Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Choosing Love


I still have it in me to hate.  I wish I didn't.  I wish that the love of Christ had me clean enough to remove that horrible human characteristic. To hate. Perhaps the difference in me is that I understand I don't hate a person, even if for a moment in the midst of painful anger, I think I do.  I hate the person's actions.  I hate not understanding how a person can use their opinion to be abusive to others, to attempt to control.  I don't understand true vindictive, meanness.  I have never understood that, and I hate for a person to attempt to control me.  But I won't allow hateful feelings to bring darkness. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." I'm choosing to love and to see the things I do understand instead of the things I don't. I'm choosing love, because it's the only peace I have.

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. - Proverbs 10:12

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Real or Imaginary - Trust God

God is so good.  He is constant. His love is unwavering.  He is ever present.  And we humanly forget that.  Every day.  I was discontentedly praying this morning, my heart anxiously racing with my struggles. I took a deep breath and went to open my devotion on my phone.  I got distracted (surprise) and clicked into Facebook instead. God knows our hearts and He wants us to trust.  It was no accident that the devotion below was the first thing I saw:

Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.
—Hebrews 13:5

I recently heard an interesting story about the difference ¬between real and imagined problems—something that all of us have probably faced at one time or another. This story involved a man who was in his second year of Bible college. He was faced with financial challenges and couldn’t figure out how to pay his bills, support his family, and remain in school. He and his wife were expecting their second child, and because of health problems, she required total bed rest. He finally made an appointment with the financial aid office.

He nervously walked in and sat down. Then the man across the desk asked him an interesting question, “Do you need money, or do you have real problems?” That question changed his life. Why? Because he had seen money as his biggest and most difficult-to-solve problem. His bills and financial needs were constantly on his mind. It was as if his need for money had become the most important thing in his life.

Before this young student could say anything more, the financial counselor smiled and said, “Most of the students come in because they need money. Money becomes the center of their lives, and it steals their victory and peace.”

The student felt as if this man had been reading his mail. Until that moment, he had been one of those students the man had described. In his quest to figure out how to make ends meet, victory and peace had completely eluded him.

The wise financial counselor made some very interesting observations that day. He said, “The problem isn’t money, son, the problem is trust. We have a few financial loans we can make, but that won’t solve your problem. You see, your problem is inside your head and your heart. If you can get those things in the right order, money will no longer be the focus of your life.”

No one had ever spoken to him like that before. “Not only did the loan counselor force me to rethink my life and my ¬priorities,” the student said, “but he pointed me in the right direction.”

The loan counselor pulled out his Bible, and asked the ¬student to read three verses that had been underlined in red and highlighted in yellow. “The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step]. Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him. I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the [uncompromisingly] righteous forsaken or their seed begging bread” (Psalm 37:23–25).

“So look at yourself, son,” the man said. “Are you a good man? Are you a righteous person? If you are, what does that say about you and your relationship with God?” The student read those verses aloud twice, and recognized that those words were a picture of himself. He had fallen—he had allowed himself to become discouraged—and he had been ready to give up. But he knew he was in Bible college because that’s where God wanted him to be.

As he left the financial aid office, he had received no money and no offer for aid, but he left with a lighter heart and an assurance that he would not have to leave school. He was a little slow in paying some of his bills—and a few times, he had to get an extension on paying his tuition—but he was able to stay and complete his education. Today he is in full-time pastoral ministry.

God takes great care of His own, and He will take care of you. Hebrews 13:5 offers you assurance that you don’t have to set your mind on money, wondering and worrying how you can take care of yourself. God has promised to take care of you, so what more is there to say?

God of all precious promises, I’m ashamed that I’ve allowed money or other problems to become so important that I’ve lost my perspective. My problem isn’t money; my problem is my lack of trust in You. As I meditate on Your promises, help me to truly believe that You will perform Your Word in my life. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.



