Freshwater Academy

Fresh Water Academy was founded in 2010. It is home to four lovely young ladies of learning and their dedicated teachers. Located in the wilds of Wyoming, the name Fresh Water Academy was chosen as a Western analogy to Christ. Just as He is the Living Water, and we must have Him to have eternal life, any desert dweller knows the importance of fresh water to life, both for self, and the nourishment of crops or livestock. By taking nourishment in God and His word, we strengthen our own relationship with Him, our faith, and the quality and abundance of our fruitfulness.

Our keystone verse is from Jeremiah, Chapter 17, Verse 8: "For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."

The fruit that we speak of is mentioned in Galatians 5:22
"22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

And the heat could be anything we experience that might test our faith in God; trials and tribulations, relationships, anything that focuses our love and attention anywhere but on Him...

Monday, July 30, 2012

"Hey God, I Got This"

What?  NO!  How many times have you thought or said that or something similar?  Have you ever thought that you could do it on your own?  And how much did it hurt when you figured out that you were wrong?  


A friend of ours gave his testimony the other day, and one of the things he mentioned was making the mistake of saying "Hey God, I got this."  And then he shared the pain, the heartache, the struggles that followed trying to do things on his own, rather than following the will of God.


I don't know about you, but I have never been known for my patience.  All through my life I have tried to rush things.  Assignments, friendships, trips, relationships, jobs, life changes...one thing I have learned through time and hurt, is that you cannot rush God's plan.  He has set things in motion, and they will happen, but on His timeline, not ours.


Isaiah 40:31

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Are you waiting on the Lord today?  Do you trust Him?  

Jeremiah 29:11-13
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

God has a plan for us.  He has a purpose for us.  And here's my favorite part of that series of verses.  I know that when I seek Him I will find Him, if I search for Him with ALLLLLLLLLLL of my heart.  

Are you searching for God's will with all of your heart today?  

They that wait upon the Lord
Shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings as eagles

They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint
Teach me Lord, Teach me Lord to wait


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We Live by Faith and Not by Sight

For we walk by faith, not by sight
2 Corinthians 5:7

Yes.  That song immediately came to my lips as well.  With my recently found information about sharing photos and videos, I am not going to post the video to the song, but I will tell you that it's called "One Way" and I believe it was written by Hillsong United.  I will post a link to their homepage, so you can find further information about the band and their music on your own if you are interested.  

One Way by Hillsong United


I lay my life down at Your feet
You're the only one I need
I turn to You and You are always there
In troubled times it's You I seek
I Put You first that's all I need
I humble all I am, all to You

CHORUS 
One way, Jesus
You're the only one that I could live for
One way, Jesus
You're the only one that I could live for

VERSE 2
You are always, always there
Every how and every where
Your grace abounds so deeply within me
You will never ever change
Yesterday today the same
Forever 'till forever meets no end

CHORUS(2x)
One way, Jesus
You're the only one that I could live for
One way, Jesus
You're the only one that I could live for

BRIDGE(4x)
You are the Way, the Truth and the Life
We live by faith and not by sight for You, 
We're living all for You

CHORUS(2x)
One way, Jesus
You're the only one that I could live for 
One way, Jesus
You're the only one that I could live for

I pray that I live this song each day.  As I walk through the world, as I teach my children, as we shepherd our family and interact with our community, I hope that people see that I live only for Jesus.  And by that, I don't mean that I am some glorious, amazing person, but that I hope my life shows He is the only one that I could live for, and that there is absolutely only ONE WAY!  

How are you living your life today?  When people look at you do they see that you've given your life to Christ?  

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth,
 and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:6

Monday, July 23, 2012

Be Steadfast, Unmoveable

I'm moping.  I'll admit it. And yes, I know I need to quit.  Get up, get over it, and figure out a new way.  That blog link I shared yesterday hit me pretty hard. 


(Here's a link to catch you up if you didn't catch yesterday's blog and have no idea what I'm talking about:  http://www.roniloren.com/blog/2012/7/20/bloggers-beware-you-can-get-sued-for-using-pics-on-your-blog.html#disqus_thread ).


