Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Singing the Praises of...Tyndale Rewards

Tyndale Rewards is a program that I love and want to share with you.

Tyndale is a Christian book company & Tyndale Rewards is a program what you can earn points through activities and then "cash" in your activities for real (i.e. tangible) books.

Ways to earn points (consistently, each week or month):
1. Send a Tweet, or 5! 5 tweets a month equals 50 points a month!
2. Review a book. You can submit 5 Tyndale book reviews a month for a total of 50 points. You can review the same book on Tyndale.com, Amazon.com, Christian book distributors, etc.
3. Join the Focus Group for 25 points per survey answered. *Note: Surveys are very rare to get.*
4. Refer friends with your own special link. Your friends will start with 25 points & you will get 10 points per successful friend referral. 

Ways to earn points (1 time only)
1. Sign up with the link above. You'll start with 25 points & I get 10 points for referring you.
2. Take the Bible Survey for 15 points.
3. Sign up for the e-newsletter or e-devotional for 10 points (total, not per devotional).
4.  Take the e-reader survey for 10 points.
5. Join the Birthday Club for 15 points AND get a free downloadable on your birthday.

I've been a member of Tyndale Rewards for just over a 1 year now. In this year+, I have "bought" 13 books. Some for myself, some for Christmas presents. I earned an average of 70-ish points each month to "buy" 875 worth of points. It is possible to earn 100 each month by sending tweets and writing reviews.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Refine me, Lord

Refine me, Lord.
Through the fire, refine me.
Through the pain of burning dross, refine me.
Through eradicating my ungodly habits & interests, refine me.
Refine me Lord.
Replace my self-centeredness with You-centeredness.
Replace my desire for more stuff/money/security with a desire for more generosity & eyes for Your people.
Replace my complacity with passion.

Silence me, Lord.
Silence the songs, the shows, the lectures, the memes, the traffic, the books, and the noise, so I may hear You.

Refine me, Lord. Remove my barriers of protection & defense.
Remove my safety mechanisms & masks.
Uncover my secrets hidden in the dusty corners.
Then show me Your Love.
Show me my ugly parts & burn them away.
Cut them out.
Implant Your characteristics & desires.

Replace my worldly desires with Your heavenly desires.
Replace my time-wasting activities with God-fearing, God-pleasing ones.
Open my eyes beyond myself, my problems, my family/church/job, to the lives of my brothers & sisters around the world.
Help me to be faithful in prayer to lift up the needs of the persecuted church & the church suffering from apathy.
Bring unity among all believers, an unity that transcends gender, political party, denomination, opinions, and nation.

Reawaken our desire for Your word & to know Your will.
Help us to desire, not the comfortable wealth & opulence of the American church, but to live Your words out.

Help us to see the need for change, to desire it, & to embrace it.
Help us to speak words of encouragement, support, & love to each other.
Heal the hurts we have inflicted on each other; fill us with remorse for causing these hurts.
Give us courage to seek out reconciliation.

Thank You for Your word, Your Son, Your grace, Your mercy, & Your salvation.

Help us to seek fellowship, community, & a life different from the world's.
Replace worldly desires with Godly desires.
Replace greedy consumerism with generosity.
Replace selfishness with selflessness.
Replace hate with Love.
Replace fear with peace.
Replace mindlessness with mindfulness.
Replace me with You.

Written prayers from BCM's Light the Fire event (Feb. 22nd, 2014)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Nicaragua!!

Every 90 days, we must leave Costa Rica for 72 hours to renew our visas to stay for another 90 days. After our first 90 days, we visited family Stateside for Christmas, but after this 90 day set, we went to Nicaragua from April 1st-4th.

Our travel days took a LOT longer than we expected, partially due to delays at the borders (we had to go through border crossings on the Costa Rica & Nicaragua side). On Monday, after a 5 hour bus ride in Costa Rica, we were at the borders & after a total of 9 hours on the bus/at the border, we were in Rivas, Nicaragua. It was a little stressful for us at the borders, because this was our first time leaving/entering countries by land. We were very thankful for the forewarning that the bus employees probably would take our passports & entry/exit taxes and take them through customs, because one is generally taught to not let their passport out of sight! However, the bus's way of doing things certainly sped up the process.

Once we were in Nicaragua, the pastor who was to meet us was nowhere in sight (it turns out our bus was more than 2 hours late to Rivas). But one of the local taxi drivers, after learning that we didn't need a taxi since we were waiting for our friend, lent us his phone so we could call our Nazarene pastor. Instead of taking us straight to the hotel, the pastor took us around town to show the Nazarene district office, the Nazarene school we'd be working at, a gas station we could get lunch at, the beach (of a freshwater lake with an island with 2 volcanoes & 2 Nazarene churches on it), a Nazarene Bible institute, and then our hotel. He even had us over to his home for a supper of pizza & gallo pinto (rice and beans) with his family.


We didn't exactly know what we would be doing in the school until we got there. We visited preschool through 6th grade, teaching English songs or sentences depending on the age level. 3rd grade through 6th grade LOVED "Head and shoulders, knees and toes" and during recess, they would practice it. We also taught the chorus of "Jesus loves me", "My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty", and "I love you in the love of the Lord." We hit all 7 grades over the 2 days.


While the return trip was long, hot, and full of delays, it was really a blessing & an answered prayer in disguise. We had to leave Costa Rica for 72 hours (3 days), but we didn't realize that it would take 5 hours to leave Costa Rica. Initially our bus was going to reach the border at the 69-hour mark. It picked us up over an hour late from Rivas (70-hour mark) and we were delayed 2 hours at the Nicaraguan border (mechanical problems) (72-hour mark). At the Costa Rica border, we got our passports stamped for another 90 days after 72 hours and 15 minutes. (In our next trip we will add in more travel time so we won't need such drastic measures).