Tuesday, March 04, 2014

God Ordained Moments in Houston, TX

On Friday January 17th, my husband Roger and I boarded a plane to fly to sunny Houston, TX. I was going there because of an invitation to a Scripture Memory Celebration with Living Proof Ministries. We decided to make a bit of a holiday out of it to enjoy some time together and get away from the snow. :)  It was dark when we flew from Saskatoon to Calgary, but what an incredible display of lights when we got closer to Calgary. So reminded me of how we as believers in Jesus Christ, need to be the light of the world to others, to be a light in a dark place. So gorgeous! But then I was also super pumped to actually be going to Houston, Texas for what I knew would be an amazing time...but my imagination wasn't big enough to grasp at this moment all that God had in store for me, for us, on this quick 6 day trip.

When we flew out of Calgary, the sun was coming up in glorious splendor over the snow capped mountains with an incredible filter of thin clouds wisping through the air. :)  To the right of my window the skies were still a deeper blew with a gorgeous white moon still glowing brightly. I tried to capture the breathtaking beauty on camera but it hardly did it justice to what I actually saw. It was all such a beautiful reminder of how the Spirit of God hovers over the earth. From the very beginning of this world, God's Spirit hovers over us and when we as Him to be a part of our lives, He comes to dwell within us through His Holy Spirit. I just felt so secure and surrounded by Him as I kept my eyes peeled out of the window of the plane. I couldn't stop watching His glorious display of creation He had 'just for me' that special morning. ♥

Once we landed, we had a taxi bring us to our hotel so we could unload our bags and walk a couple blocks to grab a bite to eat at the Chick-fil-A. It was delightful to sit outside eating our meal and our host was wonderful...I'm certain he was a believer, I could just tell by his smile, his attitude, and his amens and he told me his beautiful wife was named Lisa too. :) Then we went over to the rental car place to pick up our little love bug for a few days. Isn't it just the cutest thing ever?? :) My hubby was adorable in it! ;) It was quite amazing how many shopping bags we could hide in the back hatch...LOTS ...and I think Roger had more than me. :)  We ended our first day having a wonderful supper at the Olive Garden...my favorite place to eat when we're travelling---oh I wish they had one in Saskatoon!

I woke up Saturday morning super excited! I was fretting the night before and again in the morning about what I should wear for this special day! This was the day I had been waiting for since January 1, 2013 when I spontaneously signed up for a year of Scripture Memory through the Living Proof Ministries Blog They had mentioned in their first post of the year that there would be a celebration in a year if we completed the Scripture memory challenge...and oh wouldn't it be so cool if God would bring me there! I've also never been good at memorizing so this was a great new challenge for me. But now here I was! In Houston! Texas! Wow! I had met some lovely Siesta Scripture Memory sisters down in the lobby of our hotel that I would be driving to the church with. :)  Isn't God amazing?! We all were so excited! God was already giving me new sisters in the Lord! ♥

I walked into the church where there was already a lineup for registration and so I walked over to the back of the line. As I set my purse down on the ground, I heard the words "Are you Lisa Braun?" I looked up with a
laugh bursting out...I couldn't wait to tell me daughter that I had been at one of the largest churches in Houston and someone recognized me! :)  She's told me that I can hardly go anywhere without knowing someone. Standing in front of me was a dear woman I had met on the Siesta Sister Scripture memory FB group page who was from South Carolina and now God was having us meet face to face! How precious was this!! ♥ After registration, she even got me a seat at the very front of the room with the stage right in front of us! I loved this dear lady already! There were 480 lovely Siesta Sisters in the room from different States and a handful were from CAN, me being one of them. It was so precious to meet some of the ones I've become friends with on FB while going through the Scripture memory challenge.

Beth Moore had a great word for us about
M - memory is an inestimable gift
E - erasing memories may seem the goal but reframing is what heals the mind
M - memory is the driving force of all relationships
O - ordered thoughts are the most accurately remembered
R - remembering is to revival what forgetting is to rebellion
Y - you have the power to put good into another person's memories
It was a lovely day to be here, to worship our Lord together, to hear a great word, to enjoy the sunshine on a warm Texas day and to make lifelong memories together. I made many new friends in Christ, which is the beauty of the Family of God, you can meet for the first time face to face or on FB and feel like you've known each other for years. There's nothing like having that common bond. We enjoyed having our lunch outside in the beautiful warm sunshine after having some group pictures done with Beth. I am thankful for the brief face to face interaction God gave me with her again and an opportunity to meet many of the Living Proof staff as well.

