Saturday, May 28, 2011

Stars & Whales

I was on a walk this afternoon just digging being outside when I was reminded why I love nature so much. Because it refelcts God and by its very nature is singing its praise to Him. By the sounds, looks, and feel of it, everything proclaims the majesty of God. And then I was reminded of this...

Stars + Whales = Music

Actually a symphony. Yes indeedy. We went to a Chris Tomlin concert not too long ago and the speaker, Louie Giglio, blew our minds with a new spin on all creation singing God's praises.

In the video he is using authentic recordings of rotation pulsars of stars in our own Milky Way Galaxy. The recordings came from legit astronomers using the highest quality technology. If we went to outer space and could put our ear up next to a star, what you hear in the video is what we would hear in real life. Another recording he used was of humpback whales singing underwater to one another-such an incredible sound. So here is the video with explanation:

So #1 Louie takes the recordings of the first star which spins 1.4 times per second and actually edits it with his iPad to a slower tempo. That's the main beat of the song.
#2 Next he plays the rotation pulsars a star rotating 11 times per second which is a little faster beat. With the two layered on top of each other you get a pretty sweet sound.
#3 He adds a pulsar that is rotating at 1,000 times per second and when slowed down it sounds like violins, or a symphony. Sha-bam universe! I just think this is so cool.
#4 Finally he throws in the sounds of underwater "whale songs" of the Humpbacks. Add it on top of the two stars with he whales singing and you have one AMAZING song!!



A totally unedited, raw version of the praise God hears from His creation. The stars that He created out in the universe and the largest mammals on Earth combining to singing one incredible song. Creation can't help but to praise the Lord.

www.universetoday.com


www.coolantartica.com

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him from the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!

Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all the deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above the earth and heaven

Psalm 148: 1-6, 13

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Radical Ways

Sometimes I wonder if our "American-ness" just bores Jesus to tears. I know I am sometimes.

The clean churches, the orderly lines by which we file in and out of those doors every Sunday, the absolute lengths we stretch ourselves to to never make anyone feel uncomfortable, how passively we listen to sermons, the lack of faith to His long track records of miracles... This may not be every church or person but it seems a high percentage of Christians are buying into the American Church instead of the radical, scandalous gospel of Jesus.

Combing through the scriptures I always find the opposite of boring, routine, mundane, or ordinary.

A rod turned in to a snake (Ex 4:3)
Dream interpretation for highest government ruler (Ex 41:39)
The sun and moon standing still in the sky (Josh 10:12)
Spirit of God allowing a man to kill a lion barehanded (Judges 14:6)
A jar of flour and oil multiplying (2 King 4:5)
A man healed of an illness (2 Kings 20:7)
Evil spirits cast out (Mark 1:26)
Blindness healed (Matt 9:30)
Jesus' Resurrection (Luke 24:24)
Gospel spreading through a whole country (Luke 7:17)
Eternal life (John 3:15)
Miraculous transportation aka time travel (Acts 8:39-40)
A dead woman restored to life (Acts 9:40)
Large numbers trusting the Lord (Acts 3:47)
Followers of Jesus thrown in prison (Acts 12)

Just read an article on growing rates of Christianity around the world and the sufferings they face and the risks they take. Places like Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, China, India, Sudan are seeing the most growth but also the most radical oppression from governments and people. The article was filled with words like martyr, suffering, persecution, protests, ethnic cleansing, growth, illegal, and The World. Dang Lord, when was it that you were too ordinary and and an old bearded guy just chillin in the heavens? (Um, never.)

Americans were actually charged in the article for not crying out when their own Christians receive persecution. The typical response to sacrificing our lives for the Lord or protesting unfairness is silence. If we aren't willing to take on the adventure, it seems other people who want it are actually seeing the most growth, the most scandal, the most life change and the greatest faith.

I would ditch the clean, orderly seats of the mega church auditoriums any day for the underground church where people sit on dirt floors in hiding. I would dig another 4 hour sermon like the one we heard in Uganda over the exact 1 hour church service we get here. I want a comfort zone of faith that is constantly violated. A heart believing that God's looooong history of miracle working is not a sudden rare commodity.

God is so faithful beyond our willingness. I'm encouraged by the faith of Nigerians and Chinese believers risking their lives, families, finances, security, safety, rights, freedom, their everything for the advancement of the gospel. Jesus digs the willing and not the faint of heart. Praying he doesn't give up on our passivity....I know he won't. That's just not His style.