From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2006 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Joy in His Presence


I'm on "lockdown" in my basement with a rare evening of solitude to finish the rest of my work for school for the quarter. Other than the chirping of the birds in the bushes outside my window, it's silent. Daylight is diminishing, and I feel a sense of calm that I haven't had the rest of the week. Sometimes I feel like I'm living several lives; family, a work life, ministry life and school.  It isn't always easy to integrate the different areas, the relationships I have with the people in each place, and the work required for each one. I feel overwhelmed, anxious, even fearful.  But every time, every single time, God speaks when I get to the point of fear.  He speaks in my seminary reading, a devotion, the action of another person or a well placed scripture. Today He gave me a piece of Psalm 16 (NIRV).

Lord, everything you have given me is good.

    You have made my life secure.
 
I am very pleased with the boundaries you have given me.
    I am very happy with what I’ve received from you.

I will praise the Lord. He gives me good advice.

    Even at night my heart teaches me.
 
I know that the Lord is always with me.
    He is at my right hand.
    I will always be secure.

So my heart is glad. Joy is on my tongue.

    My body also will be secure.
 
You will not leave me in the grave.
    You will not let your faithful one rot away.
 
You always show me the path that leads to life.
    You will fill me with joy when I am with you.
    You will give me endless pleasures at your right hand.
- Psalm 16:5-11


And I am filled... I am filled with gratitude to God.  I am filled with all He has done for me.  I am filled by what He has done for me through others.  Mostly I am filled with a grateful heart for His grace because I don't deserve any of it.  So, I will praise Him, in my weakness and self absorbed life I will praise Him.



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Countdown


I have a passion for missions, whether it's helping, giving, sharing, or visiting. I love to be in the missions field. I delight in seeing others benefit not only materially, but to see a change in heart in people, whether it's those who are helping or those being helped.  If you read my blog regularly you've heard me say things like "it doesn't matter where you go, as long as you go".  You've probably also heard me say that I have a heart for going to make disciples of all nations as we are called to do in Matthew 28:19.  I believe in helping people everywhere, whether it's helping a sick neighbor or crossing the world to help those whose countries do not help.

There is great power in short term international missions. There is power in the way that it changes the hearts of those who go.  There is good in seeing work being done for those who need it. Short term missions can lead to long term missionary work in an area when hearts are convicted to go permanently and grow the church.  Churches can become long term partners of specific missions and continue short term missions to the area annually like our church has done through Montana de Luz in Honduras or as another small group in our church and other local churches have done with SIF in Haiti.  These partnerships can lead to long term change in areas that may never see change otherwise.  There is something amazing about taking the love of Christ into an area that may never get to know it.

Each time I have gone on international mission trips I have been overwhelmed by the wonderful people of the countries. I have been blessed with hospitality and gratitude.  I have been humbled by their joy in the midst of extreme poverty. I have found peace in the seclusion had by the lack of technology and tranquility in a slower pace of life than I'm used to here.  I am privileged to know different cultures and inundated with the joy of new ways to worship.

In 10 days, I leave for Costa Rica for a youth mission trip.  I feel blessed to be leading an incredible group of young men and women with other amazing adult leaders into international service work.  I look forward to the blessings that will come of this trip.  I look forward to helping, to learning, and to sharing the love of Christ with our team and our friends in Costa Rica.  I ask for your prayers for those on the trip and for the families we leave behind.  I ask for prayers for my daughter, Sam, who should be on the trip and can't.  She will most certainly return with us in 2017.  I ask you to pray for our witness to others, for safe travels, and changed hearts.



Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again


Forgiven
If only you’d forgive yourself
You’ve been made new
But you’re standing where you fell
Because when you look in the mirror
It seems like all you ever see
Are the scars of every failure
And the "you" you used to be

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
You’ll live to love another day
Yesterday’s a closing door
And you don’t live there anymore
So say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again

Forgiven
Just let that word wash over you
It’s all right now
Love’s healing hands have pulled you through
So, get back up and take step one
And now you’re new life has begun
And know that if the Son has set you free
Then you are free indeed!

