Tuesday, August 25, 2009

We Have Moved...

Click here for my new site. Hopefully I'll figure how to automatically forward to WordPress, but if not, go ahead and save the new location or sign up for the email subscription at the new place!
Looking forward to visiting with you soon! Come on over...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sharing From My Treasure Box (Part 2)

As promised, Part 2 of my Treasures from the Leadership Summit. I don’t know exactly what I expected the second day of the conference to be. Whether I thought it would be better than the previous day or how it could possibly compare to Day 1. I just honestly don’t know. But I did feel that God had some things He wanted me to hear and I was ready to listen.

Again, my nuggets of gold from each speaker (order by appearance, my commentary in italics):
  1. Dave Gibbons: His topic was Thinking Forward – 3rd Culture Leadership
    Takeaway: Failure is success. (What?!)
    Questions: Can I accept that unless I fail, I can never move forward? Without failures, I’d never relate to real people?

  2. Andrew Rugasira: His topic was Thinking Forward – Aid vs Trade
    Takeaway: Aid alone undermines accountability, integrity and dignity.
    Question: What does God want me to do (not JUST give, but DO) to help people help themselves?

  3. Wess Stafford: His topic was Leveraging Your Past
    Takeaway/Question: What is your cause? Does it move you to tears? What moves you passionately?
    Hint: Read his book Too Small To Ignore

  4. David Gergen: Interview with Bill Hybels, topic Eyewitness to Power
    Takeaway: Don’t confuse motion with progress.
    Takeaway: Maturity is coming to grips with your flaws.

  5. Chip & Dan Heath: Interview with Craig Groeschel, topic Switch (new book, due out Spring 2010)
    Takeaway: Big problems are most often solved by a series of small solutions
    Takeaway: Prepare for the “valley”. This is where you find solutions.
    Takeaway: Failure is a necessary step to success. (Dang! Didn’t I hear that somewhere else recently?)

  6. Bono: Interview with Bill Hybels
    Takeaway: Love your neighbor is not advice, it’s a command.
    Takeaway: Inspire people to do missions, don’t bore them.
    Takeaway: If we neglect leadership positions as a means to serve the poor, we will be held accountable.
    Question: Where does your sphere of empathy end? Who is far enough away from you that they don’t matter? (Hint: the answer is no one.)

  7. Tony Blair: Interview with Jim Mellado
    Takeaway: If the facts change, we can change our minds.
    Takeaway: Doubt doesn’t always go away once the decision is made. (Ain’t that the truth?!)
    Takeaway: It’s the way the world works. Without leaders things don’t get done.

You may have noticed there were fewer “Questions” than "Takeaways" for me on the second day. Beats me why. Maybe I was so full of questions from the day before that I just didn’t write them down. But I did pick up on more pearls of wisdom the second day. I’ll close out this post with a few miscellaneous quotes that I think are particularly nice.

Listen more. – Bill Hybels

The kindest form of management is the truth. – Bill Hybels

Are you changing as fast as the world around you? (I don’t quite see how that is possible, myself, but it’s a goal to strive for, I guess). – Gary Hamel

God doesn’t have a Plan B – we are it! – Gary Hamel

Just because a leader isn’t asked to do something hard, doesn’t mean it’s not important. – Bill Hybels

And a final word from Bill Hybels

You have one life to live full-on for God. What are you going to live for? What are you willing to lay your life down for?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sharing From My Treasure Box (Part 1)

So, before I share some pearls of wisdom I picked up from the Willow Creek Leadership Summit last week, I feel the need to address my last post. I know it may have seemed a little out of character (for the blog, not me personally). Kind of like I was throwing up on Fear and Death. And I guess I was. I just felt the need to “put it out there” for anyone to see that I was denouncing the power and destruction that these cohorts desire. They will not bring us down. Our God is bigger than that and He has already defeated them. I’m just trying to live out what I believe!

There! Now on to my little Leadership Treasure Box.

It’s taken me the better part of three days to digest all that I saw and heard last Thursday and Friday. I have looked over the ton of notes scribbled down in my notebook and each time I do it’s like a jolt of excitement hits me all over again. That’s what I want to share with you. If you followed my Tweets or my Facebook status updates you were probably wondering where in the world I was and what I was up to. Well, Stonecreek Church had the privilege of hosting a private viewing of the Leadership Summit via satellite. It was an amazing experience. My heart-felt thanks to all who had a hand in making the whole thing possible. It was so nice to actually sleep in my own bed at night and still get to benefit from the wisdom of some of today’s greatest leaders from all over the world.

