Thursday, October 29, 2009

Big Boxes Little Print

A big (well kind of big) box arrived for me yesterday from VocalPoint. Inside was this:

A free 28-day supply of wrinkle smoothing cream.

I love getting free face cream. However, I am thinking if I am of the age to need something to smooth out wrinkles, the print should be larger than this:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Enough Blood

I walked into chapel this morning with an already overwhelming sense of my sins that had been forgiven. I desperately needed to attend the chapel service this morning even though I knew I didn't have time to be there. Friday chapel service generally has a sparse attendance due to lack of students on campus. Today was no exception.

As the very moving devotion was read, it depicted the cost of the blood of Christ and in our thirst it is enough for each of us. The tears began to flow down my cheeks instantly. As the service went on, a short video depicting various scenes from the life of Christ was played. Everything from raising the dead to healing the sick to casting out demons to forgiveness of a woman caught in adultery played before our eyes. Without fail, the scene went onto Christ being escorted away to ultimately his crucifixion. More tears on the outside of my cheeks and even more flowing on the inside of my heart.

We were then lead into a time of communion. We were instructed to come forward, take the bread and a cup and then form a circle. I was near the end of the line. As we were getting closer, from the pulpit came the words that someone would need to get more juice - there wasn't enough. I could see that I was not going to get a cup and would have to wait. A horrific thought washed over me - what if Christ's blood hadn't been enough for everyone and all their sins? Oh, I know that it is and it was, but what if you stood in line and as you got to the front you were told Christ didn't have enough blood for you. I reached for the bread and was preparing to take my spot in the circle until the other cups arrived. When I looked down there was one cup left. I must have counted wrong. But then, what about my dear friend Reggie standing behind me. If this scene were real in the spiritual sense and my taking the last cup meant that Reggie wouldn't receive forgiveness of his sins - would I, could I, take it? Another wave of emotion washed over me and through me. The thought of ever standing in line before the Almighty God and being told that there wasn't enough blood for me seared the depths of my soul. Praise God that it is not so. The blood of Christ is more than enough for me and my sins.

At last the additional cups were brought to the front of the chapel. The two gentlemen beside me took their cups and then the young man in front of me reached over to take his. I hadn't realized that he had passed up his opportunity so that I might have a cup. Do I truly know the cost of sacrifice? Yes, it was just a cup of juice in a small chapel service. But perhaps it would serve us all to occasionally remember the depth and breadth of the sins in our own life that Christ's blood covered and then to meditate on the immeasurable power and greatness of His Blood - because there is enough.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Crawling Out and Moving Forward

It seems like the last few weeks have meshed into one because of our insane schedule. This week was to be back to 'normal' for us. Until I came home from work yesterday not feeling well and then spent all day in bed today. Just like our life has been - lots of stuff goin' on- so was my body. I didn't know if I should take something for the flu, intestinal flu, migraine, sore throat, sinuses, or a bad cold. No sooner did a symptom seem to settle in and I thought I knew what it was - then it would move. Mercy. Maybe this means I just got all the sickness for the year out in 24 hours!

At any rate, it's time to slow down. I don't have to do everything. I need to do what God has called me to do and sadly I am too busy too often to listen or to be available to Him. It's okay to say 'no' to invites, activities and my own personal agenda. It's not okay to put God on hold. It's time to reprioritize and be diligent in not only my pursuit of God, but also in the time I devote to my marriage and my family.

In three months our first grandchild will be here. It is a new season of life. And I am just fine with that! Actually ecstatic about it!!!! So I am crawling out from under the unnecessary busyness and the expectations of others and moving toward a life that focuses on my marriage, my children and son-in-law, my grandchild and a much deeper, more intimate pursuit of God. He has been whispering some things in my heart for awhile, it's time to listen and follow.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Our Ordinary Life

Two weeks that went a little like this: prep for bible study, women's bible study, men's bible study (my husband - not me), trip to Columbus for service at the Vineyard, trip to Lexington for Emmaus gathering, run husband to get truck window fixed, get wedding/shower gifts, mentor, shop for gifts, wedding, church, bridal shower, prep for bible study, repeat bible studies, small group, out to dinner with the folks, collapse. That was in our 'free time' each evening and weekend after work. As a result the laundry room looked like it just vomited clothes all over the laundry room.

And my kitchen table . . .

Friday night FREE - and so now the laundry room and my kitchen table look like this.

So can you please explain this to me?

No matches to be found. No socks just laying around the house. And no more laundry to do.

Saturday a relaxing trip with my husband to here.

A nice Fall day, beautiful drive in the country and this . . . .

Ahhh a fabulous array of cheeses, lunch meats and bulk foods. Life is good. Time to relax a bit.

Sunday morning head out the door for a quick errand before church. Greeted by our son's dog. The dog that is supposed to either be locked in the garage or tied up outside. Running free. Mmmmm . . . what is that smell? It smells strangely like skunk!!!!! Get my son up, avoid further contact with the dog. Walk down the sidewalk only to discover that as a token of the dog's appreciation for us she has brought us one of our neighbor's Sunday papers. Possibly as a bribe for her bad behavior during the night?

Wouldn't trade a minute of my ordinary life with my family for anything!

Friday, October 9, 2009


I am facing one of those inner flesh against soul battles today. Self and pride versus compassion and care. I have recently been placed in a situation that involves having and demonstrating a true compassion for someone I know. Having true compassion is far from easy when it effects you and your time and costs you something. Then it is a whole different game.