Everyone got to be in a group pic and this was ours by the photographer on location

Great word about MEMORY from Beth Moore and so wonderful to meet some FB friends face to face ♥
Meeting Siesta Mamma Beth & my FB friend Kimberly from Living Proof Ministries and enjoying great praise n worship
LOVE the candid group shot with precious baby, posting verses on the Scripture Memory Tree plus eating outdoors in the warm sunshine ♥ and meeting so many lovely Siesta sisters from across the States...SO blessed to be here!

About a year ago, I had gotten an email from a dear woman in Texas who came across my Israel blog when she was looking for some information about our Israeli Tour Guide, Arie Harel. We became instant friends and emailed for a bit and talked on the phone as well. She told me that if I was ever to come to Houston to give her a call. Well I did!!  We instantly reconnected on the phone and over email and met face to face when we went to Houston. :)  Isn't God amazing at how He brings people together!? I couldn't wait to meet Lynda and her dear husband and spend some time with them. We met Saturday night, after the celebration.

Lanier Theological Library grounds were beautiful to walk around in
After the celebration and a brief rest, we had a bite to eat and headed over to meet our new Texas friends Mike and Lynda Miller who invited us to attend a Lecture on Mount Sinai and the Red Sea Crossing. We were quite early to get a good seat :) and then took a walk around the grounds. So beautiful! Water birds of all kinds with a bridge going across a large pond and lovely walking trails. It was so incredible being here with them! I couldn't believe how God planned this time for us together and to come to this place!

Lanier Theological Library in Houston, Texas
The Lanier Theological Library is a great resource place for all students and scholars of the Bible and is located in Northwest Houston. The library is full of books, periodicals, historical documents and artifacts of church history and Biblical studies. They regularly host events with well known authors, lecturers and researchers. This is a place with serious tools for serious studies. A couple of my favorites was a replica of the scroll of Isaiah and also one of the first 200 copies of the Kings James Bible printed in 1611 as well as John Wesley's writings and Luther's works. Fascinating place!
It was so fascinating to be here for this lecture on the Red Sea Crossing and Mount Sinai. Both Roger and I have been at the traditional site of Mount Sinai and climbed it in the middle of the night so we could watch the sunrise at 6 am when we were in Israel/Egypt in November 2008 with our new pastor, Russ Wilson.

At a lecture of the Crossing of the Red Sea and Mount Sinai presented by host Mark Lanier, Stephen Moshier - Professor of Geology and James Hoffmeier - Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology
The Chapel that this lecture was held in on the Lanier Library grounds, is a reconstruction of a 500 A.D. church in Turkey, is in the shape of a cross and has beautiful images of stories from the Bible painted on its ceilings. It is such a beautiful building! Very blessed to be sitting in here with 100's of people and about 15 scholars from Denmark, Spain, Singapore, England, Israel and more. If you'd like to read up on their bio's, you can do so at that link. We had a rare opportunity to meet a couple of them face to face and speak with them. Wonderful men! I wanted to meet the one from England because my daughter is there now and we also met the one from Israel :)  So thankful God gave us this opportunity! This gave me such a new appreciation for our theologians, scholars, Bible translators and commentary writers. Thank You God for the gifts you've given them so we can study these amazing books!

Bayou City Fellowship Spring Branch meets at the Houston Christian High School Chapel
We attended church on Sunday morning at Bayou City Fellowship where Beth Moore's son-in-law Curtis Jones is the pastor at. They began this church in 2011 and have grown to 2 services each Sunday. A 2nd church plant was opened in Cypress in December 2013.  It was such a blessing to be here!

Bayou City Fellowship in Cypress currently meets at the Northwest Forest Conference Centre - such a beautiful location
Fellowship in this location began in December 2013. Pastor Curtis Jones gave an excellent message this morning. God blessed me with meeting the pastor's wife Amanda, who is also Beth's daughter. It was great to hear how they started Bayou City Fellowship and walk with her to where the kids meet for Sunday school in a building that is a replica of the Alamo. I loved sharing with her how the Patriarch study that we had taken in fall spoke to me. Beth had mentioned in that study that she had just sent Amanda and Curtis off to England for 6 months and how hard that was. Now 10 years later my daughter Alysha is in England for 6 months. It was a special moment to share with Amanda. :)  I was thankful for those few moments this morning with her.

Beautiful building and grounds of Living Proof Ministries in Houston, Texas
Sunday after lunch, we took a drive out to see where Living Proof Ministries was located. Our days were pretty full and it didn't fit into our schedule to get to the office when it was open, so we took the opportunity on this beautiful Sunday afternoon to go check it out. :)  What a blessing God has given Beth Moore and the staff of Living Proof Ministries when He provided this beautiful building and new location for their office location about 5 years ago.

