Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We Will Serve the Lord

My friend and ministry partner (our husbands are pastors together here at our church), Julie, is one of the most creative people I know. She is a photographer and took our family pics for Christmas. She made a collection of 3 of the photos for us on a board with Joshua 24:15, in part, printed on it: As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. We used that verse in our Judges study on one of the first 2 weeks of the study. That has everything to do with the book of Judges. When Joshua said those words to the people of Israel, they replied, "Oh yeah, us too. Forbid it that we would ever serve false gods." (My interpretation, obviously) Yet, there they were time and again, serving those false gods.

I looked up the word serve in my Lexical Aids this morning. The original word is Avadh and it has these meanings: "to serve, be made to serve, be served...(other similar words) worship, cause to worship." There's a few sentences giving examples of the word used in Scripture then this sentence, "Service to God is an exhilarating experience which does not seem like bondage at all."

an exhilarating experience which does not seem like bondage at all...

The Apostle Paul repeatedly referred to himself as "a bond-servant of Christ." (see Romans 1:1, for example) Paul made a willing choice to give up his own rights, desires, and will in order to serve the Lord. I wonder if, for Paul, it was an exhilarating experience that did not seem like bondage at all. We know by reading his letters that he definitely suffered hardship. He stuck with it. He didn't give up. In what was likely his last letter, Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:17-18, "But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me...The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever." (NASB)

We will serve the Lord is about more than going to church and attending Bible study. I actually love going to church. I love being with a community of believers and I love corporate worship. I am a church girl. No doubt about it. But, that's not where my service is. And that cannot be the sum total of my worship. I worship privately at home. I worship by serving others. I serve God by serving others. To the glory of His great name.

And, it is an exhilarating experience which does not seem like bondage at all.

Serving the King,


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

He Leads Me Beside Quiet Waters

Across from my seat here in my home office, hanging on the wall, is a Larry Dyke painting. It was given to us on our 5th anniversary at Crescent Park Baptist Church. Its title is Shades of Spring and is one of 3 paintings or prints that we have by Larry Dyke. This one is a river or stream in what must be Texas in Spring because of the Bluebonnets and other wildflowers. Today it made me think of the 23rd Psalm, particularly verse 2 -- "He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters." (NASB)

I am thankful for green pastures and still or quiet waters. I'm thankful for the strength and rest that comes in such places for, certainly, the rushing waters, storms and barren places are out there as well. I'm thankful for those as well, although that's hard to write.

I am reading in Job today. God asked Job, "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? ... Who sets its measurements? (Job 38:4,5, in part) It goes on as God describes nature and His creation. It was God, btw, that created it all. He spoke it into being and breathed life into it all.

And, He decides about the quiet waters and the green pastures. Lead me there because that's where I want to be. But, thank You, too, that You are there in the storm, in the rushing waters, in the barren places.

In Your presence is where I want to be.

Serving the Creator,


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Finally, A Month Later

Today the college boy goes back to -- college. Classes start today but he was really sick over the weekend and his first class is not until noon so he's headed back this morning. We had a long weekend because of the MLK holiday - which, btw, was filled with DNow weekend and a house full of girls - following a short week last week because of high school finals. I was beginning to wonder if we would ever get back into a routine of normalness. Actually, not that I know what normal is and not that we ever really get there.

I am in my home office working on our Fusion project. It was super exciting to have over 100 people in class Sunday evening. We are making some adjustments - like changing rooms because the original space is too small for our attendance - but I am looking forward to the next several weeks. Here's what I know for sure, people are hurting and lives, marriages are falling apart. Studying God's Word is vital, I believe, but ONLY IF those who study are willing to follow it, to obey what God instructs through the written word. I praying for that over every person who was in class this week.

I'm also looking for something to do. I love working at home, I love coordinating missions, I love writing and teaching with Johnny, I love prepping for my Life Group, but I feel like I should be doing more. I am laughing outloud at myself -- doing more?? That's crazy. Who says that? I believe, however, if I'm doing what I'm supposed to that God will help me accomplish all that He has called me to do. No more, no less.

So, I've got to get off here and on with my first day back to all kids in school (yes, the college boy just left) and first day of getting a routine established for 2011.

Serving the King,


Thursday, January 13, 2011


Your life can change in a heartbeat, in a breath. Gunshots can ring out and change the world as you know it in an instant. You could hear the words, "You have cancer" or you could be instantly stricken with another illness or disease. You or someone you love could be involved in an accident.

How would we respond in the face of adversity or loss? Will we ever really know until that moment? Because I would like to think I would be strong and trusting but those who know me well know I am a little high strung. I would like to think I would rest in His enormous grace and comfort but, really, I don't know. Can I be honest? I hope I don't have to find out.

Some heavy things are going on this week. No, not in my life or in the life of my family. I am sorrowful for the events in Arizona and for tragedies in Australia. I grieve for those I know who are grieving. I am praying for those I know right now are counting on God for a miraculous recovery. I know for sure He is able. I know it. For sure.

But, then there's the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Agednego. They knew God was able to rescue but they said, "But even if He does not rescue us..." (Daniel 3:18, in part). Even if He chose not to rescue they would not worship a false god or put their trust in another.

