New Hope Notes
Pastor Jon and Cyndi Burgess
It’s such a pleasure to be with you on this Mother’s Day weekend! We’d like to jump right into our Life Hacks series with a panel of women to share how they live out love every day through parenting and beyond. The first is Carol Ann who is a mom and grandmother of two. She was Pastor Wayne’s volunteer secretary for ten years and now serves with her husband Dan on the frontlines to pastors and leaders throughout Asia. Next is Erica who works in the accounting department at our church and is a single mom to her beautiful and amazing daughter Asha. She volunteers with her daughter and boyfriend on the Tech team. Next is Alyssa, a Navy wife and mom of three beautiful babies. She married her high school sweetheart, Jacob, and they have been stationed on Oahu since 2015. She is also the coordinator of our MOPS (Moms Of Preschoolers) ministry. The Lord is evident in her life, as she always has a huge smile no matter what is going on in her life. Last but not least is Tessie who has served in almost every ministry since 2000 at New Hope. She has served on many mission trips to Taiwan, Japan, China, and the Philippines. She has also served and mentored children at Camp Agape, a ministry for children whose parents are incarcerated. Since 2010, she has been working with Koahine, an island-wide women’s ministry. Although she has no biological children, she has invested her life into the lives of children intentionally mentoring the next generation. Our hope is that you will be encouraged through their answers to questions asked of them.
PASTOR CYNDI: Let’s start off with funny moments.
TESSIE: A while ago, while I was at another church, I went on an outing to Waimea Bay where all the kids were jumping off a high rock. Having a fear of heights, I declined to do so and waited on the side until two boys came up and said, “Aunty, Aunty, you got to jump off the rock. It’s so nice!” I replied, “No, I have a fear of heights!” They returned with a Bible verse, “Trust in the Lord.” “You have to trust us,” they said and I eventually jumped! We took a leap of faith together—trusting God and each other!
ALYSSA: I was at the Makapuu tide pools busy rocking my one-year-old when my four-year-old daughter said she needed to go the bathroom. So I said, “Go in the bushes behind you, where no one will see.” Well, I was unaware that she was doing number two and I ended up cleaning up with a doggy bag. Potty training can be really fun and exciting at times!
PASTOR CYNDI: Fifteen years ago Pastor Jon and I were at Kauai because Pastor Wayne had asked Jon to be the interim pastor. The church was at a school and all the boys did potty outside. One day, some teenagers ran up to me and said, “Aunty, aunty, Elijah is peeing on the slide!” I went outside and saw him proudly peeing down the slide because he did not have to use a diaper. I said, “Good effort, but there is a different place to potty!”
PASTOR CYNDI: The next question is, “How did God teach you about His love in raising your kids and grandkids?”
ERICA: God taught me how to love my child as well as what love is. I was married at twenty, had a baby at twenty-one, and divorced at twenty-two. This was a very difficult time for me and it took me down a very dangerous path. But this was the time when I got to know God and started clinging to His promises after experiencing His love!
TESSIE: I am thankful that God has used me as a mentor to those kids at Camp Agape for ten years; they love me for being real, honest, and genuine. I had asked God to help me show them His love, and to affirm my service if I am doing so as His servant. The answer came when I received this card from one of my angels. Aside from what the card said, she wrote, “Momma T, guess what. Happy Mother’s Day, Momma T! Thanks for always being there, listening, and being by my side when I needed someone. I prayed for months and months for someone to be there, to ask me what I want, and ask what’s wrong. Being there for me, telling me you love me, God answered my prayers and He gave me the perfect Momma in the world, and it is you! God is good all the time!”
CAROL ANN: When my grandson was four, he had difficulty breathing and had to be rushed to the hospital. Overwhelmed with fear, I started having panic attacks. Then I realized that my fear was connected to the loss that I felt from having suffered miscarriages early in my marriage. I cried out to God claiming Jeremiah 29:13 “When you seek Me with all your heart, I will be found by you.” I kept praying, and I heard the Lord clearly say, “Believe Me.” I chose to obey God and surrendered my grandson Caleb and my life to Him, and my panic attacks stopped! This is a legacy of love that I have tried to instill in my grandchildren—to surrender to God and to be obedient to Him. It’s a legacy of love because God’s love is unconditional, immeasurable, and forever!