Without further ado…here are my takeaways (one from each speaker) in order of appearance.
  1. Bill Hybles: His topic was Leading in a New Reality
    Takeaway: What is your Replenishment Strategy? I have to keep my “bucket” full because I can’t lead out of emptiness.
    Question: What do my followers and colleagues see when they look at me? A full bucket or are they a little worried about me?
  2. Gary Hamel: His topic was Manage Differently Now
    Takeaway: When you’re in the trenches it’s easy to mistake the edge of a rut as the horizon.
    Question: Are you more committed to Redemption, Renewal and Reconciliation or Policies, Practices and Programs?
  3. Tim Keller: His topic was Leading People to the Prodigal God (I’m currently reading this book – it’s really good)
    Takeaway: The Gospel is not religion – it’s something entirely different.
    Question: What are my reasons and motives for doing what is right? To be my own savior? Or to please the one who saved me?
  4. Jessica Jackley: Her topic was Micro Finance Lending, co-founder of Kiva.org
    Takeaway: We must show instead of tell people why they should give.
    Question: Each “story” is special. How can I have the privilege to participate in their next chapter?
  5. Harvey Carey: His topic was Against All Odds (he is a bundle of energy!)
    Takeaway: Don’t just huddle without actually playing the game.
    Question: Transformation happens not when you say what you believe, but when you do what you believe. Does what I do really reflect what I believe?

That was the end of the line-up for Thursday. I’ll treat you to Friday’s treasures tomorrow. How’s that sound?

Monday, August 10, 2009

I Will NOT Fear! I Will Trust in God!

Our church family has suffered another “untimely” (for us) death today. This is the sixth one since May. We are a young congregation and two of those losses were children. Death has not been something that occupies a lot of our thought time. But lately it seems to be in our faces. It would be so easy to slip right into a fearful posture and imagine that Death is lurking around the corner, out to get us. But I refuse. I refuse to live in fear.

God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control. 2 Timothy 1:7

No matter how many times Death snatches lives from us when we are not prepared! I KNOW that God is in control. I know that GOD is in control. I know that God is in CONTROL!

What else do I know about God?

He is love.
He is good.
He is perfect.
He knows all.
He is not surprised by any of this.
He loves us.
He welcomes home His own with a grand party.
He never makes mistakes.
His thoughts and ways are not like my thoughts and ways.

Those are just a few that come immediately to mind. So I refuse to be fearful for my family, my church family, my community, nation or the world! God is still the Almighty and I WILL trust in Him and Him alone. Please join me in praying for the families left behind. Pray for peace and comfort that only God can provide. Amen.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

God, Will You Introduce Me To That Driver?

Another theme has appeared in the craziness that is my life. See if you can identify it:
  • Give Me Your Eyes (Brandon Heath)
  • We need to see people like God see them. (Steven Gibbs, among others)
  • “When we see them as God sees them, we will glimpse His images in their faces…” (The Hole In Our Gospel, Richard Stearns)

I think you get the idea. To live a full and meaningful life we must live outwardly not inwardly. We must care for others. But guess what? We can’t do that on our own. It doesn’t come naturally to us. The only way we can have that kind of compassion and love is to let God show it to them through us.

Now I don’t have a reputation for being the most patient or tolerant person. Prime example is when I’m in the car. If you’ve ever had the “privilege” of riding with me you know what I’m talking about. Just driving along and someone changes lanes on me at the last minute WITHOUT using a turn signal! Burns me up!! Or someone driving down the middle of two lanes, oblivious to the other cars on the road – equals wet-hen mad. People not obeying the traffic rules – BIG no-no in my book (I’m such a Vehicular Pharisee!) Don't even get me started on Parking Lot Etiquette. Yes, I’m Miss Big-Britches when I’m sitting in my driver’s seat behind the wheel. But would I yell so much at other drivers if I knew they could hear what I say? Um, probably not. Apparently I have plenty of room for God to tinker around in that area. He’s so good to me!

