Thursday, November 27, 2008

My "Thank You" list

Instead of a To Do list this Thanksgiving Day, I've decided to make a "thank you" list. Here we go...

  1. Thank you, boss, for my job. I know I don't always seem like I appreciate it. And, if I'm truly honest, I don't love it. But I am thankful to be employed.

  2. Thank you, mortgage company, for allowing me to live in my home. It keeps me warm and dry. I know I have to pay you to live there, but it's better than the alternative, which so many have had to do recently.

  3. Thank you, family, for loving me. I know I'm difficult sometimes (but hey... so are you,right? right? You know it's true!) I love you tons!

  4. Thank you, pastors, for leading me. Whether I know you personally or not, each one of you have spoken into my life in one way or another. From coast to coast, and even in Africa, my life is different because of how God is using you.

  5. Thank you, God, for your grace and unconditional love. I'm not sure where I'd be if we hadn't come face to face years ago. I'm thankful for how far you've brought me, and even more thankful you aren't leaving me here. Thank you for the trials, they've made me stronger. Thank you for letting me make mistakes, they've made me wiser. Thank you for letting me serve, it helps keep my pride in check. Thank you for salvation, it's made me whole. Thank you for your unconditional love, it guides me to love. Thank you for your Word, it gives me strength. Thank you for your Son, He's given me life. Thank you for nature, it reminds me who You are. Thank you for items 1-4 above, they are gifts from You.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Practical Athiest

I've been listening to the series Practical Atheist by Craig Groeschel at He defines a practical atheist as someone who believes in God but lives as though He doesn't exist. I believe that so many who label themselves Christians fall into this category. Too many of us think that because we said a prayer or because we were moved in some ceremony or because we were baptized that we're all set. We can do whatever we want because we're covered.

Not true says the Bible. John 14 says if we love God we will obey him. To me, that doesn't mean "do what you want - I got your back". It means.. uh... love God and obey him. (Sorry if that's got a little deep - I only said the thoughts in my head were loud, not necessarily profound.)

Anyway, check out Practical Atheist, even if you think it doesn't apply to you. We all have areas where we think we've got it all together, but if we look carefully, we are trying to take care of it on our own as if God doesn't exist.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On Sale?

I opened my email today to find this:

In case you cant read the subject, it says: On Sale: Jesus & Santa.

OK. I realize this is an ad for a video (check it out here if you are interested), but it really made me think.

I think about how we (people) have turned Jesus, the Creator of the universe, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Savior of the world into a commodity.

I think about how we use Him like children sending their wish list to Santa to get what we want and then don't think about Him again until next year or the next crisis or the next desire.

Jesus didn't come to grant our every wish, or to make us happy or to fulfill some desire in our hearts. He came because the Father loves us. He came because the reason for our existence has nothing to do with us at all, but has everything to do with the Father. We were created for HIS glory, not our happiness or comfort. We were created to worship Him.

Besides all that, since when is Jesus for sale? We have to stop trying to get people to buy into the idea of Jesus. For some people, hearing the Gospel message of grace, hope and love is enough. But for most, especially in America, people need to see the Gospel lived out in front of them.

Anyway, that's some of what went off in my head when I read that subject line.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Does God love this woman?

I've been listening to the series Beautiful from New Spring Church in South Carolina. I am constantly challenged by Perry Noble's teaching. This was a live monologue before the service last week.

Based on Proverbs 7:10-23 from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dear Worshipper

Great stuff from 'Los Whitaker over at his blog today. Check it out.

You may like the way your worship leader sings.
You may like the way your worship leader looks.
You may like what your worship leader says.
You may like the songs your worship leader writes.
All that is dandy.
It is actually great to feel those nice, pretty things.

But it is not about you.

It is not about your likes, needs, and comfort at all.
The reason they stand before you is to lead you to a place of unabandoned worship in your Savior.
The reason they stand before you is to display to you a lifestyle of worship that God has called you and them into.
The reason they stand before you is to CHALLENGE you that your level of praise to God Almighty should take a step up.
The reason they stand before you is because God Himself, has called them, TO LEAD YOU in worship.
This means that you need leading.
So stop staring at them, and start following them.

Get The Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus to lead worship at your church if you’re in it for kicks and giggles.
But if you are in it to be led…
Swallow your pride and follow your leader.

You can also check out Dear Worship Dude.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saying goodbye to Bunny

One of my co-worker's mother in law died on Thursday. I just got back from the funeral home. I went to offer my condolences to her and her family. I didn't know her mother in law, but there were a lot of people who did. The place was packed. I learned a little bit about her.

Her name was Bernadine, but everyone called her Bunny. She worked since high school at various shops selling jewelry, and touched the lives of many people. I noticed that almost everyone there was happy. Mostly because she was ill for a long time and in a lot of pain. Many said she's much better off now that she has passed on. I never know how to respond to that.

