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Thursday, December 31, 2009

My New Year's Resolution

As we wrap up this year and ring in a new one, I know we are all thinking about how to make life better and how to improve things.  Here's mine:
" For I RESOLVED  to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came  to you in in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. my message and preaching were not with wise and  persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on the Spirit's power." 1 corinthians 2:1-5.

Happy new year Everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We need to change our message

We need to change our message. Not the subject of the message, who is Jesus. Not the message, which is the good news.  But, the inconsistency of the people who present it. I mean, we say in one breath we want to be more like Jesus, but we don't act like we do. We care more about the " little gods" of life like our rights, our money, our bottom line. We say we care about the sanctity of life, yet in the next breath say we want to blow the Iraqis to smithereens. Pastor Will Willamon  asked this question in one of his sermons : what churches do you know who had a vigil for Osama Bin Laden?  For those who hate the current government structure, who is on their knees praying for it? Fasting for it? Why aren't we living out what we believe? 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Is This What We have Become?

" I think of religion as Paul Rudd. I see the appeal , and i wouldn't want to take it away from them, but I also wouldn't stand in line for it, either." I watched a rerun of a Community episode on NBC last night. Joel McHale said this to his Christian friend about why he was an agnostic. 
Is this really the voice of Christianity in our society today? How many people laughed at that as they watched from their barker loungers? 
In The Tangible Kingdom,  the authors call us to a new way of evangelism. 
Instead of " telling the people the truth" no matter what the cost,  how can we change our method or approach of the unchanging message of christ, which would allow others to prefer to know Christ above all else? 
Where is the obedience to Ephesians 4:29 which says " Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth but only what is useful for building others' up according to their needs, that they may benefit those that listen?" 
Has our message to the world been reduced to a comparison to a no name actor  who's biggest claims to fame are movies like "Clueless" and  other fluff that tells more about  our society than we realize? 
Is this what we have become?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Food for Thought

I came across a quote by a pastor, George Mueller, who pastored a church on england in the 19th century.  He said 
" I never remember... a period.... that I ever  sincerely and patiently sought to know the will of God by the teaching of the Holy Ghost,through the instrumentality of the Word of God , but I have a;ways been directed rightly. But if honesty of heart and uprightness before God were lacking,or if I did not patiently wait upon God for instruction., or if I preferred the counsel of my fellow men to the declarations of the Word of god, I have made great mistakes. "
Are you being directed rightly by God, or are you allowing a dishonest heart a lack of uprightness or the declarations of men guide you?

Friday, December 25, 2009

The True Joy of Giving

I wonder if God feels the same way when He gives gifts to His children as we do when we give to ours. I must say, although I had a great Christmas, the best part was watching my children get so excited over seeing the gifts under the tree.  My husband and i were discussing it and he said it is like you are reliving your own excitement as a little boy or girl approaching the tree with wonder and awe.  I know God " gives good gifts to His children", but I wonder how close we are to experiencing the joy and jubilation of heaven in little moments like this morning?
Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Where are we going?

"Where are we going?". My daughter just asked me that this morning as I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom mirror. I said to her. "No, why do we always have to be going somewhere?" I guess her question is more indicting than I originally realize. Do I always have to be going somewhere?
Why can't I just enjoy the moment that I am in, whether that be positive or negative? If it is negative, why don't I revel in the fact that God is refining me to become more like Him? If it is positive, why can't I be thankful and enjoy it before the dark days come again?  
As we approach Christmas this year, I pray that we will enjoy whatever moment we are in right now, with whomever that is important to you at this moment, wherever you are enjoying this moment. Let us all rejoice that we live in a country where we can celebrate with hope that this life is not the end of the story- it is the beginning of new things to come! Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

He grows an extra inch every year

I just got home from watching my son's Christmas program at his school. My husband and I watched in amazement as he did all the motions and sung with passion. We commented to each other that he has grown so much over the past year, we didn't really realize it until now.  It is like he grew an extra inch since last year, which is probably about right ( my son is a peanut- check his gene pool). 
As I think back in my journey with God, my vision or understanding has grown a little since last year. My thoughts about Him have become more accurate, my ideas have become more biblically- centered and my understanding of His reality in my life has grown an extra inch since last year.
My hope and prayer for you, dear reader, is that God " grows an extra inch every year" as you seek for Him to make His presence even more known in your life than last year. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

it's all about perception

One of the girls at my school told me that another girl said she thought I was mean. I spoke to the girl and we got it cleared up. The girl who told me said she thought I was because I  raised my voice at one of them to tell him to not run in the classroom.  Now, I have never raised my voice to the girl in question,ever. She is normally really good.  But, it is funny how 5 year olds perceive "yelling " as " mean."
The reality is that someone raises their voice to 1) take control of a situation, 2) be heard admidst the hub bub of whatever else is going on around them 3) the thing that he/ she is shouting about is more important than anything else at the time. 
Now, I will admit, I do , and have raised my voice to my children. Sometimes I'm angry, sometimes it's to gain control over a situation that I feel is out of control, sometimes it is to get their attention.  But, to say I'm mean when I do it implies I don't care about them, when on the contrary, I care about them enough to get them to stop what they are doing so they are not a danger to themselves or others. 
The mean one is the one who doesn't care about the welfare of others. The mean one is the one who puts his/her needs before the needs of others. The mean one is the one who treats others differently than the way they would like to be treated. The mean one is the one who sits idly by and does nothing for fear of making waves or cause confrontation (which is more about them than the other person).
The loving one confronts. The loving one acts. The loving one cares, even if it means raising a voice to do it.
I think the media, and the portrayal of "mean" characters on movies and tv skews our view of what is loving and what is unloving. 
But, it is all about perception. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Lament

We do what benefits us the most.
If we were honest, we would agree with that statement.
I know I do.
Not all the time.
But sometimes.
I wish I could say I don't ever.
But, I do.
Instead of being thankful for all of the blessings God has given me over the past year, I focus on the one thing that i DIDN'T get.
Nothing specific, but i get disappointed when a child excludes me from the gaggle of Christmas gifts he's giving to other teachers. 
or, when i have to get another gift when I had already planned on getting them what I wanted to get them( another honest confession).
Why do I focus on the silly things that don't matter?
Why don't I realize that I'm lucky to even be celebrating Christmas this year-
With a healthy family
And a loving husband
And presents under the tree
And a job
And a working car
And a computer that I'm using to type this blog post.
And a calling to write these posts.
And a God that I know and He knows Me.
I don't know.
I guess I need a heart adjustment.
I suppose we all do.
I suppose that's why we celebrate the birth of a Savior in 4 days.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The tree

I'm taking the day off and going to NYC to see the tree and the sights. Talk to you on Monday!