Oh, that we might know the Lord!
Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
or the coming of rains in early spring.
Hosea 6:3

Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,
and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
But the thunder of his power who can understand?
Job 26:14

Monday, May 23, 2011

Encouragment

What we are encouraged by this week:

*Ryan's Bottle Wash design being nearly done! A few more adjustments and it's a finished project. He and his co-worker Marc trained a church on the operation of HWI's water treatment system last week which is pretty sweet. They are real Engineers!

*Dropping divorce statistics. US divorce rates are apparently down and we've read percentages as low as 40. Praise the Lord for healing what's broken and growing commitment in married Americans

*Stacey Decker's back lawn is looking 180° different! The Decker brothers noticed her lawn needing some TLC so we all spent Saturday digging up weeds, raking, spreading new grass seed, and watering. A very summery sort of project!

*We are currently at about 6% of our support goal with Campus Crusade Ministry Partner Development. Considering this was my first week we are totally blown away already by supporters and God's faithfulness.

*Our sweet friend Katie Sesler comes to visit us in 1 week! We met her in Saudi Arabia at KAUST and have loved her ever since. She is from the South but is Coloradoan (Coloradite? Coloradian?) in her heart. Uh, she wears chacos, digs the mountains and runs barefoot!!
{Katie, I found this picture from a GOOGLE search!}

*Ryan and I head to Avon, CO to the Westin in exactly 3 weeks to celebrate our first year of marriage. Avon is perfect for mountain biking, hikes, swimming, and anything outdoors you can imagine.

{A summer shot of the hotel. We are jazzed!!}

*Finally, we are encouraged by Dr. Nabeel Jabbour and his sweet wife Barbara. Nabeel is an Arab Christian who has written several amazing books on the topic of Muslim Ministry. His wife's ministry is prayer-she prays for hours a day and has faith like we've never seen. They have a neat story that we can write another post about but their pray warrior hearts and open arms to our life is pretty incredible.


Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer
Romans 12:9-12

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Roles vs. Purposes

When the same lesson keeps popping up from different sources I want to perk up my ears and pay attention to what is being taught. God is moving and I don't want to miss it!

 The concept of our roles verses our purpose cropped up in two places. Through my very favorite blog by Laura Krokos (my amazing college discipler and whose words/ideas were put right into this post) and in Beth Moore's Bible Study Jesus, the One and Only. Both so legit and such solid teachers. So here's what I'm learning: Role and Purpose are two very different but important concepts. How we view them changes how we view the course of our life and what calling we lean into. As I gain a more bibical view of each it totally reshapes how I want to view my life when I'm 80!!

Role or Task: is our uniqueness, spiritual gifts, strengths, or passions that help us identify how we might use our time and talents
{Role as a Sister and a Wife. The difference of being licked vs. kissed}


{My new favorite role as Aunt/Giver of Mohawks}

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 2:8

Purpose or Calling: is what we were created for and the reason for our existence. According to God we were created to glorify Him and show off His character to the world. Basically reflect who He is.

Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made

Isaiah 43:7

Mission: is the Great Commission. Going and making disciples through evangelism and discipleship by sharing God's purchase of us with Christ's blood on the cross. Dang we have a high and amazing mission! It fits the purpose for which we were designed.

So what I'm learning is to clarify and keep a right view of my role versus my purpose in light of my mission. My roles for example include Campus Crusade staffer, wife, daughter, sister, volunteer, aunt, piano player, health enthusiast, yogi...on and on but those are NOT my purpose and what I was truly created for. You and I were created for one purpose which is to behold God and make Him known. And He was just so creative to let us do that sometimes by what we love and are good at. Using our unique roles to live out our purpose by way of God's mission.
Laura asks in her post about this:

How can you use your uniqueness to carry out the mission Jesus gave you of making multiplying disciples through the process of evangelism and discipleship?



Last but not least I'll just give a shout out to Laura's Bible Study titled Beholding Him, Becoming Missional: Awakening to the Mission Through the Study of Samuel 1. This study is SO good. Grab yourself a copy if you need something to wake you up and set your heart on fire!

I'm so glad you're here!  I hope you're encouraged by what you read and spurred on to pursue the heart of God.  To make sure you don't miss anything join us over on the sidebar or add our button to your page.  Be blessed!

Neighborly Love

Sunday one of our super amazing pastors at Hillside taught one session of a multi-series called: Rediscovering the Art of Neighboring. The challenge is to know and love every one of our neighbors, literally (Luke 10:25-37). People all over the Denver Metro area are hearing the same teaching and the map of who lives where on the website is AWESOME!