So this is what I’ve started doing. When someone really ticks me off in traffic I ask God to introduce me to the “object of His affection” in the other car. Then I make up things about that person that could be true (or better yet, I let God guide my imagination). I pretend that He says to me, “Yes, that’s Jean. I can understand why she forgot to use her blinker. She’s a little preoccupied this morning. You see, she’s waiting on a phone call from her doctor’s office about that test they did last week. Seems to her like it’s taking forever.” Or, “Oh, you mean Fred in that nice little silver sports car? He’s trying to make it to his second job on time today. His boss is a slave driver and has warned him for the last time not to show up at all if he’s showing up late.” And, “That’s Darlene. She’s out looking for apartments that she can afford for her and her 3 young children. Her husband left last month and cleaned out the checking account. It’s going to be rough on them for the next little bit.”

There’s a story in every car. I’m afraid we can get so wrapped up in our own stories that we forget everybody has their own story as well and the fact God is just as intimately familiar with theirs as He is with ours. Having compassion toward and patience with others doesn’t lessen the importance or significance of our own personal story. Quite the contrary, it adds more value than you can ever imagine.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So no matter what I say, what I believe and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle, (ouch!)
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, (how many strikes do I get?)
Doesn’t revel when other grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

1 Corinthians 13:3-7 (The Message, commentary mine)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Just Ask...

My last post talked about a Great Secret that we have. One that we’re not supposed to keep to ourselves. We are meant to share it with others. In case you may be wondering how in the world to get started I’m not going to leave you hangin’. Sista’s gotcha covered. This is something one of my Blog Heroes (Tony Morgan) has done in the past. I’m kinda copying him by posting my notes from Sunday's message by my pastor, Steven Gibbs. You can go here and listen to a podcast of the entire message. (I promise it won’t be a waste of your time.) The message title was Just Ask.
The premise being, Connect (with others) and Invite (them to life change through Jesus).

  • Spiritual conversations by us connect people to God.

  • Jesus’ plan for succession is me and you.

  • Without you there is someone who will live without God.

  • Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.

  • God, help me to see people as you see them.

  • Start where people are.

  • Be radically inclusive.

  • How many people have you given up on?

  • They may be just one ASK away from LIFE CHANGE.

  • When we come together as a team we light a wildfire.

  • We'd better be more concerned about what God thinks of us instead of what others think of us.

  • What do you want to be about?

  • We will slip into selfishness if we’re not careful.

  • We want our lives to be about others.

  • What we believe about God will dictate how we reach out to others.

  • Who do you know that is just one ASK away from LIFE CHANGE?


I can’t wait to see and be a part of the GREATER THINGS that God has for us. We have a place for you at Stonecreek Church, too. Come on over…

So, what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Can you think of someone who needs just one ASK? Do you need an ASK? Do you need LIFE CHANGE?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The One Secret I'm NOT Supposed to Keep!

I have a confession. I’m not good at keeping secrets. Hold on there…if you tell me something in confidence that I can do. It is not a problem. But if your husband or wife is planning a surprise birthday party for you, you better hope they don’t invite me until the last possible moment and that I don’t run into you at the grocery store on the way, because just as sure as the sun came up this morning, I will find a way to spill the beans! It’s too hard to pretend that I don’t know when something really good is about to happen to a person. It’s one reason I wait until the last minute to do any type of gift shopping. Because I can’t keep a stinking secret! I don’t mean to tell or ruin the surprise. I try so hard to NOT say anything that the reverse actually ends up happening. How crazy is that?

Well, lately God and I have been pondering (actually I’ve been doing the pondering, He’s been handling the revelation part) several times in scripture where Jesus uses the words, “whoever has been given much, much is expected” (or required). Now let me insert a disclaimer right here and now. I am no bible scholar by any stretch of the imagination. So understand that these are simply my own humble opinions. Please feel free to critique, (nicely, of course) correct, expand upon or in any way, shape or form set me straight if you don’t share said humble opinions. Let’s dialogue!

So, yes, God and I have been going over these words and the times that scripture records Jesus using them. Most often it was in some way connected to a parable. *NOTE – I love that Jesus was a storyteller and that His stories are still so relevant today, don’t you?* At times He is actually explaining the hidden meaning (read secret) in the parable to His disciples. See, Jesus can’t keep good news from people either! And that is exactly my point here.

I know that most times we use these verses to show what scripture teaches about how we should share the material blessings God has given us with others. I totally agree with that interpretation. But as I have been studying, it also appears to apply to knowledge and understanding God has given to us; entrusted to us to put it more accurately. If God opens our minds and hearts and grants us understanding of His great secrets, it comes with a responsibility to share them with others.