Looking at the World with Jesus' Eyes

I know it is hard around this time to see the world the way Jesus sees it.  People cutting you off while driving, pushing ahead in lines, etc. is enough to make anyone crazy! 
I am reflecting on a video I watched recently where a guy is going through the normal routine of life with some difficulty: getting cut off, long line at the coffee shop,, and then someone hands him a a pair of special glasses. He puts the glasses on and boom! he magically sees everyone with subtitles underneath. Like the guy who cut him off in line " is having trouble making ends meet", or the guy waiting on him at the coffee shop " has a fear of commitment." It makes the main character see people differently, the way Jesus would want him to look at the world. 
I was able to spread a little Christmas cheer yesterday by getting some shower gels from Bath and Body Works and i gave them to the consignment shop workers that work at the shop I frequently enter. I know it isn't much, but they were floored at the fact I thought of them that day. They have a thankless job ( much like me!) and get very little appreciation for what they do. I just wanted to show them I appreciate them for their hard work.  Just trying to spread a little cheer to people i meet.....
I encourage you to spread a little Christmas cheer this season, even to people who don't deserve it. After all, didn't our Savior do that for us?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Adopted as Sons

I am currently doing some research on our adopted as sons ( and daughters) into the family of God for my book.  I am amazed at how much God talks about that and how many people could use that refreshing take on their lives. How many of us really live our lives as if we are truly God's son or daughter?If we changed our perspective and viewed our lives that way, how much of our lives would have to be changed? 
How would we view the hardships we are going through right now as the refining God wants to do to make us more like Him? " “Endure hardship as discipline. God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined ( and everyone undergoes discipline) then you are illegitimate children and not true sons… No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have trained by it.”( Hebrews 12:7-12 NIV). Do we truly view our circumstances the way that the book of Hebrews states? 
Do you believe you  are adopted into the family of God?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

There is a hole in Our Christmas Tree!

That is what my son said to me just a few minutes ago. He was looking in between the branches to the gap in between two of them that overlooks the floor behind the tree. Only my son could see something like that- point out the one gap in between 2 branches.
But, isn't that the same with us? If we don't look at the intricacies of the Christmas season and what it is really all about, don't we find a hole in the middle? Doesn't the season just become hollow and meaningless, like there is a hole in people's hearts because they are relying on one day a year to fulfill their lives, as opposed to looking at the one who fulfills our lives everyday? 
My husband and I were driving with our children to Joe's parents house when we hit traffic at every exit from our church to there. There were some slushy, icy patches on the road, enough to cause accidents on every highway we tried. Upon realizing this, my husband slowed his speed to avoid this impending danger. The person behind him beeped loudly and then whirled by him , looking back in disgust! And I'm thinking, it is Christmas time ! Have we forgotten the season in which we run around putting unnecessary stress on ourselves? 86% of people believe in God, or so they claim. Why are we not living like the religion we affiliate ourselves with? If we can't get this right on the one day a year people expect good will toward men, then we have our work cut out for us.

Monday, December 14, 2009

When God Says " So What?"

I love the verse in John 28 where Jesus says to Peter, who was just told that he would be martyred for the faith and he is concerned with how John will die, " So What?" 
Ok,so not in those exact words, but  when he says " what is that to you?" he is basically saying to Peter, "so what" if I want John to die a different way than you. 
It is a great word for his people not to compare yourself with what God is doing in the lives of others. especially those of other believers. 
So, what is God saying " so what?" to you about?
Where are you comparing yourself to others ?
Why does it matter  what is he is doing on others' lives?
What is He doing in others' lives that He is not doing in yours?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tolerance is Intolerant

Why is ti that whenever someone is trying to  promote a mesaage of tolerance do Christians get portrayed as intolerant?  Why do Christians not receive the same tolerance as the other religions that emphasize it?  Why don't we have the right to celebrate and talk about religion, yet when we do we are seen as being pushy?
Take the show Community, for example. Ot the Office. Both claimed the christians of their group  were " pushing" beliefs on others. Yet, just 20 years ago, Merry Christmas was the natural greeting for this season, and Happy Holidays was unheard of. Aren't you preaching intolerance when you say Happy holidays, because you are not allowed to  state the religion you believe in?
Furthermore, why is it that people are so offended by saying Merry Christmas when it is just Santa that they are promoting? When is the last time you heard that Jesus was the focus of this holiday ?  And, where is my tolerance when I do want to teach my children, follow an advent calendar or say Merry Christmas?

Friday, December 11, 2009

What if WE did what we could?

So, first Elisa Morgan talks about what Mary did that made it "what she could" , then asks herself " what if I did what I could?" , then ends with " what if we all did what we could?"
So, what if WE all did what we could with the people God has put into our lives. Maybe if all of us helped the poor, prayed , met a need for someone everyday, what kind of impact would that have on the world as we know it? 
I mean, isn't that at the forefront of any charity event, environmental protest, or church pulpit? 
We can't all solve the problem of homelessness. Or war in Afghanistan.  Or the sex slave industry. The bible is clear " The poor will always be among you..." But, that doesn't mane we sit idly by and do nothing.  
The bible is also clear. We are to be the " hands and feet" of Christ. That's how we give him glory.  But, it can feel overwhelming at times.
This message by Morgan, however, is not.  If I just set out to meet one person's need everyday,  the  message of Christ will be spread more rapidly.
If the I, turns into we,  however, we could change the world. 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What if i did what I could?

After Elisa Morgan describes WHAT  Mary did, she poses the question to the reader: what if I did what I could?  
Maybe we can't eliminate world hunger or restore peace to the Middle East, but who has God brought in my path to help or to give my best?  
Maybe it is writing a check to help someone pay for groceries. Maybe it is stooping down to pick up whatever it was the stranger next to you dropped and is having difficulty retaining.  Maybe it is hugging or praying for someone in need. 
What if I did what I could? Everyday? What if i were more aware of the needs of those around me , instead of focusing solely on myself? How much good could I do to change the world?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

She Did What she Could II

I am continuing today with a further explanation of Elisa Morgan's book She did What She Could.  Morgan continues with an explanation of  the significance of Mary's gesture.  Mary could have done anything to show Jesus she loved him. Yet, she took a very expensive jar of nard and poured it on his head. 
Mary got it. She did this to prepare Jesus for his burial.   Jesus knew this and exalted Mary for her deeds. 
Mary couldn't do a lot in society because she was a woman. But her bold move showed Jesus and the people that she cared more about Jesus than culture's dictated role for her. She loved Jesus, and she didn't let anything stop her. 
The point of it is that Mary gave her very best to Jesus.  She did " what she could" in 
that moment to someone else. 
Morgan poses a question to the reader in the next section. What if I, or in this case you, " did what you could" during  your ordinary day in your ordinary life? What difference would that make to the world?
We'll talk about this in my next post. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The packaging is Everything