And so I confess, I didn't want to have compassion after day 10 or whatever day we are on. In a moment of complete selfishness, I wanted to say "woe is ME - Does anybody notice the sacrifice I AM making?" After all, my health is fine, my family is fine so shouldn't it be about me instead of the person who is going through a horribly difficult time. (If you don't know me - I mean that sarcastically). But sadly, my feelings probably weren't very far from that if someone had tapped into my brain and heart and displayed my feelings on a screen.

The whole situation just brought some of the ugliness inside of me right up to the surface. I had to admit that having compassion and empathy are easy if we only have to pay lip service to it. It isn't so easy if it causes stress in our lives or inconveniences us in any way. It is even harder if you feel like no one notices the sacrifices you are making on behalf of someone else. I know, I know, I know - totally selfish. I'm sorry. God and I are working this one out in me.

Oh LORD, help me to have a right heart and spirit and to love others as you have loved us. No greater sacrifice was made than the one you made on my behalf. Forgive me when I fall short. Transform my heart, mind and soul into a likeness of you. Don't give up on me - I want to finish the race strong.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Do Mentors Matter?

Does having or being a mentor really make a difference? Does it really matter if you are one or have one? My answer would be a resounding "Yes!". My husband and I are both far richer in Christ and in our relationship because of the time and effort that two people invested in us individually. Soon after my husband came to know the Lord, a man from our church began reaching out to Kenny and asked if he could disciple him. Almost immediately after they started meeting I could see a difference in my husband and I could definitely tell the weeks they did not meet. It was that significant!

My mentor also happened to be my pastor's mom. We wound up sharing an office for over a year. During that time and in the years and months to follow, I was mentored by a woman who would push me and test me and pray for me like no one else. I always knew when she was about to "speak truth" to me - in she would walk with her bible already open and her journal underneath it. I cannot possibly begin to place a value on what I gained during that time. It was absolutely priceless.

My mentor moved to China, which made weekly meetings a bit difficult. Soon after her move, God started rearranging a multitude of things in my own life. As a result, I wasn't being mentored and I wasn't mentoring anyone either. I was doing bible studies and retreats and other groups, but not the one-on-one mentoring.

Hallelujah the drought is over! Last Saturday I met with a wonderful woman to begin a season of one-on-one mentoring. The beautiful thing about mentoring is that you both change. I didn't realize how desperately I needed it until after we had met.

So are you mentoring someone or is someone mentoring you? As I watched the Today show this morning, even the newscasters were talking about how important mentoring is and that they would never be where they were without one. After Paul's conversion in Acts, he spent time with the disciples being taught and trained. Elijah and Elisha. Jesus and Peter, James and John. The scriptures set the example that discipling and mentoring is to be a part of our Christian walk.

It is good to learn from others who have gone before you and been through the fire a few times. Accountability matters. Christ never tells us to go it alone. He sent them out two-by-two (and not just on the ark). We also need to take what we have learned and pass it on to others. Iron really does sharpen iron.

Yes, it takes time. It takes commitment. It takes vulnerability and humility. But the rewards far outweigh any sacrifice we might make. Mentoring matters and I thank God for my mentor, Mary Hill, and for the woman I am blessed to mentor in this season of life.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

When's Jesus Coming

Yesterday we attended our nephew's wedding. In front of us sat the most darling little blond haired boy. I am guessing his age around 3 or 4. The cutest little mohawk and the brightest eyes. He was adorable and a chatterbox. Not the rude kind of chatterbox, but the kind that his mom just kept whispering 'shhh - sit down'. He was inquisitive and friendly. There was a world that he needed to know about right there in the middle of that church. As we sat there with the music playing before the wedding ceremony began, the little boy piped up and asked his momma "when's Jesus coming out?" Oh the joy of a child.

When's Jesus coming out? The question wasn't when is Jesus coming back - but when is He coming out. Can you imagine what our church's would be like if we all went with the expectation of having an encounter with Jesus right there in the middle of the sanctuary. I'm not talking about putting pastors on pedestals in the place of Jesus. Oh no. I'm talking about that thrill that comes from being in a service where the Holy Spirit is not only welcome, but expected. A place where people come genuinely wanting to hear from the Lord and room is made for Him in the church and in their lives.

Too often we find that Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit have been programmed right out of the church service. I certainly appreciate and expect pastors to have prepared for the service. They have a biblical duty to do so as they lead God's sheep. But I also believe they have a biblical duty to allow God to stir their hearts to change the message and what takes places on Sunday morning. If churches program their services too tightly, (i.e. 3 min. video, 24.5 min. sermon, 1.5 min. announcements, 10 min. singing, dismiss congregation - no exceptions) there is little room for the moving of the Spirit. The Spirit may decide to move right there in the middle of that second worship song and not really care what was about to come next.

But in order to know if the Spirit is moving right there in the middle of the second worship song or during the prayer time, we have to be attentive to the Spirit. We have to have an attitude of heart that wants to know "When's Jesus Coming Out?" As followers of Christ, we ought to live our lives not only thinking about the ultimate return of Jesus, but on a daily basis desiring an encounter with Him.

That sweet little boy wasn't going to miss it if Jesus came walking through the doors of the church. I reckon he would have stood up right in the middle of the wedding vows and shouted if had seen Jesus. He was excited and looking for him. Are you?