PASTOR CYNDI: A final question, “Was there a moment when you wanted to give up and how did you find the strength to push through?”
ERICA: What got me through an abusive relationship was that I could not imagine my daughter living in this world without me! This motivated me to read the Bible more. What I read contradicted a lot of things that were planted in my head. I then realized what legacy I wanted to leave to my daughter.
ALYSSA: Because my husband is often away serving in the military, it can be stressful being left with my children all the time. However, God has always been faithful to us. He has blessed us with our island family, our military family, and my MOPS Ohana. It’s really nice to have their comfort!
PASTOR CYNDI: When my children were small, I remember being part of the YMCA in Seattle. I would check in all my kids and meet with a group of member girlfriends to either work out or to just relax. One day, while our kids were playing in the lobby this grandmother came up to me and told me that my children were one of the worst behaved children that she had seen and kept telling me why they were this way! My friend heard this and interjected that my kids were awesome, and they were just being kids— playing. My friend had my back and at that moment, she kept me from falling apart—that’s community! This is why it is so important to learn about God’s love in community.
Today, as a community of women we want to pray over moms, grandmothers, and aunties that are raising children. We also want to bless those who want babies but cannot have them.
PASTOR JON: Parenthood is an absolute representation of the love of God. This is where God shows His love the most. In Sunday school I was shown a tree with fruits that represented the Fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, forbearance, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, and self-control.
Let me show you what fruit can do to solve some of your household problems. You can rub lemon on you bathroom faucet to remove stains. Instead of using chemicals, you can rub lemon and kosher salt on your chopping board to clean it. Boil water and lemons in your microwave, and the steam enables the dirty areas to be easily cleaned. Grapefruit and salt can be used to scrub off shower rings. Rub a peeled onion on a hot barbeque grate to clean it. You can easily pick up shards of glass by pressing a piece of bread into them. All of these cleaning items are readily available in your house.
Also, in yourself (your house) you already have solutions to your everyday struggles. Over the next few weeks we will study spiritual solutions to everyday struggles called Life Hacks. We heard the first solution from these amazing women—Love. You have the Spirit of God inside of you, and God’s love resonates within you.
The Spirit of God will lead us to clean house. A lot of times we are so used to not walking in the spirit that we don’t even notice the trash or broken stuff in our house, our minds, our words or our actions. Sometimes we (my kids and I) because we are so goal oriented (moving from one thing to the next), we don’t even see the trash on the floor, and Cyndi has to point this out to us.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit, just like a good mom, will point out things that we need to get rid of. Galatians 5:18-25 says, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
I’m hoping that in the next couple of weeks, those of us who feel that we have been out of step with the Spirit will use Life Hacks (spirit-led solutions) to address our daily struggles.
If these life problems are not addressed, life will become divided and out of alignment. There is a building in Seattle half of which is labeled City Kitty, and the other half is labeled Caravan Kebab (Mediterranean, Indian, and European Cuisine). The problem is you don’t want to be picking fur out of your teeth while eating at Caravan Kebab. The Lord is saying you do not have to mix the Fruit of the Spirit with the acts of the flesh anymore.
Christianity in Japan is less than one-percent; therefore, when one says yes to Jesus, one says no to everything else. When I was in Japan at a church function, I asked if anyone would like me to pray for them. After one guy came up, and God was setting him free, a line formed of men and women also requesting prayer. Soon, all of the pastors came up to help pray because of the many people who wanted to be set free. Love creates a safe environment that allows one to feel loved and feel comfortable to be set free. Over the next couple of weeks, I hope you will know that New Hope is a safe place where you can to be real because you are loved here. This will allow you to be ready to be set free.