I am attracted to shiny objects. I really am.   I can turn my head from a mile away if something catches my eye. It might be the phoniest item there, but if it is packaged right, it will grab my attention. In the same way, if we package Christ in a way that is condescending or arrogant, many people won't want to open the package. 
Now, I know what you are thinking. You're thinking " God is not something to be packaged or wrapped or any sort of gimmick  to get people to like Him."  That is true. However, we have spent all of our time showing the world what we are against, and not what we are for and we have made an unbelieving world turn their head in disgust. 
I realize the apostles preached and said what was on their heart and mind wherever and whenever God led them. I also realize that John The Baptist never watered down his message to get his point across. Then, dear reader, you must also realize the end to that story..... HE WAS BEHEADED!  
Not a very happy ending.   Bottom line is, we cannot preach the same way as the apostles.  Think we should? Then, perhaps we should bring back the whole stoning and crucifixion thing, too....
I have a friend who runs a food pantry. Her life exudes Christ and Him crucified. Why? Because she is living among the broken everyday. She meets their need, cares for them and  gives them a foundation of Christ that cannot be denied. People are attracted to her for the same reason.  Does she water down her message because she is not announcing with a microphone: " Repent , for the Kingdom of God is near?"
A life lived everyday in obedience to who God really is may never have to say a word about who He is. People will already know.
All because of the packaging. 

Monday, December 7, 2009

She did what she could

I have been reading a great book by Elisa Morgan called " She Did What she Could."  In it, she explains the passage in Mark 14:3-9 where Mary, the sister of martha, anoints Jesus' heard with an expensive jar of nard, or perfume.  Morgan camps on the five words in verse 9: " She did what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time." Jesus goes on the say that this deed will transcend time and wherever His name is mentioned people will remember Mary's deed to Jesus. Morgan then urges us, the reader to " do what we could" in our everyday lives. 
We cannot fix everything. We cannot solve world hunger in a blink of an eye or resolve the ever impending wars between countries. But, we can be the light of Jesus to the people that we have been put in contact with in our lives. Sometimes it means money. Sometimes it means time. Other times it may mean great sacrifice.  She urges the reader " What is your could?" 
So, I today, in turn, urge you, my readers  " What is your could?"

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Power of Action

I have the privilege of speaking at a church conference  in Feb.  and have been wrestling with my subject matter.  I have been reflecting on the idea that spiritual growth comes from action before knowledge, not the other way around. I know there are verses that talk about " being a well watered garden" after  exhibiting the desired attributes, but didn't quite know where else to go. I was in my chiropractor's office ( who is a Christian) and he had Colossians 1:9-10 as one of his daily verses on his desk: "For this reason, since the day we hear about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God  to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding . And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God ..."
I know as Christians we devour every Christian book, watch every movie, and listen to every speaker we can get our hands on in order to "grow" spiritually.  
The reality is, if you want to grow, you have to act.  You want to grow in kindness, be kind,. You want to grow in forgiveness, forgive. 
We know how to do it.   We just have to do it. 
Even when we don't  feel like it.
Especially when we don't feel like it. 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Perfect love drives out all fear....

Perfect love drives out all fear.  That's what the Bible says. But, I never really understood that. Does it mean that if I love God the way He should be loved, that I will never have any fear? Can we achieve that in this lifetime? It is hard to fathom.
I thought all those butterflies I get when I have to confront someone in love, or make a presentation, or  talk about something embarrassing was just a part of " the anxieties of life."  Would we never have these if I love God with all my heart? Or, do those butterflies make me depend on God in my weakness? Just a topic of conversation on which  to comment to interact..... I appreciate your thoughts.... 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Love is not a feeling II

There a lot of things I don't feel like doing. I don't feel like exercising. or being a good Christian. or eating right.  In fact, if I had it my way, I wouldn't get out of bed. But, I do. I get up and do it, even if i don't want to.  
That is life. And that is the Christian life. 
The bible talks about putting on the full armor of God. This means the word, my salvation , and above all, righteousness.  I don't want to. But, I should if I want to be on guard against the evil one. 
There are a lot of days when I don't feel like writing. I don't always know what to write about.  But, I made a promise to myself. and 14 years ago, I made a promise to God that i would live for Him. 
So, i write. And I live. And i do what is right. And I love.  Even if I don't want to.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

She Said Yes

She said yes.
That is the title of a book from Cassie Bernall, the girl who was shot in the head after confessing she believed in Christ during  the Columbine shootings over 10 years ago. 
For those of you who may not remember, Cassie Bernall was approached by one of the shooters and asked if she believed in God.
She said yes. 
You know the rest of the story.
I was having a conversation with someone recently who was struggling in her walk with God. " But sometimes I feel really connected with God, and sometimes I don't." I went on to explain to her that faith is not based on a feeling. It is based on a response.  I don't always feel like doing the right thing. Or exhibiting the fruits of the spirit.  Or even following God. sometimes i just want to crawl into a hole and be left alone, left to my own reasoning to figure out how life works.  But, that is not how God designed it.  God cares about our desire to know Him more.  He cares about our willingness to change and to be more like Him. 
For 14 years I have been a Christian. For 14 years  God has asked me to do things I don't want to do. Or feel like doing.  But, he has cared about my willingness to say yes.
She said yes. A whole country now knows of her bravery and will tell about it for years to come because of it.
She said yes.
Will you?

Monday, November 30, 2009

The world will end in 2012?

