Popular Posts

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Without Delay

" Get in the car" my husband said as I opened the door to his shiny silver Hyundai. Nearing the end of a long day at work, I reflected on the relatively uneventful nature of my birthday. I walked up the stairs to find my husband eagerly awaiting my arrival so he could unveil his surprise. "But, what about my car?" I said, hands juggling my coat and purse. "Just get in". Before I could say another word, we sped away, destination unknown. I got in, expecting my children to erupt in cheers and happiness, but their silence became deafening as I noticed their absence. " They are with my parents", he said. " But where are we going?" I inquired. "You'll see." We drove about twenty minutes and pulled into the parking lot of our favorite restaurant. " Is this ok?" " I shook my head in approval, embarrassed at my anger at him only hours before for failure to plan anything special.
It was obvious to me as soon as i saw him he wanted me to hurry up and do what he asked me to do because something wonderful was awaiting me.
It is so easy for me to move quickly when I know something will benefit me- going to a favorite restaurant, scoring some extra spending money or a little extra morning shuteye. But, how quickly do I move when I know I'm going to have to sacrifice something or lose something of importance?
Mark 1:19-20 says "When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him."
What strikes me about the passage are the words " without delay." Jesus, James and John all saw an opportunity before them and took it, they never stopped and thought about the cost or sacrifice that might await them. They didn't take a moment to pray about it, or weigh out the pros and cons of their decision. Jesus saw two men who He believed was good soil to glorify His father's name, and James and John left a comfortable job and life to become more like a man they knew very little about.
How much more knowledgeable are we? We've read the Scriptures, combed the commentaries and sung all the hymns in the hopes of becoming a fraction more like Jesus.
How quickly do you answer Jesus' call to follow Him? Do you hesitate, or do you go without delay?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Beauty of Surrender

Being sick in bed today, although disappointing, has its perks. It has allowed me to watch a lot of daytime tv, which helps me alleviate the stress of working with small children. I turned on the tv to see the Anderson Cooper show, a program I didn't even know existed until this morning. Anderson had on a behavioral therapist to help him deal with his greatest fears: heights and bugs. The therapist tired an exposure therapy approach to his fears, asking him to conquer his fear by facing it head on. His advice to his audience was to " surrender" to the fear like Kevin Costner in the movie Dancing with Wolves. He also said that as a society, we are more fearful than ever, given the abundance of fear based information available at our fingertips.
I had to wonder, however, how can we really conquer any fear without Christ?
Philippians 4:6-7 addresses this very thing: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
God teaches us that the essence to peace is really in our surrender to the Holy Spirit. I know I have wrestled with anxiety and depression for years, but when I have surrendered my control to God and trust that He knows what is best, I have achieved the peace God wants for me. To truly know God means to know him not only in my mind, but in my heart. Knowledge without action does nothing to achieve transformation but only gives me more information. The key to transformation is in my willingness to surrender.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

sneakers to the service

Awoken by a sharp shooting pain in my right foot early Sunday morning, I debated whether or not to attend Sunday morning service. I peered through my closet for shoes to wear: shoe after shoe that looked great on the outside, but only maximized my pain on the inside. I glanced at the floor to find one alternative: my one pair of sneakers.
I knew all of my friends would stare at me if I wore ugly looking sneakers into the sanctuary, but I could not fathom shoving my foot into a cute but useless heel. I put on my sneakers, once pearly white and now stained with the day to day wear of everyday life, hopped in my car and prepared for embarrassment.
When I entered the cream colored sanctuary, I saw every other woman dressed to the nines in their neatly pressed dresses, while I dove into the nearest inconspicuous chair and sat down. I leaned forward to get a look at the line of shoes in my row: pristinely polished shoe after shoe lined the floor. And then there was me, wearing those once bone white street shoes, now sprinkled a light chocolate brown. Wringing my hands and wiping my sweaty palm on the chair next to me, I opened them up in worship to my Savior.
Instead of trying to fit into uncomfortable shoes and making a favorable impression, I chose not to pretend to be anything more than what I was: hurting and in pain. I may have not been the most popular woman at my church that day, but I didn’t care. I merely came to a savior who knew my pain and loved me anyway.

Matthew 11: 28-29 says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” I needed to come to Jesus just as I was, and pretend to be nothing less. He could handle my stained sneakers. Jesus only asks me to come to Him, and He lovingly gives me His yoke, one of comfort, peace and contentment. All I had to do was ask.

Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand gifts says “That which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond. To him. To the God whom we endlessly crave.”