Hope is reaching from a rugged cross
Where a perfect love recaptured all the innocence that’s lost
And mercy’s calling from an empty grave
So lift your eyes to heaven
And hear your Savior say

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
You’ll live to love another day
Yesterday’s a closing door
And you don’t live there anymore
So say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again


Phillips, Craig and Dean - Tell Your Heart to Beat Again

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here - 2 Corinthians 5:17

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Intentional


Eyes open wearily, time to begin.

Even on a Saturday, no sleeping in...

Cheer practice, basketball, sleepovers at friends',

Just like the weeknights, we can't see the end.

Grab birthday gifts, write a sermon, kids' projects due,

Church, then youth group, so much to do!

We're running and running all over the place.

Constantly keeping society's pace.

But when I woke this morning, I looked to the sky.

I prayed "God, please, don't let all this pass by.

Please help me focus, see every face,

Treat people around me with mercy and grace.

Let me praise my kids and acknowledge their gifts,

Never exchanging busyness for a hug or a kiss.

Let them know I see them and let them see me,

Being the kind of person I'd want them to be."

We may hurry to get a kid to each place,

But that's not an excuse to behave with disgrace,

Pushing past people, grumpy looks on the run,

Yelling at children, forgetting the fun.

We can manage our time, set us up for success,

Take time to be thankful and take time to rest.

Life is beautiful, but fleeting too.

We should be intentional in the things that we do. 

Take a moment and breathe, look up above,

Be thankful to God for life and for love.

Even while busy and doing so much,

We can make a difference in each life that we touch.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Honest for the Sake of Justice


Typically when I write in my blog I write what's on my heart. However, I can't help but notice I'm writing to a specific group.  I know my readers. I'm writing to believers in Christ, to those interested in my journey, to those who contemplate the church.  This hasn't been a blog that reaches far and wide. But I want it to reach.  I want to write the things that are on my heart regarding injustice, missions and REAL LIFE.

When I started writing I wanted to communicate my experiences in ministry.  I intended to record my journey and share my heart. I had been reading the blogs of other seminarians, pastors, and missionaries that shared their value system, their beliefs, and encounters with Christ in their personal journeys.  In the beginning I wrote frequently and honestly. There came a point that I realized that honesty came with some pushback.  I had written a post entitled "My Mom Hates Me".  It was one of my more passionate posts.  The post was prompted by encounters I had with middle school and high school girls that were hurt by their mother's expectations and criticism.  While young girls have a flare for the dramatic, this post was written on real emotion that the the girls (one in particular) had expressed.  The words that those girls shared triggered real change in the way I talked to my kids, and I hoped other mothers would see that. The post incited emails, inquiries, and comments that led me to ultimately delete it. I was concerned that the inquiring mothers would hold my honesty against me, and it would somehow affect my ministry.

What I realize now is that I deleted that post for the wrong reasons.  By taking it away I avoided conflict, but I didn't accomplish what I set out to do.  That post created turmoil because many moms wondered if it was written about them. It wasn't written about any of the moms that inquired, but if they were concerned enough to ask then perhaps the post precipitated change.  If any parent stopped to consider the way they made their child feel after reading it, then a bit of confrontation in the responses didn't matter. There have been several issues since that post that I avoided blogging about to avoid conflict.  In doing so, I may have missed the opportunity to bring justice for another. While I would never intentionally post to cause an uproar, I intend to be honest in my endeavor for justice and candid about how our actions affect people.  I want to make a difference with my actions, with my words, and hopefully by inspiring change in others.


    Learn to do good; seek justice,

    rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan,
    plead for the widow. - Isaiah 1:17

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Conformed or Transformed?


I love this illustration I saw from another church.  It matches the feeling I've been carrying lately. Do you ever get frustrated with yourself for conforming to silly conversation or for finding yourself involved in unnecessary drama?  It's like we know that these conversations don't align with who we are in Christ, but somehow we get easily sucked into agreeing with people that aren't acting Christ-like.  Sometimes we're even the ones creating the conversation.  Other times I find myself re-routing conversation to show the light of Christ, but then think or speak negatively about the person I've redirected.  That's not right either. 

