Archive | December 2011

Geography

Isn’t God good to give us guidance (unintended alliteration there, but hey– it works!)?  Sometimes I definitely wish He shouted, rather than whispered, and I must admit that there are many times when it’s unclear what direction to go, at least for a time.  That being said, there are other times when you follow what you believe God is directing you to do and there are such beautiful surprises and blessings that come from obedience.

This weekend I was telling a new friend about how we ended up at the church we both attend.  For 10 years we had gone to a church in Shawnee, which is about a 20 min. drive from our home in Olathe.  Our kids were both born and dedicated in that church (well, not literally there– we did actually go to the hospital– but you know what I mean), we were very involved, it was a great church that we loved.

Over time, we kept feeling this pull to be part of a faith community that was closer to the community in which we live, work, etc.  We wanted to be more involved throughout the week with our church family.  We also have a passion for inviting people in our lives to experience God through the local church.

Just over a year ago, we transitioned to Indian Creek Community Church, just a few minutes’ drive from our house.  It was a difficult transition, both for us and for our children.   For the first few months, I really questioned whether we had made the right decision.  We didn’t know anyone at our new church and it was uncomfortable at first, even though people were very welcoming.  It’s hard to go from a place where you’re known to a place where you’re unknown!  Thank goodness we didn’t give up just because it was a little challenging.

In this past year, we’ve really gotten to see the church be the church in so many different ways.  We live close enough that when someone from our community group is sick, I can run a meal over to them.  When there are devastating losses, I can swing by and pray/talk/cry with that person.  When I invite a friend to church, they say, “oh, I know right where that is, it’s just down the street from me!”.

Geography was always a challenge when I was growing up.  Not the subject, the reality!  Extended family was always quite a distance, so I mostly got to see my grandparents on holidays.  Then we moved to Africa when I was a sophmore in high school.  For most of my college career, my parents lived 10,000 miles away (they were still in Africa).  God blessed their sacrifice in many ways as well.  Now, as an adult, God has given me the blessing of putting down roots and staying in one place for an extended period of time!

I love the investment we are making in our community with our time and with our resources.  Our proximity to those with whom we’re “doing life” is a huge blessing.  Yay for geography!

 

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Some random thoughts

This post is going to be a collection of things that do not go together!  Hence the title.

  • I really like polka dots. Especially when they’re filled with coffee

    My daily cup!

    .

 

  • Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Heb. 12:2

This is my Bible from when I was 12!

  • It gives me great enjoyment to watch my children learn and excel.  I imagine God feels the same way about us

    Sophia playing at Westin Crown Center

    !

 

  • I’m super proud of myself for getting Christmas pictures taken, cards made, and even a few sent/handed out already.  I typically don’t do this till after Christmas.
  • In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him.  Crazy Love by Francis Chan

This is a book worth checking out!

  • I feel incredibly blessed to have a husband who is available to me and our children, both with his time as well as his emotional involvement in the family.
  • I really, really do not like being cold.  I am up the creek in this regard for the next several months.  I will survive.
  • Hilarious story from last night when we had a family meeting about some attitude issues we’re having with the kids.  After explaining the problem (which included the children’s tendency lately to be harsh and bossy [Sophia] and annoying and rough [i.e. hitting, shoving: Sam] with one another), Sophia said, “This is the reason why I want to have another sibling.  I wish you were having twins!”.  Ummm… ok.
  • We are not having more children, much less twins, just for the record.  I really hope those are not famous last words.

Just these 2 cutie pies!

  • It is very important to deliberately assess who I am spending time with.  I am always amazed at the difference in how I feel and act when I am with someone who brings out the best in me, rather than someone who makes me question myself.
  • A healthy dose of fear can bring you to a place of dependence on Jesus.  That’s always a good thing.  Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick

I hope this made you smile, maybe made you think.  Today is a great day to do something wonderful for someone– so go do it!

 

This entry was posted on December 7, 2011. 1 Comment

The Season of Giving

What would it look like if the Season of Giving lasted 365 days/year?  If my life were a Season of Giving?

This theme seems to be repeating itself in lots of ways for me lately, with the recurring message, “it is NOT MINE”.  We just did a series at church called Life, Money, Hope and one of the weeks was focused on the #1 Myth about Money– that it’s mine in the first place.  If we start, instead, with the premise that it’s all His, it makes it much easier to determine how to give and spend and save.  This is easier said than done and goes against everything our culture tells us.

In addition to the money thing, I was reading this morning in Francis Chan’s Crazy Love and came across this:

Another important element of giving is with our time.  Most of us are so busy that the thought of adding one more thing to our weekly schedule is stressful.  Instead of adding another thing to our lives, perhaps God wants us to give Him all of our time and let Him direct it as He sees fit.

As we love more genuinely and deeply, giving becomes the obvious and natural response.  Taking and keeping for ourselves becomes unattractive and imprudent

The good things we cling to are more than money; we hoard our resources, our gifts, our time, our families, our friends.  As we begin to practice regular giving, we see how ludicrous it is to hold on to the abundance God has given us and merely repeat the words thank you.

Although both of these areas of giving can be challenging, there is also a sense of freedom.  I am responsible, but not ultimately responsible!  I need to ask for wisdom, and the decisions that need to be made about spending (time, money, resources, gifts) are real, but if I really take God at His word I can trust Him with all of it.

It’s not MY business.

These are not MY kids.

This is not MY budget.

This perspective changes how I make decisions, how much fear I feel about it, and how much trust I place in God.  How about you?

Twinkies

I can confidently say that I have never, ever written about Twinkies. And really, that is not at all what this post is going to be about. It’s just an analogy I came across this morning, but I thought it would make for an intriguing title!

I’m reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan and he’s been talking about “running toward Christ”, asking God to help you love Him more. Too often we play it safe, wanting tag Jesus on at the end– or anywhere else, for that matter– of a list of the important things in our life. He doesn’t want to be “one among many”, He wants to be our everything. Chan says, “When we want God and bunch of other stuff, then that means we have thorns in our soil [referring the parable of the sower]. A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, activities, favorite sports teams, addictions, or commitments are piled on top of it… The goals of American Christianity are often a nice marriage, children who don’t swear, and good church attendance… Most of us want a balanced life that we can control, that is safe, and that does not involve suffering.”

So, back to the Twinkies. Chan gives this analogy: “Imagine going for a run while eating a box of Twinkies. Besides being self-defeating and sideache-inducing, it would also be nearly impossible– you would have to stop running in order to eat the Twinkies. In the same way, you have to stop loving and pursuing Christ in order to sin. When you are pursuing love, running toward Christ, freed up to love, serve, and give thanks without guilt, worry, or fear.”

That sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

This entry was posted on December 2, 2011. 1 Comment