But I do feel a definite desire to clean up my act that I know to be from God. The fact is, I do want the privilege of sharing the gospel. And I want to do it with credibility.
And so, I thank God for Facebook. Certainly I am enjoying it. But even better, God is using it to bring about a very good work in my heart.
So you are probably wondering what all that has to do with the library. Well, I have to confess. Nothing really. It was just something I wanted to share. I hope you don't mind. But since you brought it up...Don't neglect your summer reading! It's fun in just about any weather.
If you are a Karen Kingbury fan: We have copies of Take One and Take Two, her newest series for you to enjoy. There are also some new books in the kid's section. And some wonderful new titles in Christian Living that I will share more about later. I do want to especially thank Doris Parnel, Ruth Valentine, Nola Duvall and Marj Crass for sharing so generously from their own libraries. Thank you ladies, so very much!
See you next time.
HOME SWEET HOME
By Linda Kauzlarich
Awhile back, I was trying to recall how long I've been involved with the church library, and I think it's about 3 years. But frankly, I've lost track. Time has flown by the way it should when you are having a lot of fun!
I hope that, sometime in the last three years you have managed to find a time to visit the library. You see, the library is not MY space....it's YOUR space! It is only worthwhile if YOU come in, and thumb through the books, and sit in the chairs and mess it up just a little. In other words, make yourself at home!
There is a verse in Psalms 127 that has become important to me in terms of the library - kind of a motto, and it goes like this:
"Unless the Lord builds the house, they that labor work in vain."
Isn't that good? This little gem reminds me that, while I consider the library my pet project, it's really God's thing. Any good that comes out of it is going to be brought out by His hand, not mine. Otherwise, it's just another "hamster wheel"...just one more way for me to spin my wheels and go nowhere.
Recent events have underlined for me, just how much of our own accomplishments can be burned away at a moments notice. That's not a bad thing. In fact, it's perfect and I hope you are not hearing any bitterness in that. Because, the fact is, many of my past accomplishments have come to an end. But always there is another opportunity for me. Something new to play with :-)
Now don't worry...I'm not "giving notice" or anything close...I just want you to look at this from the perspective of God's word. I honestly believe I have seen His hand in motion in the library. Everything we have ever needed has been provided, and continues to be provided....books, shelves, the perfect room, people to take an interest and help out. Anything...everything...at exactly the right time. How many people get to take a front row seat for something like that?
I honestly expect the library will have a long, full life. And, as long as God allows, I plan to be involved in that. It's just one of those things I have to keep a loose grip on. Does that make sense?
So, once again you may wonder, where in the world I am going with this. Well, for one thing, I know that there are many others in my boat. Some of you may be involved in some things that you are really enjoying, and some of you may be in the throes of that "stripping away" process...where God is changing your life around just a bit. For many, this is a time of seeking.
When you don't know what to think, or where to go next, then the only place to turn is to God...and to His word. For many, it will also be helpful to hear the testimony of other believers and to draw from their experiences. The library is full of books written by people who have walked through the fire. There are books to encourage you, instruct you, comfort you and give you good ideas. I find an enormous solace in reading and I hope you will too.
Please come into the library. Find that book that will help you wherever you are at. There is no cost to do this, and you do not even have to attend this church to borrow a book. Just come and make yourself very much at home.
One more thing...most of the books are meant to be borrowed, but the Bibles are there for the taking. If you need or want one it's yours.
NEW STUFF FOR KIDS....
I'm noticing the readership in the kids section is on the increase. No wonder, considering the good group of kids we are seeing in our Sunday morning worship. The Kids for Christ folks are doing a super job of this ministry and we are all enjoying the benefits.
In looking at our children's section, I see a real opportunity to reach out to the kids coming through our doors. I'm told that the library's youngest patron is 4 years old. And, in looking at our check-out record, I notice that we have readers in almost every age group, including teens.
Thanks to our friend, Nola, we have several new titles in our fiction for young readers section (the big display case on the right wall). And there are some new volumes in the Lilly series there, as well. All in all, there is a good selection of books for kids and they are getting checked out. It's really quite amazing and we are very blessed, indeed.
Several of you have asked me what our needs are in the library. Well, this is one area we could definitely use some help. Do you have books at home that your kids have enjoyed, but are ready to pass on? Would you consider donating them to the church library? We need good quality, Christian books for our kids (boys, as well as girls!). Maybe you don't own any kids books, but can suggest a few good authors? This is not my area of expertise, so I'm appealing to you for some help. Your thoughts can be sent to me by e-mail at email@example.com
NEW STUFF FOR GROWN UPS...
I would also like to introduce you to the newest author in our regular Fiction section. Her name is Karen Kingsbury. You may already be familiar with her work. She has written a number of titles that have hit the New York Times bestseller lists and is currently considered the #1 best-selling fiction author in the Christian market. (All that to say her books are very, very good!)
My sister Jo discovered her a couple years ago, and was so taken with her work that she purchased several copies and started passing them around among family and friends. She wore us all down until we read at least one. Then we were hooked...just like she knew we would be. She has donated a part of her collection to our library. I hope you will enjoy them as much as we have!