Years ago, in our children's church "Camp Kingdom Come", we had a program called the KNOT.  I believe I've written about it in my blog previously.

KNOT stands for the following:

K - Kind
N - Necessary
O - Optimistic
T - True

Our lesson was that unless the words that we said were all of the above, then they didn't need said.  I want to remember this to keep my actions in conformance with a Christ-like heart.  I think the KNOT is a good template for me to remember not just for the way I treat people, but even in my conversations with others. Is the conversation appropriate?  Does it match who I want to be or is it what others want to hear? My goal in seminary this quarter is transformation, which means conformity needs to be a thing of the past. What's your goal in your faith life?  Do you want people to see Christ in you or to see a reflection of those around you?

Friday, January 10, 2014

"Plans"


My anxious heart bounces back and forth between my plans, concern for others, and plans being made for me by others.  It has come to my attention that in order to move forward in this ministry journey I must calm my racing heart, slow my mind, and fall to my knees.  Only in prayer and constant submission to God will I be able to see my path clearly. 

We are often so concerned with our plans, our daily tasks, and the needs of others that we forget to step back to see where God fits in all of it.  A friend reminded me that sometimes we are so busy working for God that we miss allowing Him to work through us.  

I want to give my life to the work of the Lord, but as I plan perhaps I should consult Him before I act.  My prayer is that you will consider God's purpose and will in your plans too. In their hearts humans plan their course,but the Lord establishes their steps. - Proverbs 16:9 

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.- 1 Corinthians 15:58



Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Gift of Giving


Who loves the holidays?  Thanksgiving, Christmas, the New Year?  I do.  I love them all so much.  I love the ambiance.  I love the time with loved ones.  I love the celebration of our Lord and the overwhelming gratitude we give this time of year.  I love it all!!

I love to watch the way people open their hearts more this time of year.  There's a warmth that comes with dropping your coins into the Salvation Army Bucket or giving the extra dollar at your local grocery to feed families in need. All of those things help so much.  I'll tell you something though.  There's something even more special in developing an actual plan for our giving this time of year.  When we look around at our communities to discover the places in the most need, adopt a family, or participate in something like Project Christmas Child, we become intentional about caring for others. 

I encourage you to consider your holiday plan for others.  While you're busy with cooking, shopping, and decorating, think of ways that you can reach out.  Share the plan with your family and involve everyone. There are many things you can do to bring holiday cheer to others.  All of the giving that happens this time of year helps others into the next year too. It can be such a wonderful thing. 

Even if you don't find the kind of joy that I do in the season, I believe you'll find yourself blessed by giving. It is an incredible gift to be able to know the joy and relief you can bring to others.  We are meant to be caring for humankind.  Who knows? Your wonderful holiday plan could extend to serving year round!  

If you don't know how to go about finding ways to help, ask around your community.  Look for local opportunities. Try http://www.volunteermatch.org/. There are many resources to help. Bless you all this season.  Enjoy the gift of giving!  

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ - Matthew 25:35-40

Friday, November 22, 2013

Damage


Several weeks ago I had an argument with another parent.  Our girls had a small dispute and we intervened. We both had our own view of the situation and perhaps neither was correct.  We did not handle it well and both took great offense to the other.  The damage that was done was not easily reconciled. Our girls seem to have healed and moved on, continuing their long term friendship, but more via text and conversation than spending the time together that they used to spend.  We moms, however, have spoken little since the incident.

Since the incident I have continually considered that regardless of who was "right" or what was said that I wish that I had responded in a manner consistent with my calling.  I find it most difficult to respond in patience and love when my children are the center of the confrontation.  I know that feelings were hurt as other friends moved into the picture and I'm sad for the strain that was put on both girls.  I think only positive things about her friend and continue to love and adore the girl. I hope that their friendship is fully healed.  I pray that the other mother forgives Sam for any hurt she felt she had caused. Prior to the incident the mother had said incredibly kind things about Sam and I hope she can see those things again.