Even if things don't turn out the way I want or expect, will I choose to worship God alone and put my trust completely on Him? I would like to think so.

So, here' the deal. Don't wait for that emergency call. We have got to be in shape spiritually so that when we need that spiritual strength, strength in the face of unforeseen change, we'll be ready.

How are you getting ready today?

Serving the King,


Tuesday, January 11, 2011


So, what's up with you? We now have a BCS National Champion - exciting game down to the wire, by the way, and I could care less about who won. Week 2 of getting back into the routine after the Christmas break. We finally got everything back in the attic just this morning. I actually had to buy more storage tubs this year. I didn't think I bought too much new stuff...I guess I did. Some people are getting lots & lots of snow that, apparently, will be around for a couple of more days since the freezing temps aren't going to allow it to melt. It snowed here for hours on Sunday but nothing stuck or accumulated. It is stinkin' cold, though, and I'm thankful for a warm and cozy house. Especially since I saw a report on the news last night about a tent-city over in Fort Worth. Yeah, people sleeping in tents because that's their only option. And, I know that's the case all over the world - people just trying to find a place to lay their weary heads down whether it is in the hot or the cold. The rhetoric is getting heated out there. No, it was not a particular political party's fault that a CRAZY gunman opened fire on a crowd of people. That was tragic and horrible. I keep hearing about the 9-year old girl who was killed. I cannot imagine the anguish of her parents. Yet, I heard about another little, bitty girl that was accidentally shot this weekend. It hasn't been on the news and no one is telling her life story. As caught up as we are in the story of one, there was just as precious of a life - many lives over the weekend, I suppose - that was lost over the weekend. In fact, according to the World Vision website, a child dies from hunger-related issues every 7 seconds. Every 7 seconds. So they have a counter on the website that changes every 7 seconds that goes through the day and counts how many children die each day from hunger-related issues. When I checked it this morning - the morning - it was already up to 5,338 children. I haven't seen that on the news today.

Well, that's a bunch of randomness that started with football and ended in world hunger. Such is my life on 1/11/11.

Serving the King,


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Rescue, Restore, Refine

This coming Sunday night is the first night of Fusion for 2011. Fusion is an adult Bible study written and taught by my best friend and pastor, Johnny Dickerson, and myself. Part of our focus is to get couples studying God's Word together and talking about how God can and is working in them and through them. We feel this is vital not only to the spiritual health of the individual but to the health of the marriage. And, ultimately, to the next generation. This semester we are in the book of Judges. Oh, I love this book so much. But, verse 10 of chapter 2 is chilling. Check this out:

"That whole generation was also gathered to their ancestors. After them another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works He had done for Israel." (HCSB)

The next generation did not know God.  That's not what I want for our next generation. There are various reports about the number of students that will walk away from the church when they leave their parents' home. I've seen 61 and 70%. The survey that reported 70% noted that some will eventually return.  Here's the deal - God's Word commands that we, as parents, teach God's Word to our kids. Additionally, we must model a life devoted to the study of and obedience to the Scriptures.

I get it about the cycles of the book of Judges. It's the story of my life. Sunday night at our church we sang the old hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessings. While I am more of a Passion and HillSong girl on my iPod, I still have an affection for the great hymns of our faith. Part of that hymn contains these words: "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love." Do you get that? Has that ever been you?

I read the below paragraph to my LifeGroup this past Sunday. It's from the book Praise Habit by David Crowder. Oh yes, that would be the David Crowder of the David Crowder Band, my former-favorite band of all time. (It has only been replaced by my sons' band.) The book is, oddly enough, about the habit of praise. Here's what I read to my class:

"For most of us this natural ritual of praise, this offering of our ordinary life, this new reality of identity, is as foreign as crop dusting or macromolecular biophysics. We have forgotten. We have held our breath too long. Our rhythm is thrown off. There are extra firings; nerve endings have grown that set our hearts beating after other stuff. Lesser things that captured our affections have displaced the reality of the centrality of God... This is disheartening in that we know our living could be deeper and we have settled..." (page 40, emphasis mine)

Lesser things, prone to wander. When I know, I know, where the abundant life is, the security and the peace and the assurance.

An old friend (she's not old, she's in her early 20s, I've just known her for a while) gave me the DC book just before I went to India. DC used the word rescue over and over in the book. In the meantime, I have been studying, meditating, probing the book of Judges for over a year. God rescued the Israelites when they cried out to Him in desperation. His desire was to restore the covenant relationship between the people and Himself. Once people are rescued and the relationship restored, I think God wants to refine His people. He said, "Be holy, as I am holy." While we will never stop sinning altogether, confession is vital to that refining process.

So the culmination of weeks and weeks, months and months, of study and prep begin this Sunday night. I am anxious and anticipating what God will do, what He will teach each of us (yes, including me) over the next 9 weeks. I am excited about getting to know more of our church family - you know, the ones I don't usually come in contact with but will be in class. I am hopeful that hearts will be open and changed by the powerful words in Judges. I hope that I am forever changed, refined once again.

Serving the King,