It makes absolute sense that sharing copyrighted photos or work is wrong.  It is stealing, and I can't believe that I never even thought about it.  I actually don't post photos I found somewhere else on my blog, as far as I know I've only ever posted my own photos, but I use YouTube extensively, in fact, it's rather become my trademark.  Most of the channels I subscribe to are artists who post their work to share.  Things like New Song Cafe are "shows" that offer them the opportunity to explain the meaning behind the song, and give a tutorial on how to play and sing the song at their own worship services or at home.  But, as one of my friends pointed out, there is no way of knowing for sure.  So at this point, I'm in a quandry.  Part of me still wants to try to look for videos that are okay to share, and/or just post links to the original instead of posting it on my own blog, but at this point, knowing that I might be in the wrong, knowing that it would not be a good witness, I am going to look for another way, and most of all, I am going to pray about it.  


I know, recording my own YouTube videos for every song I want to use is an option...I think.  But then are you "stealing" the song?  Just because it's out there all over the place doesn't make it right.  So I only post videos of songs that I wrote...which is possible, but we don't have a huge collection right now.  I don't know.  Lots of questions, few answers, lots of information to be sifted through and dissected.



But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:57-58





Friday, July 20, 2012

For We Do Not Battle Against Flesh and Bone



For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:12

Our battle is not your everyday common garden variety brawl.  It's not with the bully down the road, or our friend we're mad at, or even the enemy forces across the valley.  Our fight is not physical, but more than that.  We wrestle with things both seen and unseen, thoughts, temptations and fears...

And who shall stop us?  Who shall stand in the way of God's servants?  The rulers of the darkness of this world will try, but God is more powerful than anything or anyone who would ever try to stand against Him.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.



Romans 8:37-39

Be vigilant, be alert, be prepared, but do not be afraid.  Christ is Lord, and we are forgiven.  My faith is on the Solid Rock and I'm Counting on God!






Monday, July 16, 2012

Guest Post - Haven of Rest Ministry

It's great to be back!  We had a wonderful and exciting week at Children's Camp, with several salvations, including two in our own cabin.  I will be sharing more insights from the week and passing on some of Pastor Quinn's wisdom, but today I wanted to share a guest post with you that was written by my friend Shannon.  It captures her voice so incredibly, that I can actually hear her voice as I'm reading it :).  


The Story of Our Church (so far)

Midwest/Edgerton Area Map From Google Earth
       To understand our church it is necessary to know a little bit about our community. Midwest and Edgerton are two small towns next to each other in the middle of Wyoming. The total population of both towns together is around 500 people. The nearest city to us is Casper, which is about 45 miles away. There is nothing but open prairie between here and there with a few people scattered around. In order to go shopping or to the doctor or whatever, everyone has to go to Casper.

       In our community we have a preschool to 12th grade school with less than 200 kids, a gas station with convenience store, a small hotel, two places for food and three bars. We used to have a small grocery store but it closed down in May 2011. The only real employment we have available is the oil field. Because of our isolation and lack of businesses for employment, there is much poverty in this town. The poverty leads to rampant drug and alcohol use as well as broken families. Those who do work either have to commute or work long hours to make ends meet. This leaves many children with little or no supervision due to parents being gone at work or as a result of apathy or depression caused by poverty.  Neither the average oilfield worker nor the poverty stricken are very open to the Word of God.

       This story begins in the early 2000’s. At that time there were three churches in this town. The Catholic Church had a circuit priest that would come through every month or so, but followed no regular schedule. Both the Baptist and the Methodist Churches were primarily older people who were content to sit in church and had no real interest in getting involved in the community. Many of the families that make up the church we have now tried to make do with that Baptist Church, but we were not satisfied. Some of us even tried to go to churches in Casper, but the time and money to drive almost 100 miles every Sunday made that almost impossible to keep up. 