{That little yellow house would be thy selves}

We dig this series BIG time. Especially when our neighbors are on their best behavior and are always quiet and bring us warm cookies to our door....psyche. We mostly are finding out we don't even know our neighbors names and they are sometimes (*cough*) jerks (*cough*). Ah, wouldn't Jesus be pleased with our loving hearts....We awoke last night at the unheard of hour 1:57 a.m. to the bass on our neighbor's stereo system so loud it was shaking our furniture. Not to mention the people upstairs who seem to be constantly competing in a yelling match. Or maybe they are both just half deaf. Hmmm?

Anyway, we are feeling some suh-weet conviction nonetheless to love and serve our neighbors well despite what we may have experienced or judged (cringe). This is obviously not a hero story because we were reluctant last night to love anyone!

So our challenge beyond just helping them out with a chore or shaking their hand once is really in serving them eternally. What the???? By loving them and investing in their lives we are hoping to reflect Christ and pray that they get hungry for God of the Universe!!! That would be the ultimate impact. Until then we are totally unable to love anyone on our own because we actually are capable of contemplating a citizen's arrest and vandalization at the wee hours of the morning.

Jesus please don't let them read this post....ever.



If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say,“Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you."
Proverbs 3:28

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday

What makes a Monday pretty swell?

Getting the new windows that your apartment complex has been promising you for 4 months finally installed. It only took about 20 phone calls, a billion e-mails, and probably being labeled the apartment crazy to get them...

We get to enjoy windows and doors that actually lock, slide, keep air in and don't leak in the ever-changing weather elements of CO. As well as a lower energy bill-ah, yes that is the real perk!

Tis a good Monday.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Graduation Festivities!

(WARNING: Prepare for many pictures and a long post)
Graduation was this morning and it was GOOD! Veddy goot. Cold might be an accurate word to also describe it but thank the Lord it didn't rain on us. It was a great ceremony and a great finish to 4 years. My degree is in Psychology which should be helpful in college ministry. So it is thanks to my amazing parents who generously paid my tuition (!!), a very sweet husband who supported me through some crazy study sessions, and most importantly Jesus who firmly rooted my identity and ability in Him- that I GRADUATED.

Enjoy some pictures:
{Sweet husband celebrating graduation!}

{Awkwardly gazing lovingly at the ground...}

{Holla at the Nelsons!}

{Sweet friends since freshmen year, Hannah (left) and Alyse (right)}

{Graduation lunch at McGrath's}

{Graduation dog thing to top some amazing presents!!}

Here's the truth: this graduate got spoiled rotten this week!! Surprise baskets from Stace, dinner with my hubs, lunch with the Nelsons, a spa package/other goodies from my parents, a cute tiny lamp from sister Linny, and these fun treats (below) from the Careys. How did I even get so blessed?!?!?!

{Coconut Macaroons}

{Candy Land!}

{An incredible white orchid. Oh it is beautiful.}


Wherever you go and whatever you do,you will be blessed.
Deuteronomy 28:6

Friday, May 13, 2011

Random Celebrations

When you finish your last final of college...what do you do? Well, you come home and you find a SURPRISE! Stacey Anne Decker is an amazing sister-in-law/friend. I came home pretty pooped from finals week and found these goodies at our door! I was VERY VERY VERY blessed. You can't see everything in that basket but there was a 14 oz Tolberone bar, socks, candles, a journal, chocolates, pens, tea lights, stationary, pedicure tools, a magazine...pretty much everything you would need to relax and celebrate graduation. Thank you Stace! What a blessing you are. (Don't worry people I also told her thank you over the phone and not just in this blog post:)

{Tulips! My favorite!}

{The HUGE basket of goodies!}

{Perhaps a better shot? Still doesn't do it justice...}

One random last piece of this: I thought it was Ryan initially or that maybe him and Stace had paired up to give me this surprise. So I called him and gushed over how sweet he was and he even said "You're welcome babe!" Now come to find out Ryan actually didn't do this BUT I had caught him at a super hectic moment at work so accidentally he took credit for it. Ha! Oh husband! He did however celebrate with me BIG time and had dinner at Ali Baba's. Delicious!

And what is happening here you might ask? Well you can also get pumped up for the last final by drinking coconut milk. Or so Tamara and I thought. Just find your self a hammer and a screwdriver, make a hole in 2 ends of the coconut and out comes the juice! It really is good stuff. More watery thank milky but good for you nonetheless.



I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Humble Coconut Macaroons

Do you need a slice of humble pie? I think I have plenty to go around. However mine is more along the lines of "humble macaroons".


These little buggers were nearly the end me.  EVERY time I have made them I have failed at least once (and it's not the recipe's fault).  And it's an ugly fail: tears, banging a cabinet door to two... 

Inevitably if I am feeling a little too proud of myself or I am needing a good dose of reality about what I can accomplish on my own...I will whip out this macaroon recipe.  Sweet humility.

