Thursday, July 30, 2009


So, I realize I made a commitment to blog everyday this week and I have honestly tried; however, our internet is out for a couple of days, so I am currently at a Cyber Cafe trying to write an article for the Back 2 Back magazine (which is not an easy task for me at all) and I have been going through my past blog entries and have cut and pasted a lot of entry comments to help me recreate what is going on with John and I over the last 6 months of living in Nigeria.  Which I cannot believe that I actually live in Africa?????  Yes, I still have those moments and it is a running joke with me and the interns....
But, as I read I cannot help but feel that I have maybe gone backwards over the last few months, spiritually.  Can someone really do that who is honestly in pursuit of the Lord?  I don't know, but I am going to trust that the Lord is going to use me somehow.....
More later, if not tomorrow just know it is the internet thing, okay?
Missing you all and feeling a pit about the interns leaving and our other staff family that has been with us all this summer.   Those PITS continue to come and go..... hmmmmm
God Bless!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"walking on the sea"

I feel like a fake and a poser by putting the thoughts of someone else on my blog (I know I did it with my friend's song) but my little sister sent this to me this morning and she said it made her think of me, and truly, I loved it.  It ministered to me with the thought that Africa is not a "goal" nor is the ministry becoming something a goal, but daily living life with Christ and seeing Him in my days, moment by moment is good, holy and pleasing to Him.
Anyway, I hope you have the patience to read it all through because if I had the eloquence I would have written this myself as something that I have been walking through and that the Lord is teaching me.
Thanks and God Bless.....

We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.

What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see "Him walking on the sea" with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see "Him walking on the sea" ( Mark 6:49 ). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.

God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.

God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.

- Oswald Chambers: "My Utmost for His Highest"

Monday, July 27, 2009

sick vs. healthy

One of the days while the Vineyard was here, we had a medical outreach.  I truly was not much a part of it except one afternoon I went to visit and see how it was going and just played with the village children that were there waiting for whatever family member was being seen by one of the doctors or nurses.
Anyway, I asked Chris (the other staff man here) what is the worse he had seen physically and he talked about a man with a sore/hole in his leg that needed to be cleaned out.  They nurse was cleaning the wound out and her hand just kept going in and going farther and the man didn't flinch at all.  Then one of the interns said that he saw a woman treated for a water parasite and as she left she stopped by the village waterhole and pulled up some water for her trip back (which is full of parasites), and the list could go on....
But, as I was hearing about these medical issues, I started thinking about how sometimes we are sick long enough we think it is healthy.  We don't even flinch at the alcohol going in and cleaning out the bacteria because it is all dead around the hole, or we numbly go draw water from a parasite filled well....  that we learn to function to cater to our sickness.  Interesting, isn't it?  I then began to think, spiritually, if we go too long in one "sickness" or "sin", we might start to make excuses for it and rely on the sin because it is now normal.....  Because if we tried to get healthy, it would hurt and be hard and it might cause, initially anyway, anxiety....  because if we tried to get healthy, I would then start worrying about my kids drinking out of the dirty well, or be concerned with my husband going to work with a huge hole in his leg and that would cause more stress and effort than just to go on with the status quo.
Our sickness becomes the rule and the exception is health.  Health becomes the abnormal and why bother when sickness has become the comfort.  
So, then I went to the idea of where in my life am I sick and don't recognize it anymore because I have just thought this way a really long time.  I want health even though sometimes it feels like an uphill battle, constantly needing attention and giving to the Lord.  I want to read His Word and not be numb but be encouraged to press on and live life in a way of health and healing.  I want the medical clinics to go consistently enough that they (the people here in the village) start to recognize that there is hope to healthy living and if they also choose to press on they will recognize that they hope is attainable and worth the effort of the uphill battle.  That Christ can give them health and the abundant life that yes, may be more of a challenge than not, but worth it every single time.  Every single time!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

anybody out there?

 I know it has been awhile and I am hearing from people that I should at least put something verses nothing.... that way people keep wanting to read.....
Oh, the pressure, so the Vineyard group from Cincinnati left this afternoon and it was so fun having a large group here.  There is something that is energizing about having a group come and want to join in on what is going on over here on this side of the world.
It is also hard for me to imagine that there is only three weeks left of summer.  One transition week (that is this one coming up) and two last weeks of the Northstar Vineyard.  My goal is to blog every single day this week.... we will see....
I have come to really love the interns that have been serving this summer with us, it is weird with a  smaller staff, I feel that the relationships created are more intimate or maybe it is just the whole community relationships are more intimate because that is it, it is us and not lots of others.... either way, it is good.  Intimacy, in and of itself, bears the risk of conflict, but I am learning it is most of the time worth the conflict for the fruit of intimacy.  Hmmmm...
I am not sure where to go with that except it is what it is and I am thankful as I go to bed.
More tomorrow.  I actually learned a lot this week, but am feeling wiped out and will share more tomorrow...
God bless,

Friday, July 3, 2009

shelter thoughts

Shelter has become a learned trait for the Guckenberger family.  One that we started a conversation about a couple of months ago and the conversation has become more for me.  Shelter is starting to take on the definition of hope, home, a state of mind more than a structure or even stability for that matter.  Where we smell something and it stirs ideas and thoughts and memories and we recognize the shelter of something more than we can put into words.  Does that mean that Nigeria has become our home?  I don’t know, but it does mean that I look more forward to our permanent shelter in Heaven than I have in any other time in my life.


If our view of him increases so will our understanding of His shelter.

This summer started mentally for John and I as sacrifice.  What mentalities we needed to sacrifice, what giftings or desires we needed to sacrifice and then what comforts or conveniences we would need to sacrifice as a family by just living in Nigeria.  BUT, then I started looking into scripture and reading stories about people in the bible that also sacrificed; His pain & passion changed me; Abraham/Isaac,

Their dream inspired; Moses leading God's people out of Egypt

Or even just bible stories that their courage asked me what am I afraid of; Daniel and the Lion’s Den...

Or their season of waiting and building up for a future purpose and how that encouraged me; Joseph and his years of slavery to end up being #2 in the Kingdom

And it dawned on me, why were they not afraid, or bitter or selfish?  All of a sudden it hit me that I was focusing on the wrong thing.  It is not sacrifice that my eyes should end, but who is this God that they had no need to fear, no reason to be bitter and no purpose to think of themselves?  God is the focus.  I want to know Him and maybe if I know Him, I will find the secret to the contented life.

Not what do we need to sacrifice, but Who is this God that I think nothing of the sacrifice…. That is the one I want to spend the rest of my life finding out about.  I want to know about God.

 God, please reveal yourself to me in a new way.