Unfortunately, since the incident the other family has faced an incredible struggle.  A struggle that breaks my heart.  A struggle that I pray for constantly and with all of my heart.  I can't help but think that if I had held my tongue and responded in love in the midst of our former confrontation that I could offer love and support to her during this time.  As it stands, all I can do is pray.

There is so much to be learned from this single incident.  None of us knows what will happen to those around us.  We have no idea what damage can be done by a quick response or poisonous tongue.  In all situations, responding with the love of Christ can do no harm, while angry responses can leave relationships damaged and keep us from being who we are meant to be in Him.

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. - Proverbs 21:23

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Journey Update


I'm back friends. I go through periods of being able to write. There are times that I become so busy that my blog is the first thing to go, and I miss it.  I miss corresponding with my readers and I miss sharing my experiences in ministry.  I find so much joy from the encouragement from my spiritual mentors and friends who share in my journey on here.

I wanted to share a few things.  Since I knew I would be traveling for work a great deal this quarter I took my seminary classes through intensive courses that only lasted a week at the beginning of the quarter. I have been traveling for several weeks and miss my seminary life. It has been interesting to balance ministry and my full time job.  Sometimes it's like being in two separate worlds and I long for consistency in ministry. Other times I feel that my job can be a branch of my ministry since I have the opportunity to help people and share with them.

I have some new things to share since my last post.  I had the opportunity to preach at my home church and at another small church a few times this fall.  That was an incredible blessing.  I met new people that truly touched my heart.  I learned some new things about the church and felt like I had a glimpse of God's plan for me.

I will be interviewing with the district committee on Monday, December 9th at 10:20 am. This is the interview that will determine if I will be certified for an appointment.  I would greatly appreciate your prayers. I am excited, nervous, and if I were to be candid, uncertain and the tiniest bit fearful of this endeavor. I am surprised to be this far on the ministry path in my second year of seminary, but grateful.

There are many areas that I work to gain discipline and behaviors that I'm working to change, but I feel God's presence in my life and pray constantly for His guidance.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. - Proverbs 16:9

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Worth Sharing: Seeing a Woman: A Conversation Between a Father and Son

Seeing a Woman: A Conversation Between a Father and Son
Posted: 09/20/2013 11:25 am

Dad And Son
Someday I am going to have to have the conversation with my son. No, not the conversation all parents dread giving and all kids are mortified having. I enjoy making people uncomfortable so that conversation should be fun.

