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Monday, June 29, 2009

Knowing You Jesus

Hal, our Senior Pastor at Northside, is currently preaching through the book of Ephesians. I am so thankful to be serving alongside and sitting under the ministry of such a sound expository preacher/pastor! Yesterday, Hal continued teaching from Ephesians 1:17-20. He has two main points centered in this passage:
The primary purpose of prayer is to know God.
The primary vision of prayer is to enjoy God's blessings.

He explained more on the second point yesterday. First, soak in these words from the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:17-19:

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father,
may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order
that you may know the hope to which He has called you,
the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints,
and His incomparably great power for us who believe.
That power is like the working of His mighty strength."

Hal developed the second point, the primary vision of prayer, in three ways:
  1. A joyful realization of our calling. One of the most important things we can pray for ourselves and our loved ones is that they will "know the hope to which He has called you". The word hope in the original Greek is "elpis" and means hope, expectation, prospect. It is not the kind of flippant hope we sometimes think of such as "I hope it doesn't rain today". The hope we have been given as Christians is a certainty. Some of the things to which God has called us to that Hal pointed out are: To be Holy and Blameless people of love, to live as the adopted children that we are, and to live for the praise of God's glory.
  2. A joyful expectation of the riches of our inheritance.
  3. A joyful demonstration of His power toward us who believe.
Please pray for Hal and his wife Mamie. Hal will be leaving on July 9th for China where he will spend about 6 weeks. Petition the Father for Hal's protection, health, travel safety, and something for him to eat! Ha Ha! He doesn't particularly favor Chinese food! Pray for Mamie while he is gone as communication with Hal will be limited outside of emergencies.

So you will have a face to go with your prayers, here is Hal with our family on JennaBeth's Parent-Child Dedication Day at Northside.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pump it up!!!

The last day of SonRock Kids Camp was an adventure! After the VBS portion of the day, the kids were supposed to go to a local water park, Sunsplash. Well, a little thing called rain messed those plans up. The kids were really disappointed. However, this
cured what was ailing them! We had to find an alternate activity for them and this seemed the most logical thing, so here are a few pictures from the day.

Here is Cecily with Christina sliding down one of the huge inflatable slides. Christina and her family not only go to church with us, but they are also neighbors.
And of course, Bentley could not miss out on all the fun. After all, he thinks he can do anything the big kids can do.
I was a little concerned when we first walked in the place. Everything looked so huge. I don't know why I waisted even half a second worrying about this boy! He had no trouble conqering the place!
All the kids had an awesome time. It was a really good place for them to burn off some energy.
Here is Bentley (in the yellow/black shirt) on the rock wall. He didn't skip a beat on it. He climbed up the wall and then came down the big slide on the other side with no problem at all. I bet he climbed this thing 25 times!!! He was asleep in the car before we were out of the parking lot!!
Even JennaBeth got in on the action. We were there for two hours and she never closed her eyes. There was too much for her to see. She never fussed one time while we were there. This is Dawn our Senior Pastor's secretary. She was sweet to let JennaBeth hang out with her while I chased Bentley some and took pictures.

The whole week was really a good time for the kids and the adults who worked with them. Although we had some rather "energetic" kids, it really was a joy to make this investment of time and love into their lives. Pray for us that in the weeks to come we will be able to minister further to the kids and their families.

Tomorrow I want to recap some of Hal's (our pastor) sermon from this morning. But for now I'd like to share the words from the song that Mike sang this morning. Be blessed!

I have a shelter in the storm
When troubles pour upon me
Though fears are rising like a flood
My soul can rest securely
O Jesus, I will hide in You
My place of peace and solace
No trial is deeper than Your love
That comforts all my sorrows

I have a shelter in the storm
When all my sins accuse me
Though justice charges me with guilt
Your grace will not refuse me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
Who bore my condemnation
I find my refuge in Your wounds
For there I find salvation

I have a shelter in the storm
When constant winds would break me
For in my weakness, I have learned
Your strength will not forsake me
O Jesus, I will hide in You
The One who bears my burdens
With faithful hands that cannot fail.
(Steve and Vicki Cook, Bob Kauflin - Sovereign Grace Ministries)


Saturday, June 27, 2009


I just joined Technorati (wp27d4utme). That crazy code verifies this is my blog. Kinda weird, but I'm following directions so my blog will be part of this website. Anyway, I am about through playing on the computer for the night. Tomorrow I will recap SonRock Kid's Camp in pictures. It was a great week!!