So, the world is going to end in 2012. Or, so Hollywood "The Blindside" with Sandra Bullock. To our surprise, it was sold out. Not wanting to leave the theater empty- handed, we settled for viewing "2012" instead. 
I thought the creators were creative in how they pitched it, that the earth's crust will get too hot, causing the outside to melt and throwing the world into a catclysmic end, wrought with huge tsunamis that was whatever is left of the crust away. I'm sure it has a lot of people thinking. and why not? As I sit in here in what should be CT's turn into winter, I look at my thermometer, only to find it reads close to 50 degrees. This movie could make the  usual viewer question if they only have 2 1/2 more years of life left.
Then, on Sunday, I came across this verse from matthew 21:8: "8He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them. 9When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away."(NIV). 
Thank goodness we have the Word of God to turn to in times of uncertainty. 
Be encouraged today! The Lord is not through with you yet!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Black Friday Phenomenon

I didn't think I could let this day go by without talking a little bit about my Black Friday experience.  No, i wasn't up at 5 am, but i did go around 8-9 am. I normally check out the deals in the flyers the night before and pick out a few things I would like to get. If i don't get them, I'm not that disappointed.  So, I looked in the flyers, but Walmart was the only store I thought had any deals.  I went in at about 8 am, and was surprised by how little lines there were, and people there were! There were people and it was busy,but no long lines, no hysterical people . (Although, talking to a woman at Kohl's she said someone was arrested in front of her at 5 am). 
I still am floored by our society's lack of reverence for what this holiday is all about.  Apparently, the big wanted item ( besides the tv's) were character pajamas for  $3. I got one of the last ones and a woman asked me about it. I told her where they were, then in a gesture of kindness, offered her mine. She was shocked. She declined, but added how nice I was to offer.  I'm thinking to myself " It's just pajamas!"  Have we become so far removed from the actual meaning of this holiday that we would not offer our neighbor a pair of $3 pajamas?
Perhaps the reason why we are quick to say " happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas"  is because God was already gone from this holiday for a long time,  we just made it official. 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

" I thank my God every time i remember you . In all my prayers for all of you. I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel." - Philippians 1:3.
As we celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday, let us remember to whom we should give thanks!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The power or Perspective II

I was looking at my digital camera the other day and reflected on the reason why I hadn't gotten one earlier. I used to have an older film camera that I have had for 4 years.  I kept relying on the fact that it worked well in the past and had served me well to fill my kids' photo albums with pictures from their past. But, something must be wrong on the inside because eventually all the pics that I was developing came out blurry. My perspective was that it had worked well, but eventually became too blurry to serve its purpose.
Isn't that the same thing with us? Don't our perspectives sometimes get blurred and they don't become as reliable if we like? I thin back to times when i have misconstrued situations in my life because I thought I had the right perspective. The other person thought one thing, I thought another, and the truth lied somewhere in between. Until I talked it out with the other person, the truth then shown itself to me. 
As we approach this Thanksgiving holiday, are their any perspectives that need to be changed on people or situations so that the truth can show itself to you? 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Power of Perseverance

click clack
almost there. 
click clack
Only 5 more minutes
click clack.
If I just keep going, I'll meet my goal.
 Bleary-eyed  and thirsty, this is how I normally start most mornings. 
I'm trying to train for a half-marathon. Well, sort of.  
These are the sounds I normally hear as i ride my elliptical trainer, or run on the treadmill. It would be so much easier if I just stay in bed. But, I don't.  
It hasn't gotten any easier since I started to become more conscience about my fitness level.
But, these are also the sounds that I have gotten me further along than ever before. For the first time today, I was able to run on the treadmill for 30 minutes and not get winded. Now, i don't know how this will translate to the actual road, but I'm getting there. it's a start. 
All because I get up every morning and persevere.  The results are not immediate, but are found at the perfect moment. 
Are you willing to persevere through whatever challenges come your way?

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Power of Reconciliation

A lot of times I think about how I can live my life out to others as a Christian, yet do it in a way that does not offend or alienate them from the faith. I think that the answer lies in living out the Word that is "hidden in my heart"  everyday. 
For example, i have read many times about  " if you have something against your brother, go to him before you go to the communion table," but have not had many opportunities to have to put it into practice( thankfully).  But, today I had to have a discussion with someone to clear the air about some things I (and she) had misconstured. I had the chance to just let it blow over, but I didn't. I felt like if I didn't do something about it, I would care more about myself than about the relationship. The meeting went fine and everything was cleared up, but what if I hadn't? What if it festered enough to where a relationship was strained, even broken because of my negligence? That's the meaning behind this verse. Do we care enough about reconciling to each other , even if it means not participating in the Kingdom?

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Power of Culture

Culture is all around us. We can't get away from it. Think you can? Then, here's an assignment: try to go one day without engaging with any media. That means: no advertisements, no tv, no radio, no newspapers, no music, no books, no nothing that  influences you or your ideas about something. I actually had to do this once for an assignment for school for college. i actually didn't do too bad. I did my normal things, but made sure I didn't engage in my normal recreational activities, turned my head when I saw a billboard, etc. I did well, that is, until that day I was at work and broke my foot. I had to go to the hospital. When I was wheeled into the emergency room ( in a wheelchair), the first thing that greeted me was the sight and sound of the tv set playing from the waiting room. Game over. 
Whether we like it or not, we engage in culture everyday.  I have heard it said that we, as christians, should " be in the world, not of the world", as the bible dictates. This is true, but not exactly as it is used today. 
there used to be a time in this country where the church was at the center of every town, not just physically, but figuratively as well. Whenever there was a problem, people went to the church for guidance and support. This is, unfortunately not the case anymore. Someone just told me recently that a teenager told her friends her dad was a pastor, and her friends replied " What's that?" The church is slowly losing its voice in society, and its no one's fault but ours. 
What is we could get back to where the church "sets"' the trends of culture, rather than just merely mimic them and Christianize them. What if, instead of making shirts that say " faithbook" or "sonbucks" as opposed to Facebook and Starbucks,  we set trends that we saw mimicked in society. They say imitation is the best form of flattery. 
If we think we are anti-culture because we are Christians, I challenge you to rethink that. You can't say that in one breath, then walk into Walmart, and pick up the latest new Joel Osteen in another and not think you are participating in culture.  
I don't have a quick answer to how to change this ever-growing problem. However, I wonder if us modeling what we believe and letting people know what we are for rather than what we are against is a good place to start. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Power of Community

One of the best new shows of this season is the comedy " Community" that airs on Thurs. nights on NBC. It's witty, clever, and pushes an agenda.  In the first episode, we learned that truth is relative( one of the characters actually states this), that the show surrounds itself around a group of unlike people ( or a community), and that intergenerational mentorship is an important part of life. why else would Chevy Chase be seated next to Joel McHale?  Yet, they are spreading some beliefs that have been around since the beginning of time.  Ones that the Bible supports. 
The first thing in Genesis that God says is " not good", is the fact the Holy Spirit.  Many times throughout the New Testament, Paul talks about the importance of others, whether in the church body or outside of it).  1 John and Titus  are  prime examples of the importance of older people "sharpening" the younger generation, and vice versa. 
The truth is relative issue is a tricky one. God's word is timeless and God is never changing, yet he calls us " to be like a jew" no matter what that person may be like. The truth is, no matter whether the person believes in the Bible or doesn't, believes in truth or doesn't or believes that God is anything but love or doesn't, one thing is clear.
Matthew 28, which says " Go into all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, and surely I am with you until the very end of the age."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Power of Preparation