God delights when you come to him as you are. Are you willing to come to Him?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Reflective Glory

I have been taking a class in personnel management and as we have explored the topic of “human talent’ and that all people have worth and can contribute to the organization in some shape or form. He spoke about a concept called “reflective glory” or the idea that as a leader of an organization takes a ‘we” approach rather than an ‘I’ approach it reflects better on them. If they are being a good leader, the people who rise to the top are those that indicate the success of the leadership. Not only does this apply to the business world, but also us as a church community. If a church is doing an adequate job making disciples, it should reflect positively on the leaders who have taught them how to do that.
So, think for a moment about your own church body. Although we are supposed to give all “reflective glory" to the Lord, what we do in this life does matter and we area commanded in Acts to “go and make disciples.”
Do you have people who are “rising to the top” due to your discipleship? Are you receiving “reflective glory” for what you do to bring glory to God in your day to day lives?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

If you want to run the marathon, you have to run one lap first

I embarked on my first run outside in what has been quite a long time. I strapped on my i -pod, tightened my sneakers, and was off like a shot. I made it all the way to an impressive half way around one lap and stopped, incredibly winded and even more discouraged. "I'll never make it" I said to myself. I almost gave up. But, then I said " I'm not going to let this get me down." I willed myself around the rest of the way and made it around one lap. It might not be a big accomplishment to you, but to me, it was more than just a simple jog, but it was a symbol of something greater. It was a release of my fear and doubt that I could endure to the end. I would love someday to run a half marathon. Maybe i'll get there. maybe I won't. But, one thing is for sure, if I want to run the marathon, I have to start with running one lap.
That goes for the Christian life, too. At times it is so engrossing and life gets so difficult, and it leaves me winded and discouraged, unsure I can even take one more step. But, my willingness to shake off the fear and endure to the end makes running the race all the sweeter. Going through each day doing what is right may not seem like much, but I have to start somewhere. If I want to reach the finish line and into my savior's arms, I have to start by running one lap.
Are you ready to run your one lap today?

Monday, April 18, 2011

What's the Favor of God?

I was stuck in bed yesterday worth what felt like a potential sinus infection. When I'm sick, I tend to do things I wouldn't normally do. For example, I watched hours and hours of mind numbing television and took two naps within an hour and a half. In between these two napes, I flipped back and forth between the "Christian" programs and "secular" programs. I don't normally watch the "Christian" station, but since it was during the church hour, I decided to give it a whirl in the hopes of hearing an inspired word from God that would change me a little more into my Savior. As message after message droned on, I came to a realization. I really didn't see much difference between the christian and the non-christian. The sermons on the Christian station talked about the same things non-christians are talking about: the bad economy, fear, doubt, comfort, hope. The only difference was on the christian station, the people wore nicer suits and clapped accordingly at the pastor's shouting proclamations. Granted, the Bishop or pastor peppered their words with Scripture (some of which were taken out of context) and belief in Jesus and ended each message with the same invitation to invite the audience to accept Jesus into their life. One Bishop even proclaimed that if i sent in a seed of $130 God would unleash unusual favor on me for the next 130 days meaning wealth and prosperity). It made me wonder: if this is all that Christians have to say on these matters, what does the non-christian really have to hope for? Furthermore, if all God is interested in is giving me his favor, what about all the favor reserved for his 12 followers? Where did all of that go? Lastly, if favor is only material wealth, what about the poor around the world who have more faith in God that I have ever dreamt of having in Him?
That Gospel doesn't seem to be worth dying for, does it?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Emerging from my blog writing hiatus (for now..)

Some of you might be wondering if I have fallen off the face of the earth. The answer to that is no. I am still writing, and am very encouraged in my endeavors thus far, I just haven't shared any of that on here. I have been feeling a bit pulled in different directions and am feeling a bit overwhelmed in the process. I may wax and wane on my blog writing for now, but i am still writing nonetheless. I am working on the designing, editing and revising process of the first book Finding your Place in the Story of God while beginning the writing phase of my current project Don't forget the Parchments, which is allowing people to learn from the histories of their ancestors in order to mentor the future generations. It is daunting to say the least. In addition, I am taking classes to eventually become a day care director.
(Phew, I am tired just writing all that...)
But, God is good as always. whether in the overwhelmed times or the bored out of my mind times, He is still speaking, and it is for those moments that I am most grateful. I hope you, dear reader, who took a moment to stumble upon this blog post, well.
On a side note, the publishers are asking me for a subtitle to the Finding your place in the Story of God. I am thinking I should change the title before making a subtitle. Any suggestions?