Think of it like this. If someone were to discover a cure for cancer and then proceed to seal the information in an envelope and lock it away in a file cabinet or hide it in a safe, we would practically, and I think justifiably, accuse them of murder. Withholding that kind of information from a dying person is nothing short of cruel. But may I suggest to you that we, as believers, are possibly guilty of much worse. We have the greatest secret of all. We know the best news there is to know and it affects everyone. And God has given us permission; no He has given us the responsibility to share it boldly. I know I’m guilty as charged. Why in the world would I choose this secret of all secrets to keep to myself? Now that makes no sense whatsoever.

So here’s today’s challenge: Read through the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – I’m not giving specific scripture links on purpose. I think you'll enjoy digging for it yourself) and look for the times Jesus indicates that if we have been given understanding we’re expected to share it; pay close attention to His last charge to His disciples as He leaves their physical presence. That’s where we receive our permission in the form of a commission. It’s our right. It’s our duty. But mostly it’s our privilege. I am so very thankful God allows us to be a part of the work that only He can do.

And if you are still looking for more after you read those four books, here is a link to a post containing a 30-day Plan to read through the whole New Testament. Our pastor shared it with us last year and it is totally do-able! Go for it. What do you have to lose? Ignorance?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shame On Me For Putting That Off!

So I think procrastination is a tool we put in the devil’s hand. I mean sometimes he attacks us and we never see it coming. But sometimes we don't even provide him with a challenge. We just hand him the ammo and hold the bulls eye right in front of our faces. There are things we allow in our lives that give satan a foothold. And these footholds are not always obvious to us and may seem harmless at any rate. I think procrastination is one of those things.

Just last week I saw God show up in pretty amazing ways. It was a very good week in that department. I was sailing right along. But by the time I got to Friday, I was done. My battery was fried. Like stick-a-fork-in-me-I’m-done fried. Kind of like Elijah after his Mt. Carmel experience in 1 Kings 18 & 19. Except I didn’t have a crazy vindictive Queen putting a voodoo curse on my head or anything. I was just drained for no good reason. Or so I thought.

While I was “reflecting” on where my week started its downhill slide, I felt God leading me to some little things I had been putting off dealing with. They weren’t important or life altering. Just little things I have been meaning to do. A phone call, a note, an appointment that needs to be made, a closet that needs to be cleaned out, a spill in the bottom of the refrigerator that needs to be dealt with. That kind of stuff. Just crazy little things that will never in a million years take care of themselves.

God pointed out to me that these little things will drain my battery faster than leaving my car headlights on all night long. It’s an attitude thing. If I let myself ignore the little things, they can become big things in a snap. It’s also a discipline thing. If I can’t take care of unimportant things in a timely manner, what in the world will I do when a real issue comes up? The best time to take care of a situation is the moment you become aware of it. (Ouch! That smarts!!!) How can I expect God to trust me with really big things if I put off dealing with the piddly little things in my life?

Some days I feel like I’m starting over at square one. Ever feel that way? But that’s why I love the way GRACE works! How about you? Here's to starting over, right now, today. And here's to taking care of all those dirt piles under the rugs. Anybody want to borrow my broom and dust pan?

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Hole In Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns

As a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program I had the privilege to read an amazing book that I feel should be required reading for Christians everywhere.

Richard Stearns asks some pretty tough questions in his book, The Hole in Our Gospel.

What does God expect of us?

Are you willing to be open to God’s will for your life?

What if there are children who will suffer somehow because I failed to obey God?

What if my cowardice costs even one child somewhere in the world his or her life?

And those are all within the first fifty pages! These are questions that were asked of him. He answered them for himself and now he’s asking the church, God’s people, to honestly evaluate how we measure up to God’s standard of genuine and active compassion toward “the least of these.”

Richard relates the story of his journey that started even before he knew he was on a journey with details that would feel right at home in Moses’ autobiography. The fingerprints of God are bold and beautiful as He prepared an ordinary man to be a part of an extraordinary plan.

He speaks with authority and firsthand knowledge of the epidemic of poverty in our world, and it is OUR world, not some impersonal, nameless and faceless problem. Stearns issues the challenge to each of us. What does God expect and what are we going to do? Because in the end it’s where our belief gives way to action that really counts.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Can You Be Afraid & Not Even Know It?

I’ve may have mentioned before about how God frequently chooses to reveal Himself to me. The way He uses repetition - A LOT - because of my hard head.