Praying all of you have a blessed day in worship tomorrow!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Four Months Old

JennaBeth Grace McIlwain turned four months old on Tuesday the 23rd.
What's happening at Four Months:
  • Sleeping 10 to 12 hours a night
  • Drinking 6 oz. of formula every three hours
  • Laughing, especially at some of her big brother's antics
  • Has aquired the nickname, Funky Monkey
  • Weighs 13 lbs. and 10 oz and is 25 inches long
  • Loves to be rocked to sleep at night
  • Loves, loves, loves her bouncy seat (Thank you Moody Family!)
  • Likes to be outside and on the go

I can't believe how fast four short months have passed! She is growing up so fast! I am trying to soak up every little moment. Like I posted a few days ago, I am learning to enjoy these times and not just endure my days. Instead of wishing a particular stage for Cecily, Bentley and JennaBeth to be over so life will be a little easier, I want to be thankful for the special blessings with which God has graced mine and Mike's life and love them well. And as challenging as some of these days are with a pre-teen, preschooler and infant, I know that some day I really am "gonna miss this".


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

SonRock Kids Camp

We have had an awesome week so far with the kids camp at our church. We have about 20 kids coming each day. Here are a few pictures so far from this week.

Pastor Hal sharing with the some of the younger kids during the missions time.

Cecily (3rd from the left) with her class and our Pastor's wife, Mamie. Cecily has really taken the initiative to learn the songs and motions so that she can help her daddy teach them each day.
Bentley and his friend Caleb building "tall towers".
JennaBeth with one of her "fill-in grannies", Ms Jane. This sweet lady is also a member of my Senior Adult ladies Sunday School class that I teach.
Bentley, Seth, and Nicholas during snack time.

It really is a great time when the word of God can be shared with children. You never know what seeds are being planted and the impact these times will have on them. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 55:11, " is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." We are praying that the seeds of God's word will fall on fertile ground in the lives of the children this week and will one day flourish by the work of the Holy Spirit in lives lived for the Lord.

Here are a few pictures from the weekend.

Here are the kids on Father's Day getting ready to give their cards and things to daddy.
They just couln't take it any more!!!

Quite frankly neither can I! It has been up and out of the house really early everyday, so I think I am off to bed now. Good night and don't let the bed bugs bite!!


Monday, June 22, 2009

Busy Week Ahead

Hey ya'll! I hope everyone's week has gotten off to a good start. We were blessed with a great Father's Day yesterday. We started the day started off worshiping with our church family at Northside. Our pastor, Hal Wynn, is currently preaching through the book of Ephesians. Yesterday's passage was Ephesians 1:17-20. He spoke about the primary purpose of prayer being to know God. He shared, "The purpose of prayer is not to change your circumstances but to change you." That really spoke to me, because many times the focus of my prayers are to change this or change that about my life. Hal also made the point that the Sovereignty of God doesn't excuse prayer, but makes it possible.
Have you ever thought about what the burden of prayer is? It is found in Eph. 1:18,
"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order
that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the
riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints."
That's powerful, the burden of prayer is that we and those we pray for may know the hope to which Christ calls us!

We began SonRock Kids Camp at church this week. The week will consist of Vacation Bible School in the morning and Day Camp in the afternoon. I am helping in the nursery, watching the VBS workers kids. We are praying that the rain won't hinder some of the outside activities planned. I will have plenty of pictures by the end of the week!!