BASKING IN BIBLES........
After mentioning in a previous newsletter about our Bible Basket ministry, many of you have donated some beautiful Bibles to share. Thank you so much for doing that!!! A number came from Sue Oldham's collection and I am very grateful. I got to give one away myself and I notice that several others have been taken. That is so wonderful! Lets keep it going! Whether you are giving a Bible or taking one, you are sharing God's word with another thirsty soul. It just doesn't get any better than that.
I hope you all are having a wonderful summer, with lots of time to read! Until next time...
Love, Linda K.
Best Cure for the Winter Blahs
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2
How are you?
Does that question stump you just a little bit these days? After all, the well meaning person who asked just might not be prepared for the real answer...
I'm in pain.
Thanks for asking.
Fact is, we are facing a lot of stuff these days. The winter "blahs" that tend to clings to our spirits this time of year, have added layers of grief or uncertainty. Call it recession, call it depression...it reminds me of Bartholomew's "Ooblech" from that old Dr. Suess book we used to read when I was little. Sticky gunky stuff that clings to everything and everyone around us. (Oddly enough, that mental picture kinda cheers me up).
The thing about Ooblech, is that it never stays, and the damage isn't permanent...at least it doesn't have to be. But the other thing you need to know about Ooblech is that it does not leave on its own. Worry, depression and anxiety are tenacious enemies. But no weapon formed against you shall prosper and the answer lies in that powerful little verse from Romans 12:2.
Renew your mind.
Change your thinking.
When the enemy says “this is going to be bad”…Say “God will make it perfect.”
When your mind whispers “I don’t have enough”…Say “God has more than enough.”
I know it sounds too simple. But just try it…once…twice…again.
You can do this.
Awhile back, I went looking for a book to cheer me on in this endeavor and I found a great one: Eat the Cookie, Buy the Shoes, by Joyce Meyers, is a book on celebrating life on a daily basis. Ms. Meyers talks about the idea of “putting your soul on vacation”, even in the middle of a tough times. She is a very readable author and her teaching is rock solid, backed up with the authority of scripture. You will enjoy this one…a lot. And the church library just happens to have a copy (large print even).
If your best friend grabs it before you can get to it, then have a browse through the Christian Living section (on the front wall) and find something to read in the mean time. I guarantee you will find SOMETHING to perk up your sagging spirits and put the Ooblech on notice!
And please do us a favor. On the table you will find some new book marks that have a space for writing. Take one to use and, if you like the book, jot a comment or two and tuck it in the front cover. It would be a great help to the next patron who is trying to find something good to read. Let’s share our experiences and do what we can to help each other in this journey!
See you in the Library!
REAL VS. FAKE
By Linda Kauzlarich
I've been hounded by a weird little theme in my life lately. It started with a book I checked out from the public library called "Real Food has Curves" (by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough). Now this is not really an article about that book, i just want to borrow a thought from it, so stay with me a sec, ok?
The central idea is that a lot of what we eat isn't "real", but fake; as in "made with manufactured ingredients, loaded with additives and bearing only a slight resemblance to anything found in nature or gramma's pantry." (Think peach jello vs. a juicy sun-ripened peach.)
In a nutshell...
These fake foods don't satisfy us...
and they don't really nourish our bodies...
We keep eating...
because we're still hungry...
but we don't get full
we just get fat....
Sounds like a page from Ecclesiastes, doesn't it?
Now here's where my brain takes a detour: As i've been working on this food thing, i've found myself applying the principal to other things in my life. Enough to wonder, what other ways am I faking myself out? Where am I trading something real for something less satisfying? Here's what I've come up with (This is MY list...you'll have to do your own):
Bible Study vs. Internet Devotionals
Prayer vs. Meditation
Giving vs. Fundraising
Mercy vs. Social awareness
Friendship vs. Social Networking
Now mind you, I am not saying these things are wrong, or even bad. I just don't consider them good substitions for the real deal. Are you catching the subtle difference?
I personally enjoy devotional books and internet diddies a lot. But they are not the same as reading (or studying) the Bible. That time in God's Word is what's going to keep me grounded when the pressure is on.
Nor is meditation (quiet contemplation) the same thing as prayer. At some point, you've got to get on your knees (either for real or in spirit) and pour your heart out to the Father if you want something real to happen.
And while I totally LOVE social networking, the few little lines i swap with my friends are no substitute for spending an hour on the phone with someone who just really needs to talk.
Every year I participate in some fund-raisers for a couple of worthy causes. But it's no substitue for the kind of giving God wants us to experience. The kind that costs a little something and maybe no one will ever know about it.
The bad news here is that as I neglect the real stuff God has for me, and pursue these lesser things, I'm going to find myself downright hungry. The good news is that God promises to fill those who hunger (and thirst) for more of Him. All you have to do is get yourself to the table.
Hey, while I'm at it, here's another real vs. fake thing for my list:
Book vs. Kindle (electronic reader)
Ok, that one might be a stretch, but I am a book purist. I prefer real paper, nicely bound between some interesting covers and i'm a shameless page bender. Besides, I had to get around to talking about books at some point, eh? And we are fortunate to have a whole library full of them!