Well, here is another example from the last couple of weeks. Notice the trend.

I don’t think I’m afraid. But all this talk about fear is freaking me out!

Should I be afraid?

Am I about to be afraid?

Am I already afraid and I don’t even know it?

In my experience, when God puts something right under my nose several times in such close succession, it’s because He wants me to pay close attention to it and He ALWAYS has a perfectly wonderful reason for doing so. This time I feel like He’s turned up the volume on me! I’m hearing it in stereo. And it’s even echoing!

But I still don’t feel “afraid”. At least I don’t think I’m afraid. As a matter of fact there are very few things that bring out fear in me. I’m not afraid of bugs or spiders. Not afraid of storms or the dark. Not afraid of ghosts or the boogey man. I’m not afraid of needles (unlike a husband who shall remain nameless) or pain (which is why I was the one to agree to birth the kids). As a matter of fact, I think someone once said, “That girl is not afraid of the devil himself!” And that is a pretty true statement. I’m not afraid of the devil. He just aggravates the fire out of me (if you are unfamiliar with Southern English, it’s pronounced “far” not “fire”)!

There are a couple of things that I’ll admit do scare me…

  • A phone call at 2:00 a.m.
  • Snakes (they are creepy, they have no legs and even if they don’t hurt me, they will make me hurt myself!).
  • Being totally helpless (that’s my battle with being a control freak).
  • And lastly, fear itself. Yes, I’m afraid of being afraid. Sick, isn’t it?

So maybe what God is trying to show me is that no matter how brave I try to be in my own strength, fear can be lingering in the closet (whether I openly admit it or not). But as long as I trust in Him and in His strength, I have no need to fear anything – even fear itself!

What’s your greatest fear? Whatever it is, just remember that God is big enough, strong enough, wise enough, tough enough and just plain enough to handle it!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Is the Hokey Pokey Really What It's All About?

So God and I have been having regular conversations about perspective lately. Seems to go with our theme here since perspective has to do with seeing, doesn’t it?

I’ve recently read about perspective in at least three books, it’s been focus of several of my Daily Bible Verses over the past few weeks and it just plain pops up everywhere I turn. Actually, yesterday it made appearances in two separate conversations. And I wasn’t even the one who mentioned it. I’m beginning to think that perspective, not the Hokey Pokey, is really what it’s all about!

Think about the meaning of perspective for a second: a particular evaluation of a situation or facts, especially from one person's point of view; a measured or objective assessment of a situation, giving all aspects their comparative importance. Or simply put, one’s outlook, point of view, or perception. Now why would this be so important to us? Well, we’ve already established that we were created for relationship (see it here). We are not meant to live alone without contact with others. And if we want to live a life of meaning, it will require us to regularly check our perspective. We cannot live in a bubble and fully understand the world around us. We must adjust our viewpoint. When we don’t understand a situation it might help to look at it from another angle.

I also think it’s easy to accept the false idea that the way we see things is always reality. It’s not. It’s only our current perception of reality. I’ve always been drawn to the saying about "walking a mile in another person’s shoes". One of the first Bible verses I memorized as a child was “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Granted I tried to tag that with my own interpretation by saying things like, “Well, she was mean to me so I guess that’s the way she wants to be treated, right?” How silly! But I don’t have the excuse of being six years old anymore (Oh I am so far away from six it isn't even funny!). So why do I forget to consider how another people are feeling, what they may be going through, or what has brought them to this point? I need to share their perspective to understand. What I'm really seeing may not be what I think I see…

That nasty person behind the counter could be worried sick about a critically ill loved one and can’t be with them for fear of losing their minimum wage job. The homeless man sitting on the street corner may be a veteran who simply didn’t know how to fill out the right forms and sadly fell through the proverbial cracks. The kid who destroyed your mailbox as a prank may be dying inside because his parents are so wrapped up in their own problems they don’t even see him anymore. We will never know unless we exchange our perspective for theirs.

Then there’s the aspect of perspective as it pertains to God. Think about this – what’s an 80-year lifespan compared to eternity? (James 4:14) What about our annual income compared to God’s bank account? (Deuteronomy 10:14) Or our inconveniences compared to what God gave up? (John 3:16) How about the way we see others and the way God sees them? (Romans 5:8; James 2:5) We need to share God’s perspective. We need to ask Him to show us what He sees and be willing to put hands and feet into action.

