Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What I Really Do Love

My Jessica brought up something over the Christmas holiday that keeps coming back into my head. I catch my self messing up but I'm trying to do better. It's all about the overly used word love. It seems Jessica has a friend at college who recognized the word was overly used and has been trying to say instead, "enjoy." Like this - instead of, "I love Blue Bell ice cream" (which, I would have a hard time saying I didn't cause I think I might) I could say, "I enjoy Blue Bell ice cream." Or, "I enjoy beautiful Spring-like days in January when it was icy & cold this time last year."

Here's my question: does it de-value the things we really do love if we say we love something wonderfully awesome like Blue Bell ice cream or beautiful Spring-like days in January? Or, if we say we love a movie or a great book we just read (like the Hunger Games trilogy) or a new piece of furniture? And, a second question: why do we love so many things that are worldly and fleeting and, ultimately, unimportant?

Here's what I really love, I mean REALLY love: God, His written Word, Johnny Dickerson, the 3 kids that I gave birth to, my parents, Johnny's parents, my church (not the building, the people, the family), my brothers & their wives & kids, my sister-in-law & her husband & her daughters & their families, my friends. I think the list could go on a bit. I's not an exhaustive list by any means. I love the ladies I meet with for Bible study. I can't figure out, though, if my dog should be on the love list. I mean, I really am fond of her but I think it might be love. And, she's definitely higher on the list than Blue Bell ice cream.

Jesus warned us about loving earthly treasure. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21) The greatest treasure we have, after all, is the one we carry around in our earthen vessel - it's the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:7) And, I do love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love what it's done in my life and how I don't have to depend on myself.

That's what I really love. Now, what I am borderline hating today is cleaning my youngest child's room. Not just cleaning, but taking every single thing out of there because I am having some furniture delivered tomorrow.  It's an awful job, I'm not going to lie. I'm going to enjoy the results, though, that's for sure!

Serving the King,


Monday, January 30, 2012

Pure and Undefiled Religion

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27

I'm working through Beth Moore's Bible study on the New Testament book of James and I got to the above verse. Here's a few sentences written by her in references to the verse, "You don't live this kind of life accidentally. You make up your mind who you want to be and daily die to the rest. You surrender yourself to living in the tension where you'll always be stretched and often be broken. Religion pure and undefiled is grit without the grime. You accept that far easier ways to live exist, but you were born for nothing less."(James: Mercy Triumphs, 86)

I've been thinking about that this morning. I admit, I do have an easy life. No doubt. I have an amazingly wonderful family, a comfortable home, plenty to eat, more electronics than I even need to keep me in touch with the world, a really great church, and awesome people around me to share life. I see so many opportunities around me to serve others, to give of my time and resources, and I know God is calling me to give and to go. But it's not hard. Seeing people living in poverty is hard but doing what I can to help is not. Hearing someone pouring out their heart in absolute sorrow is hard but being there for her is not. Hearing statistics about abortion and STDs and unplanned pregnancies is hard but giving a few hours every week to be there for women making major life choices is not. Hearing about someone in need is hard but giving is not - I have more than I need.

I totally get what Beth Moore meant when she wrote the above. And, yes, sometimes I feel the pull of culture and worldliness. And sometimes I am sucked in. But, for the most part, I feel so over-abundantly blessed that I have no choice but to give, to go, to be there. I don't know why God chose to bless me. But I do know what He's called me to do as a result. And it's not too hard because whatever He calls me to do He equips me for that task. It's not the life I chose but the one He chose for me. Maybe the hard part is the obedience, walking faithfully. Praying harder, studying more. Yet, even that feels like a privilege.

I'm thankful for the privilege.

Serving the King,


Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Family Dinner

Following is a fairly accurate recollection of the conversation between the cash register guy (checker) and the fella who put my groceries (bagger) into my earth-friendly re-usable bags this afternoon at the Kroger not too far from my house:

Bagger - What happened to the days when you used to go to the store with your mom and you helped her sack the groceries then she went home and made you dinner?
Checker - Man, those days are gone. They went out in the '90s.

Which, by the way, is fairly hilarious considering it is highly likely that both of those fellas were born in the 90s. Possibly getting close to the mid-90s at that. It is a sad commentary on our culture, however. Really, whatever happened to the family dinner?

We don't take the family dinner for granted at the Dickerson house. I don't know how many times Johnny and I looked around the table during the Christmas break, when all 5 of us were sitting around the table, and said how thankful we were for it. With the college kids gone most of the time we relish, crave the times we are all together - and, especially when we have our kids selfishly to ourselves.