I have a preparer's heart. I always have.  In fact, I have already purchased my Christmas cards, wrap and most of my presents, and it is not even Thanksgiving yet! I do this not to be boastful about how good or organized I am, but because I'm trying to avoid the inevitable "rush" that accompanies all Christmases. You know the one I am talking about. The rush that comes when you are writing Christmas cards the night before and rushing to get them in the mail on the last day so they are on time.  Or, the one where you find yourself in the middle of Walmart on Christmas eve searching through the picked-over shelves to find the last minute ingredients to your Christmas day feast.  I prepare ahead of time so I can enjoy what is to come: the joy and magic  of a season unlike any other. A season where Jesus oftentimes gets lost in the hustle and bustle of these "rushes." My preparation of doing a little bit at a time saves me a lot of stress, not only on my body but also in my wallet. 
The Bible also talks about preparedness, believe it or not. It is most readily found in "the parable of the ten virgins."  Basically, for those that can't remember it, is a story where 5 virgins have their oil ready in preparation to light the way for them when their groom comes to sweep them off their feet.  Five, however, were not.  Five begged the other  five to give them their leftover oil. When the women say no, the five go away with the groom, and five are left "holding the bag", or in this case, their empty lamps. 
They missed out on the prize of going away with their groom.  And were left empty-handed. 
Are you prepared for your groom to take you away? Or are you stuck empty-handed?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Without discipline you can't be a disciple

I am fascinated by the words discipline and disciple. They are so similar, and they carry different connotations. Yet, I don't think you can have one without the other. Ironically, when you take out the word " in" out of discipline, you get the word disciple.In other words, once these things are "in" you, you become a disciple.     Discipline, to me, is inward. when I think of discipline, i think of fasting, journaling, prayer, etc. Once you get these things and make them a regular habit, they become a part of you,. They start to form you. They naturally emerge from you. If you notice, Jesus spent a lot of time with people he called "disciples", and he taught them what that meant. He taught them how to pray, how to care for others, how to be saved etc. Even though they didn't understand it, they were formed by His teaching. Then, once he was done teaching, he sent them out to live out what they had learned. it is the same with us. Once we are formed by these disciplines,( fasting, prayer, daily Word, etc.) we are formed. The true test, however, is when we live out what we learned. that is the difference between being a true disciple, and going through the motions.
Are you practicing daily disciplines that are making you into a disciple?
More importantly, are you living out what you believe?

Monday, November 16, 2009

The power of Intergenerational Mentorship

I have always had a heart for intergenerational mentorship. I didn't know why I did, until now. Maybe it is because the bible commands it in both 1 John and Titus. Maybe because it makes me get out of my comfort zone. Or, maybe because it shapes me just as much as it shapes those around me.
As some of you know, I feel God calling me to write a book.  So, whenever I feel God calling me to do something, I try to step out in faith and do something to test to see if it is truly from Him, or something from my own desires. 
 For reasons beyond my understanding, i found myself carpooling with a new found friend to a writer's group in Ridgefield. This is an hour away from my house. So, as we are driving, I'm thinking to myself " What am I doing?" I am writing along with someone whom i just met, who happens to have published her own children's book, and has been around the block a few times in the area of writing.  So, I'm nervous because I don't know what to expect.  I take that back. i do know what to expect, or at least I think so. i expect to be sitting in a room with all of these well- read, expert novelists who have published more books than i have paper in my house.  I expected to sit there , quietly take notes, and not say a word. That is, until my friend asks me to go again next month. Then I know what I will say.
So, we get there and it appears that I am right. But, then they start talking. As each person shares, I find myself in the awe of the fact God has brought me further along in my concept and idea for this book than I ever thought I was. When one woman shares her story of polishing her essay, submitting to a writing contest,  not winning, and questioning God's direction, I pull out the two paltry articles I had written for some digital magazines. I feel led to read my first one, which is all about my own experience with that and how God wanted me to share my story, and my heart, not to make every line of writing the most beautiful prose ever written.  When the meeting is over, I slip away to the ladies' room to prepare for the long ride home, and the same woman said to my friend " I know I'm going to learn a lot from her." Me!?  Really?! What do I have to share with all of these "expert novelists?" And then I realized. God has given me my own experiences and my own story to share with the world. It doesn't have to be the prettiest, most glorious story, but a story.  The beauty comes when I am willing to share it with the world.  That's when the mentorship really begins. 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Give Yourself Away

  It was a mastepiece. Or so I thought.  After much prayer and consideration,  I put the finishing touches on my article and clicked “ send” on my computer.   I was pretty happy with it. I thought it covered the topic well, was thought provoking, and as the Bible says provided the “spiritual meat”  any reader would feed on.  My mind drifted to visions of my inbox being overrun with e-mails of publishers who had seen my work and wanted  to put it into print.  Even Ralphie from A Christmas Story would be jealous.


And then I waited.  And waited. And waited .


Then,  it happened.



 No repsonse.

I asked the Lord why, if I felt like He was calling me to become a writer ,did no one respond to publishing my article.  “ Give Yourself Away” was the response.

Then I realized.

 My article lacked one thing.


I wrote all the right things.  Everything was accurate, concise and  thorough.  But, it lacked the passion and  authenticity of my conversion exeperience that began when I was 18 and, thankfully, continues today. An experience that can be classified as rocky at best.  An experience that continued with me   being  thrown out at the age of 20 because of my faith.  Sure, God provided for me with everything  I could ever need  in the midst of family turmoil and kept my well from ever going dry. An experience that included  a calling into the ministry at the age of 22 in a small country church  2700 miles from my hometown.  An experience that includes the death of my mother at the age of 25.  An experience that includes  the planting of our current  church less than two years later. But, I hadn’t written any of that.  I hadn’t given any of myself away.  I missed the interaction with an Incarnational God.

  I had missed the point.

  So, did Peter.

 In John 21, Jesus has an exchange with Peter that some publishers have subtitled “ Jesus reinstates Peter.”   Sure, Peter was the one that got out of the boat and begins to walk towards Jesus.  He also defends Jesus when the soldiers arrest him in John  18 .

But, when push came to shove, Peter took his eyes off the prize.  He took his eyes off of Jesus and onto the temporal things of the world: what people thought of him,  the storm,   his circumstances.   Peter did all the things a disciple is supposed to do. He talked a great game.  But, those things were never a part of who he was.