No, I'm talking about another conversation. The one that happens after I catch his eye doing what male eyes do well -- following an object of lust. We will probably be out at the mall, because that's what dads do with their sons, and I'll catch the look. Maybe we'll go to the beach and see it. Doesn't matter where it is, there will come a time when I will see it. And then it will be time for this conversation.
Hey, come here. Let me talk to you. I saw you look at her. I'm not judging you or shaming you. I know why you did. I get it. But we have to talk about it because how you look at a woman matters.
A lot of people will try and tell you that a woman should watch how she dresses so she doesn't tempt you to look at her wrongly. Here is what I will tell you. It is a woman's responsibility to dress herself in the morning. It is your responsibility to look at her like a human being regardless of what she is wearing. You will feel the temptation to blame her for your wandering eyes because of what she is wearing -- or not wearing. But don't. Don't play the victim. You are not a helpless victim when it comes to your eyes. You have full control over them. Exercise that control. Train them to look her in the eyes. Discipline yourself to see her, not her clothes or her body. The moment you play the victim you fall into the lie that you are simply embodied reaction to external stimuli unable to determine right from wrong, human from flesh.
Look right at me. That is a ridiculous lie.
You are more than that. And the woman you are looking at is more than her clothes. She is more than her body. There is a lot of talk about how men objectify women, and largely, it is true. Humans objectify the things they love in effort to control them. If you truly love a person, do not reduce them to an object. The moment you objectify another human -- woman or man, you give up your humanity.
There are two views regarding a woman's dress code that you will be pressured to buy into. One view will say that women need to dress to get the attention of men. The other view will say women need to dress to protect men from themselves. Son, you are better than both of these. A woman, or any human being, should not have to dress to get your attention. You should give them the full attention they deserve simply because they are a fellow human being. On the other side, a woman should not have to feel like she needs to protect you from you. You need to be in control of you.
Unfortunately, much of how the sexes interact with each is rooted in fear. Fear of rejection, fear of abuse, fear of being out of control. In some ways, the church has added to this. We fear each other because we have been taught the other is dangerous. We've been taught a woman's body will cause men to sin. We're told that if a woman shows too much of her body men will do stupid things. Let's be clear: a woman's body is not dangerous to you. Her body will not cause you harm. It will not make you do stupid things. If you do stupid things it is because you chose to do stupid things. So don't contribute to the fear that exists between men and women.
A woman's body is beautiful and wonderful and mysterious. Respect it by respecting her as an individual with hopes and dreams and experiences and emotions and longings. Let her be confident. Encourage her confidence. But don't do all this because she is weaker. That's the biggest bunch of crap out there. Women are not weaker than men. They are not the weaker sex. They are the other sex.
I'm not telling you to not look at women. Just the opposite. I'm telling you to see women. Really see them. Not just with your eyes, but with your heart. Don't look to see something that tickles your senses, but see a human being.
My hope is that changing how you see women will change how you are around them. Don't just be around women. Be with women.
Because in the end, they want to be with you. Without fear of being judged, or shamed, or condemned, or objectified, or being treated as other. And that's not just what women want. That's what people want.
Ultimately, it's what you want.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pray for Kairos


Today 47 men are going into NCCC Prison in Marion. They will be witnessing to 42 inmates and showing them the love of God.  The power of God is present in these events and great change occurs.  We pray deeply for Steve Engle, Justin Reedy, Ken Devinney, Carl Scheffer, Dave Powell, Glen Needham, Jim Troutman, Hank Wessel, and all others who lead and assist the team.  We pray for each person in the prison. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers all weekend.

God, unleash your Holy Spirit so that these men may reach the hearts of those in NCCC in Marion.  May your great power and love be felt by every person there.  May these men find hope, forgiveness, and renewal.  May this weekend lead to a life of hungering for and trusting in you.  In Jesus' Holy Name, Amen.

"God's power is unleashed when God's people pray." 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sportsmanship Begins with Us

A few weeks ago all three of my kids had an amazing weekend of winning "All Star", "All American" and "MVP" type awards in their perspective sports.  I was so incredibly proud of their talents and of all of their hard work to achieve these things.  At the same time, those awards got me thinking.  Despite the fact that I will lift my children up for these accomplishments and my heart swells at their personal joy, it is much more important to me that they are enjoying these endeavors.  It is important to me that they are loving life and showing kindness and sportsmanship to those around them.  It is important to me that they don't lose sight of what life means and who they are beyond these achievements.

Don't get me wrong. I expect my children to do their absolute best, and I enforce commitment. I used to be much more focused on winning, but something changed. I'm still not a quiet mom at the sporting events.  I love a healthy competition and I get beyond excited when the kids do something great. However, I want to be the parent yelling for other peoples' kids as well; one who lifts others up and even acknowledges a play well done by the competition.  I look at my children and think that they are great athletes, but great athletes are not who they are...  They are much more.  An injury could take away their ability to succeed in sports, but that wouldn't change who they are inside. I think it's important that we give our children the opportunity to discover who they are and give them a foundation for treating others well.