       Then, slowly, things began to change. It all started with a home Bible study put on by a couple who had just moved into the area. They were not comfortable in either of the local churches, so they asked the pastor of Boyd Avenue Baptist Church in Casper to come up here to do a weekly Bible study.  So in the fall of 2001 the Boyd Ave. team made first contact with our community. They immediately recognized the problems we were facing and started a plan of action to do something about it. This went on for another four years. During this time they started taking our kids to the summer camp on the mountain and having Vacation Bible Schools in the park.  Finally, in 2005, they proposed to come to Midwest every week to hold a church service. Several families immediately embraced this idea so they worked out the details.

       In November of 2005 we had our first church service in the town hall in Midwest. We had our meetings at 3:00 in the afternoon on Sundays so that the pastor had time to come up from Casper; we have kept to that time since then. From there, things started rolling at an amazing pace (and they still are). In May of 2006 they hired for us our own pastor. Gary Cargill, along with his wife and three kids, moved to Wyoming from Oklahoma and we became our own church. At this time our mother church in Casper stepped back and let us walk on our own. They never left us completely. They have continued to offer guidance and financial assistance and keep involved and updated on what we were doing; but they let us make our own decisions and operate our church in the way that we are comfortable.
Our New Church Building
       Operating out of the town hall soon became an issue. We had to work around other events scheduled in the building and many people from the town thought it was wrong for a church to have regular use of a public building (even though we were paying rent). So we all (our church body as well as the church in Casper) started looking for a piece of land to build a church on. Again, this became difficult because nobody wanted a church built next to their house.
  
       Finally someone came up with the idea to approach the Catholic Church on the use of their building since it was very rarely used. By November of 2006 we were holding our meetings in the Catholic Church building with a plan in motion to purchase the building. This transaction went smoothly, mostly because the few Catholics left in town had no objection to it since they were used to having to go to Casper for church anyway. So, in May of 2007, the Catholic Church was deconsecrated and it officially became ours. This gave us the freedom to schedule Bible studies, potlucks Christmas and Easter special programs and other things. 

       On Wednesdays we had four different Bible classes: little kids up to 3rd grade, middle kids up to 6th grade, teens and adults. We had four steady families in the church at that time and about 15 kids, Pastor Gary taught the adults, his wife Cyndi taught the middle kids, and we still had people come up from town to teach the teens; but nobody was available to teach the little kids class full time so the rest of us took turns each week teaching that class. That is when we all really started working together as a team to get things done, and it has grown from there. None of us felt prepared or capable but we did it anyway and we all grew and were blessed because if it.

       In the meantime, there was no one left at the old Baptist Church and the building sat empty for quite some time. After a while, the last remaining members of the old Baptist church made the decision to donate the church building, along with the parsonage, to the Boyd Avenue church. In June of 2008 we took possession of the property and immediately knew that God had plans for its use.
The Haven of Rest and Parsonage
       Both buildings were in need of many repairs, so we started by fixing up the parsonage so that the pastor and his family would have a nice big house to live in without rent. Then we started making repairs on the church itself. We knew that this was meant to be a community center for the people of this town, a place where they would feel safe and welcome but without feeling the discomfort of going into an actual church. We had many ideas of how we should go about it. (We still have many plans for the future that have yet to be realized).

       After much prayer we all agreed that the first thing we needed to do was make a food and clothes bank to deal with the most pressing problems in our area. It took a lot of time and work and planning to make the building usable for this purpose but by October we were able to start distributing clothes. That summer and the next (and every summer since) missionaries from different churches around the country came and helped us do all the repairs that were needed and the prep-work to qualify as a food bank. We all worked together to do what was needed to get it ready. This is the time the kids started working as well, even the littlest ones did what they could to help out, and we have been working side by side with our children ever since. We don’t really think about it much but we get comments all the time, from community members as well as visiting missionaries, how amazing it is that the kids are willing do just as much work as the rest of us; but we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without those extra hands or if we had to set someone aside to watch kids. After a lot of work and dedication, prayer and praise, and willing help from new friends we opened our doors for our first food bank in July of 2009.