Jesus refers to Himself as “ I am” because, put simply, He is.  He doesn’t have to be anything else than who He is.  That’s why Jesus asks him three separate times if Peter loves Him.  The first two times the Greek word for love is agape. In other words, if  Peter loves Him, then He will love Jesus above all else.

He didn’t.

The third time the greek word for love is phileo, or brotherly. The same reason why Philadelphia is nicknamed “ The City of Brotherly Love.”   So, if Peter really loved Jesus, he would love Jesus above all else, and love his brother as himself.

Sound familiar?

Peter showed Jesus he loved  him by doing all the right things, but it was never a part of who he was.  Peter  ignored the Greatest Commandment.

And so did I.

If I want to spiritually form others into His likeness, I need to “ give myself away” a little everyday. 


Not my neighbor, or my husband, or my pastor.

 But me.

 Myself,  including all of my failures,  my mistakes and my flaws.  Including my misconceptions and marred perspectives and my bad theology.  Me.

I can “ be” the church a little everyday and give myself away.

Have you given yourself away today?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It all started with a kiss

A rub on the back. A warm hug. A kiss on the cheek. These are just some of the ways we show affection and love for someone.  These are also the things that change  a relationship from an acquaintance or a friend to family.  Think about this in terms of your own relationship with your spouse or family. What would your relationship be if the only sign of affection to your spouse was a firm handshake? 
I try  to kiss and hug my children everyday. I want to show them that I love and care for them in an intimate way. I guess in a sense it moves me from merely saying " I love you" to actually meaning it. 
I thought about this as I continue my bible study of John, a " disciple whom Jesus loved."  I just came across the chapter where Judas betrays Jesus. He doesn't just say " There He is, Go get him!" Instead he makes it a point  to greet him with a kiss, which was customary during this time. What a brutal betrayal this really was. It wasn't just anyone ratting him out to get a "piece of the pie", but it was one of his own. It was someone He had spent a lot of time with, teaching, discipling and making him more like Himself. As a matter of fact, after his resurrection, He calls all of His disciples " his brothers". The disciples were His family.  It must have been like a knife through Jesus's heart. I wonder if this is the reason why, during the last Supper, Jesus says to Judas " What you are going to do, do quickly." Perhaps it was the Lord's way of dealing with  this brutal blow to His soul. 
It all started with a kiss.
Yet, God, who is our picture of redemption, allows us as His disciples to redeem that kiss everyday. We can be the touch of God people are desperately seeking, yet never finding.   Think about it: what if we treated everyone whom we have a relationship with as family? What if we made every effort to give a hug, or a quick touch on the back, or a handshake? How would that change our relationship with those people?
Who do you know who could use a touch from God today? 
How can you be a picture of redemption that all started with a kiss?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Power of internal Dialogue

It's easy to talk yourself out of it. Anything, really.  Exercise.  Devotional time.  Eating right. Rest.  Why do we talk ourselves out of the things our bodies and souls need the most? "I'll do it tomorrow."  " It won't hurt if i have another piece." " If i just get this project done, I can rest."  It is easy to talk yourself out of lots of things. Then, however,you wind up doing nothing. It is one of the enemy's craftiest yet subtle tools. 
Internal dialogue is the key to a closer walk with God. The Bible addresses this very issue when it says " Be transformed by the renewing of your minds(   Romans 12:2).     
 It all starts with the mind. where it ends up is the heart. 
I am fascinated by the word "renew" in this verse. It literally means to make new again.  It makes me think about all of the words the Bible uses that have the prefix "re"- renew, repent,reborn, etc.  I am also fascinated that Jesus used most of these words when he addressed his followers.   It is as if Jesus is calling us to constantly shed our flesh and become like him. But, it starts in the everyday. 
I know this will spark a bit of controversy, but i wonder if the experience to become " born again" is not just a one- time deal, but everyday. Everyday repent. Everyday make your mind new again. Everyday enter into the world a new person. 
  I have heard it said that there is a long distance between your head and your heart. If the head changes, the heart will quickly follow.  
Renew. Repent. rebirth. The result? Transformation. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Facing the Giants

I heard this story on the movie " Facing the Giants."  I am moved by it every time, I thought i would share it with you. 
Revelation 3 says " We serve a God who opens doors no one can shut and who shuts doors no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name." The Lord is not through with you yet. You still have an open door here. And until God moves you, you are to bloom where you are planted....
I heard a story about two farmers who desperately needed rain. And both of them prayed for rain. But only went out and prepared his field to receive it. Which one do you think trusted God for it?  The coach replies' The one who prepared his field for it.' Which one are you?"

Monday, November 9, 2009

The disciple Whom Jesus Loved Contd.

I apologize. I noticed one more reference of " the disciple whom Jesus loved." It is in chapter 20, which says John and Peter heard Mary say to them " They have taken my Lord and I don't know where they have put them!"  It states that both started running, but John outran Peter and got to the tomb first.  Peter enters the tomb first and sees the linens there. John also enters the tomb . The Scripture makes a point of saying" He saw and believed." Verse 9 then says " They still did not understand the Scriptures had to be fulfilled." I immediately asked myself " why does john make a point again of saying ' He saw and believed," but then the point of view changes from "He" to "They."  I think there is another point to be made here, which is probably why there was so much more in this gospel than in any other. the point is this: He saw and believed even in his unbelief. The next verse clearly says they still didn't believe..." and yet John still chooses belief, even when his realm of understanding dictated otherwise.   
Do you still choose to believe even when your realm of understanding dictates otherwise?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Becoming The Disciple Whom Jesus loved

The third and fourth references of John being " The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved" comes at the end of the book. Chapter 21 contains both references. The first in that chapter says that the " disciple whom Jesus Loved" cried out " it is the Lord" ( Paraphrase).  The interesting thing is that all of the disciples saw him on the shore, yet " no one recognized him." Now, I have heard it said that we will have new bodies when we get to heaven. So, i don't know if they didn't recognize him because he looked differnet than what they remembered, or he as too far away for them to see, but John is the only one  who knows him intimately enough not only to recognize him, but be confident enough to call out " It is the Lord!"  I interpret this to mean that intimate relationship was such that John had no problem identifying him. 
The last reference is after Peter is " reinstated" ( or at least what the publishers of my Bible decided to call it).  Peter answers Jesus's call to " Follow Me!"  and Peter turns around and sees " the disciple whom Jesus loved following them."  While Peter is too busy looking around  at the outward things of life (ie. John's escape from martyrdom) , John is already following. He didn't need an extended invitation. He was already there! Whether or not he responded immediately to Jesus's call to Peter or already got up and followed him  before the call, I'm not sure. But, the result is the same: John dropped everything and followed his Lord. 
Do you know Jesus intimately enough to recognize him and call him your Lord? 
Are you willing to drop everything and follow Him?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Fresh Look at Spiritual Formation II

Let’s look at another example of spiritual formation- the story of Mary and Martha.  There are a couple of accounts regarding Mary and Martha , one having to do with Mary and Martha’s priorities, found in Luke 10:37-39, and Mary and Martha’s grief in the death of their brother, Lazarus, found in John 11.

