Thursday, October 29, 2009

Celebrate Jesus

Today I'm starting over in Comforts from the Cross, by Elyse Fitzpatrick. The women of Grace Church have been reviewing her messages together she gave at Gilbert back in April. They are just as outstanding as I remember and it has encouraged me to throw myself back into the Gospel and less on myself. How my soul needs to be reminded of it's truths.

"I think it's very easy for me to focus my attention on myself. I don't mean that I just sit around thinking about me and how wonderful I am (although I'm not about that!). No, I mean that I tend to focus my thought on my Christianity- how I'm doing, what I'm learning, how my prayer time was today, how I avoided that pesky sin or fell into it again. I think about what I'm supposed to accomplish for Christ, and I interact with others on that same works-oriented ground. But this day isn't about me at all. It's about him: his sinless life, death, resurrection, ascension, and reign and the sure promise of his return. It's the gravity of his life that should attract my thought toward him.

Plainly stated, let me encourage you to proclaim the gospel to yourself today and every day. Our poor burdened hearts are in such need of a gospel celebration. When you fail today, you need the comfort of this proclamation: he died for that very sin. Tell yourself about his death. When you feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities, remember that he is ruling sovereignly over every facet of your life, and soon he will return to right every wrong and relieve you of your trouble. When you wonder if you life will ever change, he wants you to remember that he is coming back and that this life as it is won't last forever. Make a proclamation! Celebrate! "I'm forgiven; he's paid the penalty for all my sin; he's my husband and soon he'll return to take me to our heavenly home!"

I pray today would be a celebration of the gospel!

Daukas Reunion


It've been a couple years since all four daukas brothers and their families have been together. This past weekend Chris' twin and family flew in from Seattle and stayed with us for the weekend. Saturday night we had everyone over to our house for Chili.

We had 9 kids 7 & under in our home! They did great too! We recently got a trampoline which has provided hours of entertainment for the kids. It was so fun seeing everyone together again.

We tried getting one of all the kids by themselves but that didn't work so well... so we threw the dads in :)

Just the Boys

Afterward dinner the kids decorated pumpkins:

Thanks again guys for coming over! Hopefully it won't be two more years till we're all together again :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


We've been doing a lot of this lately in our perfect 80 degree weather :)

gotta love craigslist!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Grace Church Update


Yesterday we finished 2 months of meeting together as Grace Church. I wanted to share some ways the Lord has been at work among us in our early days as a Church.

Here are a few highlights:

1. People are growing in their knowledge and understanding of the Gospel and love for their Savior. We have begun the Gospel of John as a church and each week we are left with such a high view of Jesus. He is over all and all of creation points to Him. The opening chapters with John the Baptist, He must increase and I must decrease. That is the prayer of so many, Lord increase in our lives! Help us to see Jesus more!

2. People have embraced having community with one another and doing life together in deeper ways. One book we went together as a team was Total Church. Although we may not agree with "everything" in that book it has deeply influenced how we live together in community. Every Sunday I make extra for dinner looking for people to invite over and most weeks I'll start asking people only to find they've already been invited over by someone else in the church! You've gotta plan ahead in this church if you actually want to have company. I have loved getting to know the people in our church and it's brought Chris and I so much joy to see them loving one another!

3. People are growing in their love for the lost. Each week we set out lemonade and water in the lobby of the Rio Vista with a sign that says "compliments of Grace church". Let's just say we have no shortage of people coming through getting drinks! There's a skate park right outside and lots of the youth come inside to cool off. Young and old, many conversations about church and the Lord are had around this table. Also last week one of our Grace Church community groups set out a lemonade stand out by the Rio Vista Park on a Saturday and the reports were hundreds of people coming through getting drinks and invite cards. One of our guys had an hour long talk with a man about the Gospel and Christanity. The Lord has given us new names of lost people to pray for through these simple means!

Growth in personal evangelism has also been really encouraging. We hear reports in our community groups of the gospel being shared with co-workers, neighbors and unbeliving family. Chris has meet a young guy at the gym while working out and the two meet up a couple times a week to workout together. We've had him over for dinner a couple of times and Chris has developed a friendship with him. We've invited him to church and he hasn't said no but he also hasn't come :) Pray that the Lord would save him! In addition many doors have been opened to get to know our neighbors better. We've hosted dessert for our blocks progressive dinner party and a bi-monthly playgroup will be starting up tomorrow! Pray that God would only increase our ministry to the Lost!

Thank you all for the encouragement and prayers that have been sent our way. It means so much to us. Let it be known we are having a blast!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Confessions of A Church Planters Wife


Church planting is thrilling, it's exciting, it's scary and sometimes it can try your faith. Ok, so sometimes it can try my faith. I think recently it's become more "real" that we've moved. I am thankful that I can visit my parents and friends without buying a plane ticket. But I've found that finding 2 1/2 hours of driving time in a day can also be hard to do. Especially in the midst of the demands of schooling and building new relationships here in the west valley, which is what I'm really called to be doing. So suddenly the thought, it's only a 1hr away, doesn't change the fact that Gilbert is no longer my home and well, there are days I still wish it was.