       We started off once a month but soon realized that was not enough, and so we started doing it twice a month. It was, and still is, a great success. On average we plan on having about 50 families each distribution night. That may not sound like very much at first, but look at the statistics. We have about 500 people in our community. Considering three people in the average family, that’s 150 people we feed twice a month- more than 25% of the population of our community! Think about 25% of any other community showing up regularly to a church sponsored event; the Hand of God is doing mighty works in this area.

       We don’t just give them boxes of food: we always provide a hot meal, have a short prayer or devotional time before we start, and always have people available to listen to those in need. We have a few new regulars at our church because of this program, which is good, but what is really amazing is the fact that we have several volunteers, who show up and help every time the doors are open, that never go to any church at all.

       In July of 2011 our Pastor and his family were called away to a different mission field in Kansas. We were all very sad to see them go, and we weren’t sure how we would continue on. We found that with the support of our mother church and our dedication to what we had started, we were able to continue. The church in town sends someone out to preach for us every Sunday, but for the most part we have been able to continue Gods work on our own. We are still searching for a new pastor, and we eagerly await the day that God sends the one he has chosen for us. In the meantime we have found that working together and focusing on His will makes anything possible. We have all grown closer to each other and closer to God through this time of transition.

       Our newest venture, on which we have spent many years in prayer and preparation, just started at the beginning of this summer. On Friday afternoons we have started a kid’s activity night. We have pool tables, board games, video games, puzzles, prizes and more. We go and pick up the kids who need a ride and take them home afterwards. We provide them with a hot meal, cold drinks and other snacks, all at no charge. The most important thing, though, is that we all play with the kids - we don’t just stand back and watch.  The main purpose for this, besides giving them a safe place to play, is to get to know them, give them the chance to get to know us and show them that someone really does care about them.

       That is a summary of where we are and how we got here, but this is certainly not the end of the story. God willing, it’s just the beginning……….

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kids' Camp

As I prepare to head off to camp with the kiddos, I just was flying around the house trying to get things accomplished with impatient children at every turn.  It came to my mind, that even though I had taken the time to pray and read my Bible this morning, I knew that they hadn't had a chance, and perhaps I needed to again, so today I leave you with a song that's recently been on my heart.



And if we are spending enough time with Jesus, then we will also show Him through our lives, so just to remind you with this song!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Do You Still Stand?

Do you still stand for the National Anthem?  I do.  And I think it is an important sign of honor and respect for our country, our flag, and our service men and women who are out there serving for what that flag represents, and it shames me when I look around at an event, at the park, at the parade, when I hear it on the radio, and I see people who are not standing when they hear those familiar notes or see the flag passing by.

Then I think of all the times when I haven't stood for Christ like I should have.  I know that it's my job, my duty, my calling and my commission to stand for Him.  But I also know there are times I haven't.  Whether it was in my conduct or my speech, or not taking the opportunity to share Jesus when it was presented to me, there are times when I have failed to Stand.

I told my girls just this morning, that I know they're not perfect, and in fact I'm not either.  We do the best that we can to follow God's will, and ask for His forgiveness when we stumble, take His hand, get back up, and try again.  But when it comes to not speaking up for Jesus when I should, well that one is hard for me to let go and let God.  It weighs on my soul that I can look back at times in my life and see where I could have shown or told someone about the love of Jesus, and that I not only missed the opportunity, but I may have hindered someone else's.  

One of the biggest things that I struggle with, is timidity and fear.  I don't know why, I have the most powerful, wonderful, amazing Creator of the Universe on my side, just waiting for me to step into His light and share.  But that is something I pray for each day, as Paul says in Ephesians, that I may speak boldly as I ought to speak, to make know the mystery of the gospel.

Ephesians 6:18-20
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, 
and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, 
that I may open my mouth boldly, 
to make known the mystery of the gospel,

20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds:
 that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Do you stand?  What do you stand for?  Or, more importantly, WHO do you stand for? Are there times you look back and wish you would have done it differently?  What can you change now, so that will be different?