I have  heard  a pastor speak on this passage in Luke 10 and he gave a fresh new look on it. He said that the reason why Martha was so upset about Mary being at Jesus’s feet was not because she should be helping her in the kitchen prepare for Jesus’ dinner. He says it is because  Mary was acting like a disciple , which were typically men during this time.  This display of affection was unheard of for women to do at this time.  If this is the case, Martha was probably trying to protect her sister because if someone heard of this display of  insubordination, she probably would have been stoned.  Jesus responds by saying  “ it will not be taken from her.” In other words,  Jesus transcends culture and the people’s need to conform to it.   So, Martha’s heart was to protect her sister, not to rebuke her. 

            Let’s follow up with John 11: 17-28. So, given this new information about Martha,  we see Martha as a woman of action. She goes out to meet Jesus, while Mary who has a heart to be His disciple, stays home.  But, look at the difference in heart attitude. “ But, I know that EVEN NOW, God will give you whatever you ask.”  Even though she didn’t understand what Christ was doing, she believed anyway, and went out to meet him to find Him.  He asks her ‘“Do you believe this?” She replies “ Yes, Lord…”.  She knows full well who He is. She knows in her heart as well as her head.

 Do you know what is interesting about this passage?  According to this account,  Jesus chooses Martha’s reply to set the plans in motion for His crucifixion. According to John, Martha is the first person to publicly declare Him the Christ.  Up to this point, people have put their faith in Him,  or called Him a prophet,  or not known who He was. But, it is through Martha that  He uses to spread the Word that He is the Christ. Two people  with the same worries and cares of this life, yet two different attitudes. Peter gets choked by the world’s standards, and Martha  has the faith to set in motion a plan for reconciliation for all the world.

Which are you ? Do you merely confess Christ, or do you live it out?  Are you acting like someone who believes in God or getting choked by the world? Are you being spitirually formed by loving and feeding those around you? 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Fresh New Look at Spiritual Formation

Over the past ten years, I have had the privilege of being a pastor’s wife and joining people on their journey to a deeper walk with God. But, I have always wrestled with the question of how to help women be sptirtually formed, and eventually transformed into the likeness of Christ.  Recently, I joined a bible study that has helped me look at the gospel of John in a fresh, new way. I never realized that this gospel account has a lot to say about sptiritual formation.

 Perhaps the best excample is in John 21:15-17.  Now, in my Bible, the publishers chose to subtitle this section “ Jesus reinstates Peter.” I think that is so interesting that  this is the last interaction we have with Jesus before the book ends.And what is the last event John wants us to remember about Jesus- – a reconciliation between Peter and Jesus.  What is the last thing that happened between Peter and Jesus before He is arrested?  Peter’s denial of Jesus.  How fitting of John to leave us with a message of hope and reconciliation as He ends the book.

 I’ve never quite understood why Jesus asks  him three times “ Do you love me?”.  The answer is this: Peter  had lost sight of what is important. Think about some of the encounters of Peter that we know of. Peter walks on water, for example.  The first person to jump out of the boat, yet as soon as he thinks about what he is doing in the context of life’s surroundings, he doubts and falls. He takes His eyes off of the prize.  Jesus is arrested.  Soldier comes at Jesus. What does peter do?  Cuts his ear off.  Jesus has to heal his ear in response. Because the point  was not to  protect Jesus.  The soldiers were doing what had to be done for Scripture to be revealed.  Peter’s proclamation that Jesus is the christ. Jesus says he’ll deny him , Peter responds with “ even if everyone else does, I won’t”.  Jesus says   “you will”, and peter still denies. Before the end of the night, Peter denies.  What does peter care about-what people think of him.  He lost sight of what was important.  So, why is this exchange so important?  It is Jesus’ reminder of what is truly important.  Peter was so good at proclaiming  it. He knew Jesus in his head, but his heart was elsewhere. He cared more about  the temporal things of life than about his relationship with Christ.  Jesus says, if you want to be my follower, and if you really believe me above all else, feed my sheep. This is spitirual formation at its finest.  

So, think about this in terms of the farm illustration. What does feed mean?   It means  to shepherd, guide, direct. Show them the way to go.  Literally, lead them to pasture. Notice it doesn’t say eat for them.  We can only lead, and set the example for other. We cannot make people eat and grow .   Shepherds also not only have the knowlwdge of how to manage their farms, but they also act on it.  They usher others to do the same. 

            Dallas Willard, in his book Renovation of the Heart  talks about 3 keys to spiritual foramtion,  He calls it the VIM diagram: Vision, intention and action.   We have a vision for a goal to be transformed, we make an intention, or as Willard says we decide to do it, and then we do it.  We can have all of the visions for our life. We can even make a decision to do it. But, if  there is no action to it, it never produces the fruit that lasts. Willard says that the Kingdom of God is right here, right now. We have an invitation  to particiapte in it or not. But, we have to act with intention.  Actually,Willard says if  there is no fruit behind the decision or belief, you cannot be a part of the Kingdom.  

Some harsh words from Willard, but thought provoking as well.  What will you say to the Lord when He asks you to " feed my sheep?"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The gospel is a sales pitch

I turned on the TV Friday  night just for some background noise. Soon, i heard the ever-catchy Men at Work song " Be Good, Johnny" which is the Supernanny theme song.  So, I stopped what I was doing and watched for a while.  Now, i like watching it, probably because it makes me put my own parenting skills into perspective, and to help me realize I'm not the worst parent in the world.  Soon I'm engrossed as Supernanny introduces her next clever parenting technique.  I start to think " I can do that, too."  I'm happy that ABC airs this show for parents like me. For a moment. Then I think " How many children does Jo have?" Then I come to a sobering reality.  The answer is none. 
They are nice techniques to make every parent feel like they can take control of their out-of-control homes.  But,what does that mean in the mundane parts of the everyday? They are nice ideas that  make me wanna get out the glitter and glue. But, what happens when the sticker charts, supper wheels and reflection rooms fail?  When the day has tarried on for so long that  you  don't even want to look in the direction of the kitchen, let alone let the children decide to spin the supper wheel?
Jo has all the knowledge, the skills and techniques to a tee.  But what she fails to have is the real life experience. 
Why do we think we can pass off our christianity as real life experience, when in reality we have not had a real life experience with the Lord? If we lack the intimacy of  the ups and downs with the Lord, anything else is a sales pitch. 