Great sportsmanship and personal confidence begin with us as parents.  The way we react to the game, to our personal competitions in life, and to our children's success influences them more than what we say to them. If we treat our children poorly based on their performance, they aren't going to love the game. If we appear to have a rivalry with another child or parent, our child will follow that lead.  If we have negative attitudes toward our peers, then that boils over into how our children treat their peers. Obviously, this goes far beyond the spectrum of sports, but I've noticed the impact in that area.  As parents, sometimes we forget that our children are participating in a game, not a life altering event. Our attitudes toward them, the expectation of their attitudes toward others, and our belief in who they really are is what is truly life altering.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Recharge


I am in heaven today.  As much of an extrovert as I am, and as much as I love people, I absolutely need days like this to recharge.  I am lucky to be able to work from home and to have knocked out my administrative work early.  I have finished two small projects, had a quiet, healthy lunch, and have enjoyed the serene moments with my cup of cinnamon coffee.  I have absolutely no place to be and nothing that must be completed immediately, and I plan to keep it that way.  I have projects that have required my attention and have fallen behind, and it's so nice to be able to finish them without rushing.  I can alternate quiet time with God and finishing projects to music.  There is something peaceful about the overcast sky and random drum of the rain on the window.  It makes me feel like it's okay to hole up inside. I might even take a nap!

I think it is so important for us to take time to re-energize in the way that suits us best.  I have often referred to the fact that in the Bible God commands us multiple times to take a Sabbath.  There's a reason for that.  It is a gift!  There is something to be said for prayer and meditation with God during these moments of rejuvenation.  His Spirit is the best energizer of all!


For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. - Ephesians 3:14-21

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ministry Matters™ Blog: Nine Questions...

I had to laugh at the irony of this blog post after a friend posted it on Facebook.  I often wonder at these things.  

Nine Questions Church Visitors Aren't Asking (...but churches are still trying to answer)
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  1. 1.) So... how soon can I get involved with your committees?

  2. 2.) Can I get a longer bulletin—maybe something with more detail?

  3. 3.) Will you please single me out in front of all the people during worship this morning?

  4. 4.) Will you please send some "callers" by my house later and interrupt me while I fix dinner?

  5. 5.) Can you please seat us in those uncomfortable pews with our fidgety kids and aging parents?

  6. 6.) How quickly can I fill out a pledge card?

  7. 7.) Does this church have weekly meetings, rehearsals and other activities that will consume most of our family's free time?

  8. 8.) I need more paperwork! Can you give me a folder filled with glossy pamphlets, old newsletters and denominational statements of belief?

  9. 9.) During the worship service, can someone with a monotone voice speak (at length) about all the insider church happenings and people's private health matters? I find this so inspiring.

  10. Excerpted from MinistryMatters.com. Read more: http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/blog/entry/3151/nine-questions-church-visitors-arent-asking-but-churches-are-still-trying-to-answer#ixzz2bUYN2YEj 
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Christian or Christ Follower?


I'm not familiar with Kris Vallotton or KVMinistries.  I simply share a post that speaks truth to me. 

Kris Vallotton KVMinistries.com

Faith is not a relationship with God. Faith is the connection to a relationship with God. In the book of Acts the Church was called "the Way", (a walk) not "the Faith". I'm concerned that Christianity has become a philosophy to believe in instead of a Person we follow.

I'm concerned that we are making converts to Christianity that are not followers of Jesus. Christianity has often, historically not followed Jesus. Christianity has performed terrible atrocities, started wars, oppressed women, encouraged slavery, and imprisoned its detractors. All these things that Christianity propagated were taught against by Jesus Christ Himself. He said love your enemies, pray for those persecute you, and he who slaps you on the right cheek give him your left cheek also. He was opposed to violence, loved people who didn't love Him, and forgave the people who crucified Him.

Jesus taught and lived the highest moral standard ever conceived by humanity. But nowadays people call themselves Christians and live however they want to. They entrench themselves in sin and yet insist that they are following Jesus. They may be Christians who acknowledge a belief system that they don't follow but their lifestyle bares no semblance to the life of Jesus.

Virtueless Christians and powerless believers are altering the definition of Christianity but they can't change the path of Jesus Christ. I am increasingly concerned about being identified as a Christian as defined in the 21st-century and by 2000 years of history. Yet I find myself more passionate about following Jesus than I've ever been in my entire life. I don't mind bearing the identity of being a fool for Christ, but I am resistant to being identified as a foolish Christian. The two are no longer synonymous.