Houston is the place of crazy freeways, home of the wealthy and also the homeless. While I was away at the Scripture memory celebration, Roger had a unique opportunity to speak with some of the homeless who were close to our hotel and to hear some of their testimonies. One person had told him of how they knew their purpose on earth was to tell as many people as they could about the God who loves them and can save them. Wow! May we know that our purpose is the same. It was a huge city to get around in and the freeways were massive and we were thankful for traffic that wasn't too crazy! :)  We enjoyed an outdoor patio for lunch in the sunshine where Roger had chicken fingers and waffles!!  Yes you heard right. Weird...but it was good! For supper we went to an amazing Mexican restaurant and we happened to eat at the very first Pappasito's that opened in Houston. Great food! Reminded me of Chi-Chi's. :)

Houston's First Baptist Church
Really enjoyed attending the 5 pm service at Houston's First Baptist Church where Beth Moore has taught Bible study for 29 years. It's massive, but not the largest church in Houston. I love visiting churches!  :) It was great to watch a few baptisms and to hear the testimonies of those being baptized. Blessed to be here!

At the Houston Space Center with our friends Mike and Lynda...so cool!!
When we had arrived in Houston, for some reason I started saying "Houston, we've got a problem" but I could not remember for the life of me, where I had heard that saying. So when we toured the Space Center, there is was right on the wall!! :)  It was so cool to tour this place and to see the space shuttle and the rockets up close. How amazing is it that man has been out in space and on the moon!!

Drove out to Galveston with Mike and Lynda to see the Gulf of Mexico! :)
What a great day for a drive to go step foot in the Gulf of Mexico! We ate at a lovely seafood restaurant where we could look out over the harbor. Loved setting my bare footprints in the sand and dipping my feet in the water. :)  What a great day we had with these friends that God gave us to....over email!! :)

At the Toyota Center to watch a Houston Rockets basketball game....definitely a highlight for Roger!
This was fun to end the evening with Mike and Lynda and watch a basketball game here in Houston! So fun! And to know as well that Beth Moore and other great speakers/teachers have had large women's conferences here as well. The Passion 2014 Conference with Louie Giglio, Beth Moore, Chris Tomlin, Frances Chan and other amazing speakers/musicians was here in February...so wish we couldn't been there!

Beautiful home of Mike and Lynda, our gracious hosts for a couple of nights...so thankful for this God-given friendship
What a beautiful morning we woke up to on our last day in Houston. Spending precious time with Mike and Lynda in their home and talk about God and Bible study and our families. So precious to have this sweet friendship that was completely God-given because of a simple email about an inquiry for an Israeli tour guide named Arie Harel. :)  LOVE it when God brings His people together through extraordinary means to bless our time here on earth with. So precious!! Love you guys! Lord willing, we will see you again. :)

Tuesday night Bible study by Beth Moore at Houston's First Baptist Church - 1st study of  Breath -The Life of God in us
I could hardly believe that I was here! How precious is it that God would ordain my time in Houston to be able to attend the opening night of Beth's newest Bible study called Breath - the Life of God in Us. Wow! After leading Bible study for over 20 years, this is a pretty sweet reward here on earth to be able to attend one of these studies rather than just watching it over a DVD. Can't wait for it to come out next year so that I can lead groups of women through it. :)  You can bet that we will! I'm thankful again, for my friend Lynda that God brought into my life. She has attended Beth's Bible studies and Sunday School classes for a few years and she was so gracious to bring me along to this Tuesday night Bible study. So so blessed to be here!

Another amazing thing is this:  Remember how at the beginning of our trip God had given me the Scriptures and words of His Breath/Spirit hovering over the earth and the pictures that He gave me? This is how He ended this amazing time in Houston as well...a Bible study on His Breath, His Spirit hovering over the earth. Beth had opened this study with that same passage of Scripture. So, I'd say this trip was completely ordained by God....wouldn't you say so too? :)  What an amazing God we serve!

On our way home, I was working on my Revelation study for Bible study that evening. Again, God was talking about His Spirit over the earth! :)  Then while we were driving home, He gave me another picture of a slight cloud cover with a beautiful sunset and snow covering the ground reminding me again of His Spirit hovering over the earth. God's love and Spirit encompass us all over, it never leaves us and never lets us down. Isn't that just amazing? :)  Our doggies were so happy to have us back home. It was an amazing time in Houston but it's always good to be back home too. I was so glad to be able to bring home a few gifts. I loved blessing my dear friend Lydia, who is battling cancer, a couple of gifts from the Scripture Celebration. Lydia had journeyed through the year together with me memorizing Scripture as well. So thankful for her!  Thank You God for this great gift of going to Houston....I'm so grateful! Help me to be a blessing to others just as so many have been to me. Thank you for the amazing women of God you brought across my path through Facebook and through this Scripture celebration and Bible study night. Thank You Thank You!!

1 comment:

Barb said...

Lisa you are an amazing women. These pictures and your words make me praise Jesus that much more.

Barb Wohlford