Monday, November 2, 2009

To Be or Not to Be

Jesus  was incarnational. By that I mean he embodied all of the qualities of His father because He and His Father were one. Jesus refers to himself  as "I am" because, simply put, He is.  He never needed to become like His father, because He already is.  It was a part of Him. All of His healings and miracles manifested out of the qualities of Himself. 
We are called to "be" the church. Not go to church, but to be it. In action. This means to allow our actions to come out of who we are as a body of Christ. I heard it once said that" Going to church doesn't make us a Christian any more than going to McDonalds makes you a hamburger. "   It's true. We , as Christians,are always looking for the next Bible study or Sunday School class to teach us what we already know and is a part of us.  God has already equipped us with all that we need to " make disciples" ( Matt. 28).  When we begin to fulfill our purpose in the world as the missional people of God and "be",  then world will start to change.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Missional Side of Halloween

I was a perfect parent. Until I had kids, of course.  I know most churches frown upon the idea of letting the kids go trick-or-treating or giving out candy. I appreciate the sentiment and the message churches are sending.  We have always participated in it. Here's why.  The more I look into Scripture, the more I find God is calling us to be His "sent" people .  Everywhere, in all places, everyday.  Even at Halloween, where I would not want to waste an incredible opportunity to meet a neighbor, build a friendship, invite someone over whom I want to get to know better. unfortunately, i don't gather with my neighbors as often as I should. sometimes Halloween is the only time i see some of them. I don't want to be the house where the kids say " Here's that pastor's house that didn't want to give out any candy." I want my door to ALWAYS  be open and a safe one. If a kid ever needed a place to go that was safe, I want them to know they can come to my door.  As a matter of fact, we met one of our neighbors, built a friendship with them, and my husband performed their wedding ceremony. They also invited another couple to their wife's 30th birthday party and introduced us to another couple who was interested in hearing more about our church and its values. All this for participating in Halloween.  
So, that's my side of the situation. I respect all opinions on it and their reasons behind it.  You may not like my take on things. That's ok.   Then again, they didn't like much of what Jesus had to say either.  I guess i am in good company. 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

gallon donation

So, I did my 8th  donation at a blood drive  near my house- making it my gallon donation! I obviously couldn't ignore the symbolism as I'm watching my blood gush from arm to bag.  What a beautiful picture, on the one hand, and a messy, painful one on the other.  She bruised me three separate times - and that is just from one needle! I can't even imagine nails in my hands....
It's hard not to have a new appreciation for Jesus's death on the cross.  
I always get a little anxious before my donation- will I faint or feel sick afterwards? What if my iron count is too low and I can't even donate?  It's hard to even wrap my head around sweating blood  praying to His father to " remove this cup."   It's hard to fully comprehend.
Yet, I always feel grateful, lucky, even, to know I made the difference in someone's life when they need it most. Perhaps I will see some of  them in heaven because of my momentary selflessness.  To think how many billions of lives have been saved by Jesus's bloodshed......

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Follow You

As usual, one of my favorite groups , Leeland, has had some thought provoking lyrics on their  song "Follow You". Here are some:  
All my needs,
 You have supplied, 
When i was dead, 
You gave me life, 
How could I not 
Give it away so freely?

If we have the love and salvation of Christ, why don't we give of ourselves more freely?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The second reference that John uses to refer to himself as " the disciple whom Jesus loved" is at the crucifixion.  Jesus tells his mother that that John is now her son and she is his mother. the fact that Jesus refers to him as his brother is HUGE.  When Jesus refers to Peter and reinstates him  back into the fellowship, he uses 2 forms of Greek word for love: phileo and agape. The first two " feed my sheep" commands are agape, but the last is phileo, or brotherly. Jesus is basically saying to John " You get it". You're are my disciple. He entrusts his own mother, to John. The Scripture follows by saying  John , from that time on, took her into his home. John's life is changed by this statement. He took Jesus's words seriously. 
Do we?

Monday, October 26, 2009


I was just reading this in a magazine. " The pear is one of the few fruits that does not ripen on the tree, but rather ripens after it is harvested." It makes me think about all of the references to fruit in the Bible.   Jesus talks about us being fruit numerous times . But, it normally refers to us bearing or producing fruit  and then being harvested.  It is interesting that pears ripen after harvested.  Many of us form our character with the goal of heaven in mind.  But, how many of us  acclimate ourselves to the circumstances around us, and still choose to ripen?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ok, ok, so I missed a day in my blog.  I almost missed today, too.  The only reason why I'm writing today is because I made a commitment to myself that I would write everyday. I figure if i can make a commitment to write everyday, then if or when the opportunity  arises where i am asked or inspired to write   words that may change  the person reading them, I'll be prepared. It's in these moments when I am too tired or too busy or too wrapped up in this thing called life that I am reminded of the words of Hebrews 12:1 .." and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."   
 And so I put on my running shoes....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Reclining against Jesus

So, I've been searching the scriptures to find out why John considers himself the disciple whom Jesus loved ( he writes this about himself 4 times).  The first time he uses these words are at the last supper. Peter asks " the disciple whom Jesus loved" who will betray him. Then I notice something interesting, John, who is LEANING against Jesus turns to him and asks him. This denotes an intimate relationship with Jesus that John had that no other disciple had.  Otherwise, why else would  he recline against him?
Do we have an intimate enough relationship with Jesus that we feel comfortable reclining against him?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

 I sometimes feel like charlie Brown when I'm writing these posts. You know, the part where he sticks his head in the mailbox and says " Hello in there! " Then ,after his realization there is no mail, he says " Rats!"   Is anyone reading these? Does anyone care? Who's really seeing this anyway?  Well, if my calling to write a book  is going to happen, I hope the person who sees this has the word publisher after his/her name...

Monday, October 19, 2009

So, I'm going to try my hand at  writing a blog. It's something I have always wanted to do, but never took the leap of faith to start one, because I am not the greatest in the discipline of journaling. but, if I want to become more like "the disciple whom Jesus loved" referenced by John in his own gospel account, then I have to change my old ways of thinking and  renew my mind with new things. 
I was reflecting on John 21, where Jesus asks Peter " do you love me?"  I never understood why Jesus asks him this until now. Peter had lost sight of what is important- loving God above all else, and loving his neighbor.  This is spiritual formation.  If we say we love God, we need to feed the sheep and put or words into action. Peter talked a great game, but he never put into action.  He missed the point. Have we?