The beginning of the school year was a little tough on all of us but maybe especially for the high school boy that got left behind. We recounted that to the 2 college kids over the break. We laughed about it particularly when the high school boy said, "Yeah, you 2 went off to DBU and teamed up together and left me alone with Thelma and Louise." I laughed hysterically! None of us admitted to ever seeing a movie by that title and don't know anything about the characters. Jacob even said he didn't know why he said it but, if you know Jacob at all, he is just a funny, funny person. Our family tradition going around the table and saying "one good thing about your day" at dinner is missing something when 2 people that make up the circle are gone.

But, the college kids did go back and there will be just 3 of us at dinner tonight. I have to go to a meeting at 5:30 but I'll be back in time to whip up a simple dinner for those of us left behind. Because, afterall, I don't want Jacob to miss out on telling us that all-important one-good-thing-about-his-day even though it irritates him at times. Oh, you know, it's just a conversation starter.

But, as for you, don't let the family dinner become extinct! Don't let your kids think it's a thing of the past or something people did decades ago.

Long live the family dinner!

Serving the King,


Friday, January 6, 2012

Passion 2012 From My Perspective

I'm so glad I took notes at Passion2012 because I experienced so much that, really, I don't know if I'll even be able to adequately express it today. Maybe part of that is that we got in around 3 am and I was up at 9:00. And, I'm still processing some of it - 45,000 people in the Georgia Dome for Jesus and the cause of Freedom. I remember thinking one night that I never want to forget what it looks like and sounds like when 45,000 people - mostly 18 - 25 year olds - lift up their voices in praise to God. And then I thought, even more, of what an amazing privilege it was to be there with my own 3 kids. Sitting behind them, watching them sing and praise was total happiness and left me feeling overwhelmingly blessed.

Although some of the messages preached used passages in Luke as the main text, the main Scripture for the week was the book of Ephesians. Ephesians 5:14, "Awake, sleeper (or, rise up, sleeper), and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Passion2012 was not just about what happened in the 4 days we were there but what will happen now, as we are back in our regular lives. Francis Chan said something like this Tuesday night - The greatest thing that could happen would be if we would really believe the Word of God and then do what it says. Later he asked, "How can we sit around when such serious things are happening?"

If you know me at all you know my favorite band of all time (except, of course, my boys' band) is the David Crowder Band. They did a concert Monday night and led worship in one of the other sessions later in the week. It was their last show, their last time to be the David Crowder Band. When Louie Giglio called them back on stage at the end of the session to give us a chance to express just a bit of appreciation Jessica looked down the row at me and said, "Are you crying." Why yes I was. I can't really express it but their music has meant so much to me. Even their brand new cd (which I purchased while there) is amazing. I understand about new chapters and new seasons, though. I totally get that.

Wednesday night, the last evening session, started with the Passion band leading us in worship. One of my favorite songs we sang that night was "I'm Not Ashamed of the One Who Saved My Soul." Christy Nockels sang, "Waiting Here for You" which Jessica had been waiting all week to hear. If you don't know it, it's a slower song. Shortly after that, they filmed a music video for a song called "27 Million" about modern-day slavery that had thousands and thousands and thousands of people literally jumping up and down. Such a cool sight from where we were sitting up top. That was followed by Lecrae rapping. I actually enjoyed it, especially "Background." Lecrae said he could be called the Mailman because he's just delivering the message!!

The last day, in the closing session, Louie Giglio challenged us to take Ephesians 6:19-20 and put it at the top of our prayer list. So I came home and got my brand new prayer journal that a lady from my class gave me and wrote the verses in it as my prayer for the year. I usually pick a verse for the year so it just seemed like the right one for me for 2012.

Even before we left home, for a few weeks now, I have known God was doing something new in me. Leading me in a new direction, challenging me in a new way. I didn't and don't have a complete picture of it right now but, as I wrote in an email to a friend today, I have an odd sense of expectancy humming just below the surface in my life right now. Maybe odd is not the right word. I was thinking about the 18-25 year olds at Passion2012 and their enthusiasm and that they have their whole lives in front of them to serve and give and worship. Then I thought that I am so thankful that even though I am creeping up on the half-century mark (not this year, though - hallelujah!) that God is still doing new things in me, still revealing new things to me, and requiring more things of me. I am honored and privileged and blessed.

To top off the worship through song and music and Scripture and gathering with other believers, there was an opportunity to worship through giving to the cause of freedom. Over $3 million dollars was given over 4 days to end modern-day slavery. It took my breath away.

And that's my recap of Passion2012. I think it's relatively short considering I've typed and deleted so much because I could just go on and on. But, right now I've got to get my new DCB on my computer so I can get it on my running iPod. I know, I know, this Mac will do more than 1 thing at a time but I can't.

And, oh, btw, Happy New Year!

Serving the King,