It never fails to brings back to reality. That I am not capable on my own. That I fail constantly without the Lord, and I need him even to make these blasted cookies.

Is that over-spiritualizing a dessert?

The recipe is fabulous where these delicious little drops of goodness are made right.   But I'll warn you, if you're feeling prideful don't attempt these cookies-you WILL be humbled.

Round 1 = wasted ingredients and an unnecessary fight with sweet Ryan Decker. How dumb! 
Round 2 = a damp bowl so soggy egg whites. *sigh
Round 3 (pictured) = overcooked and too brown.  Boo!

They are still delicious when made right so don't be too scared :)

Coconut Macaroons


Ingredients:
2 large egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup flaked coconut

Directions:
Beat the egg whites and vanilla until soft peaks form.  Add sugar 1 tbsp at a time until soft peaks form again. Fold in coconut. Drop with spoon onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 325 F for 20 minutes or until edges are slightly golden.


All that to say for these macaroons, they remind me why I need the Lord. Because can do nothing on my own and His ability is perfectly enough.  


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us...
Ephesians 3:20

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Saturday

There are 8 full semester behind me, 1 final ahead of me and a 2 hour ceremony standing between myself and a diploma. Oh sweet mercy let it be Saturday already!

And the Lord is GOOD to let me graduate on time this spring. Through a long distance dating relationship, mostly long distance engagement, a marriage, a move out of the country, and a move back into the country it somehow was managed that I would graduate in 4 years, on time without a minute to loose.

Praise the Lord!

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
Acts 20:24

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Farming Experience

Yes indeedy! It's farming season and we have signed up for our fair share of working and then receiving some fresh, organic goodies. Ever heard of Grant Family Farms? (holla to Ty & Anna!). Well these fine people up in Wellington, CO provide organic certified vegetables, fruit, eggs, bread, meat and lots of other goodies to people around Colorado. We have a huge crush on this farm. We are pumped to support a CO family farm, eat healthfully, work for our food, and choose an environmentally sustainable option.

We get 20-22 vegetables per week for 26 weeks. Shazam! This is what their website tells us:

For example, you'll get:
Greens (ie: spinach, lettuce, kale)
Root Crops (ie: beets, carrots, onions, potatoes)
Herbs (ie: basil, parsley, dill)
Classic Vegetables (ie: broccoli, eggplant, tomatoes, green beans, peppers)

Holy shamole! Is that amazing or what? We are super pumped for this. And on May 28th we will be spending from 8am - 5 pm going old school pioneer style to work on the farm. Pictures to come I'm sure...

We had our own garden last year but now being in Lakewood, we aren't going to be able to do that again. But in addition to this Family Farm option, we will be doing "box gardening" on our back porch. You better believe we'll dedicate a few posts to this!

The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us.
Psalm 67:6

Monday, May 2, 2011

What's New!

What were the Decker whereabouts this weekend you might ask?? Well we spent Friday night to Sunday afternoon in Brighton being trained, equipped, and taught about Campus Crusade Staff and all that it entails. We love this organization! We are understanding what my role will be as an official staffer and how Ryan can be involved this summer as we seek to raise funds and see God faithful in provisions. He is our Jehovah Jireh-God the Provider (Genesis 22:14).

Ryan is also working SO hard to finish the bottle wash design and get it produced and ready for shipping June 1. He is persevering through so many stresses like pumps not working and pressure valves acting up. He even went out of town this last week to Montrose to learn about solar energy technology for the system. He is so smart and it's such a blessing that he loves the work at Healing Waters. When he's not doing that he giddy lately over getting his motorcycle back and taking a few rides. (I describe the bike as old...and he might use the word "sexy").

As Ryan finishes that business up, I graduate officially May 14 (praying I pass one history class, for reals!). We are excited but ready to close that chapter of our life. School/Marriage/Saudi Arabia moves/Working are a challenge to all balance. So the next few weeks will include lots of studying on my part, Ryan working hard to meet deadlines, and just enjoying this season!

Last but not least I get to spend the next few Fridays with my absolute favorite little baby in the whole world! My sister-in-law, Anna, is a teacher and gets the summers off so I just get Rilyn through May but this last Friday was such good time w/ her and those chunky little thighs of hers! We did her hair (much to her dislike), took a walk, enjoyed lots of naps, ate plenty, and practiced smiling and melting Auntie Carly's heart. Fridays just moved up in my book!

That's all for now! Thanks for keeping up with our blog and we would love prayers for everything mentioned above!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunshine vs. Sunburn

Sometimes you need a little afternoon break on the backporch while the sun warms you up. Or sunburns your flesh to a crisp in my case...


And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

Genesis 1:3

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