Well, I have a sweet baby girl that says it is time to rock and go to sleep. Mike sang "God Moves" yesterday in the worship service. It was written by William Cowper in 1774. Let the words challenge, comfort, and encourage you today.
  1. God moves in a mysterious way
    His wonders to perform;
    He plants His footsteps in the sea
    And rides upon the storm.
  2. Deep in unfathomable mines
    Of never failing skill
    He treasures up His bright designs
    And works His sov’reign will.
  3. Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
    The clouds ye so much dread
    Are big with mercy and shall break
    In blessings on your head.
  4. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
    But trust Him for His grace;
    Behind a frowning providence
    He hides a smiling face.
  5. His purposes will ripen fast,
    Unfolding every hour;
    The bud may have a bitter taste,
    But sweet will be the flow’r.
  6. Blind unbelief is sure to err
  7. And scan His work in vain
  8. God is His own interpreter
  9. And He will make it plain.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Brag Alert and Some Video

Grandparents, this is especially for you. I think a baby girl has found her voice.

Also, I am very proud of my eleven year old, Cecily! I had to go to Wal-Mart and get groceries; my most favorite thing to do on a Saturday:( When I got back, now listen to this, Cecily had vaccumed, dusted, swept and mopped the kitchen floor, and unloaded the dishwasher. And she had watched over her little brother and sister as well!!! But not only am I proud of her for those things. Cecily is really growing into a beautiful young lady. She is growing spiritually and her heart for the Lord is really shining forth.

Praying everyone of you have a blessed Lord's Day tomorrow!


Friday, June 19, 2009

Doctor's, Haircuts, Shopping....Oh My!

Bentley and Ms Jessi

Here is JennaBeth with her pediatrician, Dr. Ritrowsky

Today has been a busy day in the McIlwain home, or outside of it I should say! We started the day with JennaBeth's four month checkup. She weighs 13 lbs. and 10 oz. and is 25 inches long. She also got three shots today but really was a big girl! She only cried for a few seconds. Of course big sister Cecily was there to hold her hand. Dr. R was very impressed with her development so far and says she is right on track.

Next, it was off to get haircuts for me and Bentley. A sweet girl who goes to church with us and is our nursery coordinator cuts our hair for us. Bentley refers to her as "my Ms. Jessi". She has done a good job of getting Bentley to sit still for his haircuts. It's called "the bribe". If you ask him where Bob the Builder toys come from he will tell you, "You don't get them at the store. You get them from Ms. Jessi."

Our next stop was Toys R Us. Bentley had some left over birthday/Christmas money that was burning a hole in hole in his pocket. He purchased two Light Sabers so he and "big tister" could play Star Wars the Clone Wars. And may the force be with us!!! We also made a stop by BJ's Wholesale Club and purchased 264 diapers and 1,064 wipes! Anyone want to donate to the diaper/wipe fund?

After a busy day, we were able to enjoy a nice supper together at the Golden Corral in Punta Gorda. We were blessed with a financial gift and were told to take the family out to eat and did we eat!! JennaBeth just sat in her carseat and "talked" the entire time. She has really found her voice.

"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is establishd; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Proverbs 24:3-4


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Enjoying Versus Enduring

Cecily and some friends after 5th grade graduation


"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice
and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:24

Since the birth of JennaBeth in February of this year, I have found myself overwhelmed in my job as a mother. Mike and I now have three children, ages 11, 3, and 4 months. All three children are at distinctly different stages: preteen, preschooler, and infant. I get to the end of each day and find myself wondering if I have mothered and loved each one well and met their needs in a God honoring way. Sadly, I'm afraid many days I have simply endured my day rather than enjoyed the special blessings God has given me in my children.

I follow the "GirlTalk" blog that Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters author. Some months ago one of Carolyn's daughters shared the verse from Psalm118:24. She was writing about her experiences as a mother of small children. She shared something that I try not to forget. As a matter of fact, I have what she shared written in my Bible by the verse in Psalm 118. Carolyn's daughter shared how she had begun to look at the "interruptions" during her day as "sovereign deliveries" from a loving God seeking to mold her into His image.

My prayer today is that I will not miss a thing God would have me to experience and learn about Him and the way I should love and serve my family. This is the day my Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him." Psalm 127:3

I am new to the "bloggy" thing, but I am going to go ahead and jump in with both feet. My family and I live about 14 hours away from our extended families. So, this blog will serve the primary purpose of keeping our families up to date on the daily happenings in the McIlwain home. No telling what else may pop up here, so keep coming back. And be patient with me as I learn how to do this well.