Have you been in lately? We still have the Bible basket, so if you are in need of one, or have someone you would like to give one to, help yourself! We have lots of devotional books (I never said they were BAD, remember?) And we have books that will help you study the Word and deepen your walk with God. Real spiritual food for you to enjoy...Come and get it!...It's chow time!
p.s. About that real food thing....I'm making progress. But, for the record, I will probably never give up cheetos. Don't even go there.
By the way, here's a little trivia for you: Did you know that in business ettiquete, you are not supposed to capitalize entire words or sentences because it is considered the equivelent of shouting? Well, I AM shouting! This is REALLY GOOD NEWS! It means that YOU, dear readers, will actually be able to FIND a book. And I can breath a sigh of relief. How great is that?!
But lest you think I am bragging about my own accomplishments, you need to know that it was not by my effort alone. (If that were true, you would still be waiting!) No No. This was accomplished with the help of Nola Duvall and Lil Norris, who were willing to meet me for a day or two of hard labor. Thank you, ladies, so very much!
There is still quite a lot of organizing to do, but with this latest accomplishment, we are ready to show off the library at an open house, which is planned for January. The date will be announced at a later time, but be watching for it. We really want you to come!
Meanwhile, come in and have a look, and maybe check out some of our new books:
We have a really great novel called A Woman's Place, by Lynn Austin. This was donated and recommended to me by Nola, and I had a lot of fun reading it. It was my first time reading this author, But I see we have a couple of her other titles and I'm anxious to read those as well.
We also have some new-to-the-library titles by Karen Kingsbury. We have volumes 1 through 5 of her Redemption series (the serious that made her so wildly popular) and 2 sets of her latest series, Take One and Take Two; a spin-off of the Redemption series. And coming soon is her most recent title, Shades of Blue. All of these were donated by a friend who gives me her copies with instructions to put them in the library when I'm done. Maybe you aren't aware, but the library has several outside benefactors like this friend, who have taken an interest in this particular ministry and made very specific, generous contributions. I find that amazing, and humbling, and I just wanted you to know. God is good.
I am also sifting through a very generous donation by Marge Crass, who has brought in a couple boxes of books from her own library. If you know Marge, you know that she is an avid reader with very good taste. SO many others have continued to bring in the nicest gems for our enjoyment. It always concerns me that I may leave someone out. We have been given so much, from so many directions, that I am sure that has happened. Please know that it is all very much appreciated.
Stay tuned for that open house in January. Until next time.....
FOOD & FAITH
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8 (NIV)
Isn't it interesting that where two or more are gathered...you typically find food? Face it. We love the stuff, and it is one of our truly basic "needs" (as opposed to all that stuff we just "want") But our enjoyment of food is more than a personal thing. It's often how we connect with other people and it's one of the best forms of ministry we know. It is almost instinctive to offer food to comfort someone who is lonely or hurting. In appropriate measure, food is good and should be enjoyed.
With this in mind, it is my pleasure to introduce you to a new resource in our library. Located on the back wall (between the windows) is a new section called Food and Faith
In the Food and Faith section, you will find a sampling of church cookbooks; recipe collections compiled by some of our local churches. (You may even recognize a few of the contributors.) You will also find a number of specialty cookbooks: Whether you are looking for a potluck recipe, some cookie ideas for your Sunday school class, or something to offer a neighbor in need, the Food and Faith section can be a great place to look.
In addition to Cookbooks, Food and Faith offers a collection of devotional writings that are, in some way, related to food. Here you will find the Chicken Soup for the Soul collection, and a new book called Over Salad and Hot Bread; a lovely story of friendship donated by Marj Crass. This is also the place to look for titles related to diet and fitness.
It seemed natural to offer something like this in our library and I think you will enjoy what this section has to offer. In fact, I would love to take credit for it, but the idea came from our friend Nola. Nola Schaefer and Lil Norris have generously donated a portion of their personal collections to give us a nice start.
If you have a cookbook you would like to donate, we would be glad to receive it. We mostly need Church cookbooks that you may be willing to part with. But we would also appreciate other cookbooks that are in good repair and a little unique or specialized (because our space is limited).
We hope you really, really enjoy this section as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you.
One more thing. You see that verse I mentioned at the top from Psalm 34? Could I encourage you to go and read the whole chapter? It has some really timely things to say that I think you will be glad to hear!
p.s. We have some very exciting news for you from the library. THE FICTION SECTION HAS BEEN ALPHABETIZED!!! A few month ago, Nola and Lil offered their services and bravely took on this project. I am so indebted to them! This is, without a doubt, the most utilized section in the library and now it is actually functional. It gives me hope. (Thank you, dear ladies!)
Next in our sites, is the Christian Living section. There are so many treasures on those shelves and I want you to be able to find them! This will happen later in June, so for now, just dig in and find something to help you grow!
Visit YOUR library in their new home!!!
I know you'll like what you see and while you are in there why not check out a book, a video, a CD or magazine. We've got a great selection.