Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Acting Like It

The following was one of Ed Stetzer's tweets this morning - "When a disciple understands the gospel and lives in light of it he/she will naturally be on mission." It was a short little excerpt from his blog. (I would put a link right here but I'm on my new Mac and I'm not sure how to get to his blog on this computer. You can google him to find it.) When we truly know (that experiential know, not just head knowledge) what the mission of God is, it should make a difference in the way we live. The New Testament writer James penned it like this, "But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves," (James 1:22)

Being on mission does not necessarily mean you are going on a mission trip. I think that's part of it and I encourage people all the time to go on mission trips. They can be live changing. It was for me. Being on a mission trip and living with missionaries for a week taught me a lot about what it means to live on mission.

So, what does that mean to us to live on mission on a day-to-day basis? I think it starts by finding out the heart of God. How does God feel about the lost, the hurting, the sick, the poor and defenseless? We also have to become more sensitive to the needs around us. I don't know about you, but sometimes I live like I have blinders on. I am so focused on what is going on in my family, taking care of my responsibilities, etc., that I am truly unaware of potential needs all around me. Once we know the heart of God and we observe needs around us, then we must put our faith into action. We have to act like what we say we believe. If we are truly disciples, then it is our obligation to live in light of God's mission on earth and to make His mission our mission.

Serving the King,


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Longing For The Day

Did you ever read the children's book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? That may not be the exact title but that's pretty close. It's a story about a little guy named Alexander who was just really having a bad day. All sorts of rotten stuff happens to the poor kid and he mentions wanting to escape to Australia. At the end of the book, he says something like, "Some days are like that, even in Australia." We must've read that story dozens of times when our kids were smaller. That last little bit became a catch-phrase around our house. Some days are just rotten, no matter who you are or where you live.

Today has been such a day. Johnny left before dawn to catch a plane to go see his dad who is still recovering from cancer surgery in Boston. It's been a very difficult recovery. When I got up, there was a dead bird in the pool. Thankfully, Jacob was still home and was able to get the bird out for me. Other than that, I'm having a decent day. Jacob helped me clean the kitchen tonight without being asked! But this morning I got a text from a friend who is struggling. Another friend is dealing with some serious issues with one of her kids. One is in the hospital, one just lost her sister, another is recovering from a serious illness and has had some setbacks. My heart is heavy over the sorrow, frustration, stress, weakness, and suffering all around me. 

Johnny gave me a new iPod for my birthday back in June for my car. (I know it seems like I'm changing gears but hang in with me for a minute.) I finally, today, sat down and put some music on it. (I KNOW, 2 1/2 months later - the summer was just like that.) I had an iTunes card so I decided to purchase some new music. Last night, at Rally, the band played a Hillsong United song that I've never heard titled You Hold Me Now. I decided to get it today along with Matt Redman's new album. Part of the lyrics of the song are this, "No weeping, no hurt or pain, no suffering, You hold me now, You hold me now. No darkness, no sick or lame, no hiding, You hold me now, You hold me now."

Do you ever just long for that day? That's where I am today. When John received the Revelation he recorded this,

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." Revelation 21:1-4, NASB

No longer any separation - from God or our loved ones that were believers that have gone on before us. No more sorrow or sickness or hunger or hurt... Only rejoicing forever dwelling in the presence of God.

In the meantime, I live in the reality that life just stinks sometimes - for me and those I love. The promise of what is ahead strengthens me on those tough days. After all, some days are just like that... even in Australia.