I want to agree with them and tell them that she is in heaven with Jesus. But what if she didn't know Him? Do you say what they want to hear so they can cope with their loss? I couldn't say what I was thinking, which was "I hope so", or "Are you sure?" I don't know if she knew Jesus. I don't know if she met Him years ago or if she met Him in the last moments or days of her life. It's not my place to know, but I still never know what to say.

One thing is certain - I pray that I touch many lives, like Bunny did, not because I sold them jewelry, but because God loved them through me; that they would see that I lived for different treasures than what this world offers. And when I die and people say I'm in a better place, it will be true. I'll be seeing colors I've never seen, I'll be hearing sounds I've never heard, and I'll be feeling love like I've never felt before.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hey! That's mine!

A few years ago, I bought this mug. You can see, it's just a plain old mug. I would put tea in it at the office and it would keep me warm. It's ceramic, so it would keep my hands warm. After using it, I would put it in the dishwasher at the office. The next morning, someone would empty the dishwasher and I would find it in the cupboard, all clean and ready for more tea.

In the summer, I don't drink tea much, so I left my mug in the safety of the cupboard. Then one day - I saw it. In the hands of someone else in the office. The next day, she had it again. Every day she was using it like it belonged to her. I didn't say anything to her, but I thought it - "how dare she use my mug? It's mine, and she can't have it!"

OK. So why am I so upset about a mug that probably cost me about $2? I mean, I like to think of myself as a fairly generous person - I give where I feel God is leading. But don't touch my mug!

Today was clean up day at the office. Time to deep clean the office and purge files. I found my mug to take this picture - then I put it back, and have surrendered it to my co-worker. Seems like such a simple thing, but as God strips away the things that I am holding on to my hands are open to receive what he has for me. Even the little things block my view of Him and plug my ears to His voice so the only voice in my head is my own and that's a dangerous place to be.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Got shoes?

The 50,000 Pairs in 50 Days Challenge
How many pairs of shoes do you have? Go on, count them. It's OK. I'll wait. If you have more than one you are blessed beyond measure. If you only have one pair, you are still in much better shape than most of the world. Over 300 million people around the world don’t have shoes and are forced to walk around unsafe and in potentially life-threatening conditions.

I have bad feet. I need to wear shoes or my feet ache and my back aches and my legs ache. I wake up in the morning and I can barely walk if I didn't wear shoes the day before, so I can't imagine living life without them. For many in the world, wearing shoes is not an option. Not because they are forbidden or anything; they just don't have them. It's crazy to think about.

I've joined Soles4Souls in trying to dress up feet everywhere. Today is the launch of the 50,000 Pairs in 50 Days Challenge. I can't wait to see what God does with the feet He puts in these shoes. Today, blogs, emails, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and other social networking sites are lighting up with this challenge.

Here's some info if you are interested in learning more.
Wayne Elsey
Anne Jackson

Sunday, November 9, 2008

People Watching

I've been doing a little people watching lately. I don't usually do it because I think it's kind of rude to stare at other people while they go about their lives. I have a friend who is always staring at people. I know other people who try to watch people as if they are under cover... hiding behind menus in restaurants, behind friends and peeking over their shoulder.. which seems a bit like stalking, but that's just me.

Today, I was sitting at McDonald's (I know... not the best choice) and I was watching some kids play in the play area. I couldn't see them most of the time except right when they were climbing into the play structure thingy (I wasn't actually in the room, just could see this through the window). It occurred to me how transparent kids are with their emotions. When they are sad, they cry, when they are made, they pout and stomp around. When they are annoyed, they roll their eyes.

At one point, all of the kids (maybe about 8 of them) were running toward the entrance at the same time and the littlest one was trampled. She was flat on her face. She started to get up and go in, but at the last second, started crying (I can relate to that delayed response). She ran to her dad, who knelt down and spoke to her, then kissed her hand. At that moment, she was fine - turned around and went right back to playing. How cool was that? All the parents were laughing at how quickly she bounced back.

It occurred to me that she had the utmost faith in her father to make her better - to feel better and to no longer hurt. As soon as the pain set in, she knew exactly where she needed to go to get help. One touch of the father's hand and her strength was renewed - she could go on. She may have a bruise, a cut or a scrape, but she was willing to return to the task at hand as soon as she felt his touch.

It makes me ask the question - do I run to my Father when I need help? Do I know where healing comes from? Or do I try it on my own and go to other people for comfort and strength, only running to Him as a last resort? I fall somewhere in the middle. Sometimes, I know right where to run and He is always faithful. Other times, I run around a while, then go to Him. And again, He is so faithful. Always.

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-4