It's been about a year since the announcement of our church plant was made at our home church in Gilbert! Hard to believe. Since that time I've found fear and anxiety slowly creeping in. Suddenly I don't feel so secure. Even though the God I worship hasn't changed certainly something I had misplaced faith in did. And now I fear God would suddenly stop being God! "What if the church plant didn't succeed what would happen to us? We have three kids, a house payment!" What if, what if...

"Be Still and know that I am God"

I read recently that "Be Still" translates into "Be quiet". So I have fought to quiet my thoughts and dig deeper into finding my security and joy in Jesus alone. It's a fight some days I feel like I'm just beginning.

"if you have thrown your lot in with Jesus, everything he has is yours even the Kingdom itself. It would be impossible to ask for more!" Running Scared; Edward Welch

I think the number one question we get asked is "Are you growing?" This was brought to light again at our West Pastor's Retreat last week. It's a normal question. The very nature of church planting is adding to your number. We weren't a terribly big team to start with, so clearly for pure financial reasons we need to grow. But it doesn't help that this very question can reveal where I'm placing my hope. More people do not equal security. Each week I walk onto stage with the band and we begin our first song. Pretty much each week the fight in my head begins.

"Where are all the people? What happened to last weeks visitors, I thought they said they loved it and were coming back? No seriously... we have like 10 people here."

I worship and look at the hundreds of people outside of the Rio Vista Park and think how can we get all of them out there, in here?! Not so we can be a cool, happening, place, although I'm sure there's some of that in my heart but I know that God is a God who saves and I want to see his saving power displayed in our church! It's a battle and it's my battle. I've come to anticipate it, making it easier to fight but some weeks I'm weary of the fight and long for it to just go away. I know it's God's kindness that he won't let it "just go away".

"If your hope disappoints you, it is the wrong kind of hope. You see, hope in God never disappoints, precisely because it is hope in God. This means that hope placed in any other thing will always end up disappointing. When I place my hope in something, I am attaching my sense of well-being, identity, meaning and purpose to that thing in some way. In this way I "need" my hopes to become realities because I have connected my life to them" Quest For More; Tripp

"If your life is defined by how many of your little kingdom purposes you can realize, you will tend to be stressed, controlling, anxious, disappointed and fearful. You have defined your life by what you cannot control and by what God has not promised!"

"Bad things certainly can and will happen but there is a resurrection ending. So your task is not to transform into a superficial sunny optimist. It is to grow to be an optimist by faith. The kingdom is advancing, God's reign is spreading, there will be justice and when we belong to Christ, it will end with joy!" Welch

The result of my fighting looks like this. I want to see God glorified in my life and in His church, the bride of Christ. If God sees it best to glorify himself by building Grace Church in the west side then so be it. If not he will make his plan clear when the time comes. Whatever his will is will be good and His best for my life. In the meantime I want to come alongside my husband and faithfully serve. I do not live for Grace Church, my joy is not found in Grace Church and my life as a Christian will not be defined by the success of Grace Church. At the end of the day I can only live for God's kingdom that will come. I am an imperfect person, going on an imperfect church plant with more imperfect people BUT I have the promises of God from His word that he WILL perfect his bride (the church) on the last day. I praise God for these truths. His love and acceptance of me is not based on my performance. It is a love that was and is secured in the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

"Big kingdom hope is about entrusting my past, present and future, my identity, meaning and purpose, and my motivation for daily functioning to God and resting unafraid in him. Sure I will still face the disappointments of life in this fallen world. But, I will not panic, I will not run, and I will not quit, because my God is present even in my disappointment, and he will never change!" A Quest For More; Tripp

I will post a "real" update on Grace Church soon as there are many exciting ways in which the Lord is at work among us!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Garden Surprise

I've talked about starting a garden in the back yard ever since we moved in. We even had the place picked out in the side of the yard. The yard got finished and the space has just sat and sat. It grew a few weeds. Not exactly what I had in mind. It got too hot in the middle of the summer and it's been a crazy september. I had began to think that planting a garden would fall into one of those great ideas that I never find time to do.

Thankfully because of my wonderful husband and children this great idea no longer fits in that category. While I was gone he built me a garden, following the square foot method. He got me started with two tomato plants, one basil and I have LOTS more soil just waiting for seeds!! I'm so happy :) And the weather is just perfect outside for gardening!

My basil plant looks a little sad. I think it needs some basil company. Or it knows it's going to get eaten later that night...

So much potential!

Trevor got to start his own garden. A flytrap!

Here's hoping my thumb turns green!

A Retreat & A Wedding


This last week Chris and I attended a Pastor's & Wives retreat for the west in Gilbert. It was such an encouraging time of worship/teaching & fellowship! Then thursday morning my dad & I flew to Florida to see my cousin Chrystal get married! It was great catching up with relatives I haven't seen in over 12+ years. My Uncle Bob & Aunt Leah put us up and I enjoyed our late night conversations. My body never could adjust to the time difference so I probably kept them up REALLY late :) The jones' are always entertaining to be around...

Here's a picture of all three Jones boys! Been awhile since they've all been together. This one is definitely going to Grandma Jones who was unable to make it!

You can visit my photography site for more pictures from the weekend.

I came home to a wonderful surprise. More details to come!