Serving the King,


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Move-In Day

I know I am repeatedly posting about college move-in day but it's my life and today's the day. (Well, we moved Josh into his new townhome on Saturday so it's move-in day for the college freshman) Johnny asked me how I was doing earlier this morning and I didn't get a little teary, I sobbed. The kind that takes your breath away. I am going to miss Jessica so much. I'm going to miss the way she comes in and talks to me about all sorts of things - tv shows that she finds funny, what's going on in her day, what's going on in the world, spiritual things, how she's doing. I will miss hanging out with her - going shopping (not that either of us is big on shopping because we are not), watching movies, cooking together. I'm going to miss basketball season - the way she was all in. I have always said of her that she is a free spirit. She is her own person and does not let culture or other people dictate who she is or what she does. She is brave and adventurous. So much more like her dad that way. She's gregarious and loyal and compassionate. She cares deeply about people. She is passionate about her faith and her pursuit of God. She is fun. I feel so priviledged to be her parent. There will definitely be a void in our home and a void in my life. My life changes today forever. Twenty-one years of parenting and now we'll be down to one at home. I know we'll get used to the new normal, to our new life. I'm excited for Jessica to start her new adventure. She is going to do so great, I know it. It's just me I'm worried about...


Monday, August 8, 2011

The Grocery Store

I honestly don't know how long I stood there, staring at the pork section. It was probably only a few seconds. How long should one think about cooking for only three? I had already been down the laundry aisle, picking up 2 extra detergents and 2 extra fabric softeners - one will go to the townhome this weekend and the other to the dorm next week. Somehow it made me terribly sad. So I stood there not knowing what to buy. Or, rather, how much to buy. Jacob is dreading it more than anyone, I think. He was the only one home for dinner one night last week. The siblings gone off in two different directions. Johnny and I talked and asked questions and expected him to participate in the conversation. He rolled his eyes at one point and I said, "Buddy, you better get used to it. This will soon be your life all the time." And it will be ours as well. 

I will still make the dreaded trip to the grocery store every Monday, as is my practice. I will make my list and cut the coupons. I will walk up and down the aisles and pick up the things that 3 people need. Jacob will add his selections to the list - you know, Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos and stuff like that. I'll get used to it. Then, there will be a break and the college kids will be back. I'll pile my cart with even more stuff and the grocery bill will go back up. I'll be happy about that just like I'm really (no, I really am) happy for the college kids to go. I'm thankful for their precious lives, their devotion to God, and that we are able to send them where they want to go. God is good and life goes on. 

Life goes on.

Serving the King,


Thursday, August 4, 2011

iRun with Purpose

I've mentioned on here a time or two that Johnny and I are training for a half marathon. The race is the Dallas White Rock - they have a relay, 1/2 marathon, and marathon. Run the Rock is the first weekend in December so we are training now. Because of the extreme heat (the weather man's title, not mine) we are experiencing Johnny and I start our runs before 7:00 am. That's the only way we could stand it. Our run today was 4 miles - and that's NOT our long run. I know, I know, for real runners that's no big deal but for us to run 4 miles and feel good is quite an accomplishment. Our times are coming down and we are definitely building our endurance on these hot, Texas, summer days.

At our church we have some real runners. They will be finished with the marathon before I finish the half, I have no doubt. We thought it would be fun to form a run team and to do some fundraising for some mission causes. We are looking at some causes like digging water wells, feeding hungry people, helping with medical needs, etc. We are going to finalize our causes in the next few days. So, this year, we are running with purpose.

I read an article yesterday about the food crisis in the Horn of Africa. I also recently read an article about a woman in an African country that literally spends hours every single day - 7 days a week, every single week - walking back and forth fetching water for her family. There are thousands like her. I am trying really hard not to complain about these record-setting hot days when I have air conditioning, plenty to eat, and ice & water to drink available to me within just a few steps from where I sit right now.

Will running in a half marathon make a difference in anyone's life? I don't know. I hope so. I hope it will inspire me and remind me to make the cause of world hunger & disease & the need for clean drinking water known to those in my sphere on influence. I hope it will remind me that I am abundantly blessed. I hope the things that are important to God will be the things that are important to me. I hope to make Him famous and to remember that I do it all for His glory and not mine. (That shouldn't be too hard because there's no glory at the back of the race.) But, if I'm out there putting one foot in front of the other, I hope to do it with purpose.

I hope you are having a great summer - it's winding down with back-to-school almost here! Live your dream, pursue God, love your family!

Serving the King,