Stand, and speak boldly the message of Christ, Until the Whole World Hears.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

True Grit

Yep, I know it's the title of a recently remade John Wayne movie (and no, I'm not going to get into a debate about Jeff Bridges vs. the Duke), but what is "Grit"?  And I am not talking about grits that go on the breakfast table, or gritty sand between your toes.  I mean actual, real, "True Grit".  Merriam-Webster defines it as firmness of mind or spirit, and unyielding courage in the face of danger.  Determination, perseverance and follow-through are more words that comes to mind when we talk about grit.  I think my favorite is determination, and I wanted to share an example of true determination with you.  

The young man in this video is Cody Ohl.  Cody is a six time world champion calf roper (which is now called  tie down roping in this politically correct day and age). I'm not showing you this video so that you can ooh and ahhh over Cody's athletic skill and ability (though he quite an athlete), but because I consider this one of the neatest examples of determination and grit that I have ever seen.  He didn't need to win this round, he didn't even need to place in this round, he was so far ahead in the standings.  He just didn't have the ability to quit. 




Now I will admit that I do not have that kind of grit most of the time.  When I tore my ACL trying to climb on to the horse, I didn't hop up and continue on my ride.  Thankfully my dad's sweet tempered horse stood there and let me use him for a climbing stool while I climbed to my feet, but continuing on that mission was the last thing on my mind.


There are, however, times that we should have grit and determination.  That we should not quit, that we should never give up.  When I think about Biblical perseverance, continuing to share the gospel against all odds, and bringing the message to all people, the example I think of is the apostle Paul.  


Before I get you really confused, I am not comparing Cody Ohl to the apostle Paul.  I don't even know if Cody is a Christian. I was just using this great modern example of determination.  


Paul wrote epistles, or letters, to numerous churches of the time.  These letters endure today, full of godly wisdom about how to live and what God's will is for us as followers of Christ.  One trait that he discussed time and time again was perseverance, diligence, endurance, steadfastness, sometimes even patience.
In Galatians 6:9 he tells us not to be weary in well doing, for the crop will eventually come if we don't quit (I've included the actual Bible verses below).


Paul talks about this concept in other books of the Bible as well.  Romans 5 mentions that we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know it builds our endurance, and thus our character, which in turn gives us hope.  As soldiers of Christ, we will endure hardness, and all that will live godly in Christ shall suffer persecution (2 Timothy 2:3, 11).


I love Paul's attitude and the fact that he never quit.  Even when he was a bad guy, he was gung ho, never say die, fighting for what he believed in.  How much more so then, when he became a follower of Christ, and  knew that he was sharing God's saving grace with all of the people that he was able to reach.  It was hard, it was tough.  The man was put into prison, he was stoned (and I don't mean that it today's narcotic terms), he was beaten, he was shipwrecked three times, he was whipped, and he truly knew what it meant to endure (2 Corinthians 11:23-33).  I love that his attitude is, "Yeah, it gets tough.  Suck it up and get the job done."


Check yourself today.  Are you continuing on in God's work?  Do you persevere in the face of trouble, pain, or discouragement?  God has the encouragement and direction you need to continue on the course he's set for you.  Open your Bible and see what God has to say about perseverance, diligence, endurance, and even patience. And continue to do the work that God has called us all to do.

Bible Bibliography


Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.



Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.


2 Corinthians 11:23-33


23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.



2 Timothy 4:5


But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.



Monday, July 2, 2012

You Are So Much More...

2 Corinthians 5:17-21



17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.


Do you know who you are?  Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today?  

It's totally up to you.  But you are more than you think you are.  You are more than what you have been, or what you can be on your own. 

You are a child of God, a special creation of the Creator of the Universe.  He loves you, and He wants to be there for you.  To comfort you through those times, to give you strength, to fill the emptiness within.  


This is not about what you've done
But what's been done for you
This is not about where you've been
But what your brokenness brings you to

This is not about how you feel
But what He felt to forgive you
And what He felt to make you loved

You are more than the choices that you've made
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes
You are more than the problems that you create
You've been remade
You've been remade




Don't you know who you are?

Sharing the Giveaway today

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