Come to think of it, maybe it does have something to do with the Hokey Pokey after all…put your right hand in, take your right hand out…put your left hand in, take your left hand out…put your right foot in, take your right foot out…put your left foot in, take your left foot out…If where we put our hands and feet is in God’s work then, “DO THE HOKEY POKEY AND TURN YOURSELF AROUND” and proudly proclaim, “That’s what it’s all about!”

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Dad and My Father...

My dad is a great man but he’s not perfect. My mom would be the first to back me up on that. He is a fantastic dad. He was Daddy my whole life until I moved out of the great state of Alabama. Then he became my Dad when I referred to him in conversation, but still Daddy to his face. Now he’s Papa ‘cause that’s what the grandkids call him. Whatever we call him (as long as we call him when it’s time to eat) he’s still quite a guy! He’s grown into the role of patriarch for a bunch of hooligans (three kids with spouses and a total of eleven grandchildren) and we have a great heritage of faith due largely to his efforts. He is a great role model and example for all of us.

He shows us the character of God in the way he serves sacrificially. I don’t think you would find an honest person in all of West Alabama who would say that my dad ever denied help to anyone when it was in his power to deliver. He has fixed broken pipes, toilets, hot water heaters, furnaces, lawn mowers, tractors, cars and trucks, bush hogs, fences, baseball fields, and just about anything else that can be broken. He is the “go-to-man” when you need a helping hand. Guess we could call him “Hamburger Helper”, huh?

He shows us the character of God in his creativity. My dad has an artistic flair with a heavy country accent! I remember watching him draw horses when I was a child and I found some drawings in his high school text books of curvaious ladies – all in good taste of course. His handwriting is neat and precise. I love the way he prints so neatly in all caps. I used to try to write like him. He has always had a talent for invention also. I can’t tell you how many times he’s been faced with a need for some piece of equipment or tool or whatever. He goes into problem solving mode and then before you know it, he’s in the shop building whatever it is that was lacking in this world (his world). Most often it involves welding and when he’s finished Hurricane Katrina couldn’t budge it (whatever it is).

He shows us the character of God in the way he loves unconditionally (even when he’s frustrated or disappointed with his children, we never wonder if he loves us). He has great wisdom that he shares without judging (too much) and he is always ready to share the good news that he knows personally about how Jesus can change your life.

Did I mention that my dad is not perfect? He is also just as human as they come. He has a bit of a temper. Stubborn doesn’t even come close to describing him. Opinionated, yep – he’s got that one covered too! I know some of you are wondering when I switched from writing about my dad and started talking about myself! I guess it’s true what they say about the little old acorn and how it descends in close proximity to the parental unit!

It pleases me that people look at me and see so much of my dad but my ultimate desire is that when they look at me they also see a strong resemblance to my heavenly Father…that they also see GOD.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Relationships and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups...

We are created for relationship. Even a connoisseur of “alone time” such as myself can’t argue with that fact. Obviously some people are more interested in developing and cultivating healthy relationships than others, but we all need them. They are as vital to our overall well being as much as a healthy eating and exercise plan. I saw a perfect example of this the other day from the wonderful world of nature. I was taking a little stroll to the mailbox at work and I noticed a bevy of activity on the sidewalk under my feet.

There was a little army of hardworking ants busy collecting deceased earthworms, the victims of recent rain storms. Ewwww! I know you’re wondering where I’m going with this, but just hang in there with me. I promise I have a point. There were quite a few ants working together in pairs to transport their burdens back home to waiting families. However, I did notice one little ant in particular who was working on a rather large piece of worm carcass all by himself. I didn’t think too much about it as I made my way to the mailbox, but on my return trip I noticed he was having a devil of a time trying to get himself and his load out of the cavernous crack in the sidewalk. I stopped to observe and what I saw tugged at my heart. Here was a very agitated ant, pacing around, turning in circles, wringing his little ant hands and wondering how in the world he was going to get that darn thing home. I wound up offering my assistance by using my car key to raise the dried up piece of worm to the point the ant could take over and be on his merry little way. I got no “thank you”, “bless you”, or even so much as nod for my gallant effort.

I think there are several lessons for us to take away from this experience:

Lesson #1 – Remember to be thankful. Always say thank you when you receive assistance, whether it’s from God’s hand directly or through the service of another person.

Lesson #2 – It’s not a sin to need help. We all require assistance from time to time. Don’t be ashamed when you are struggling and someone comes along to lend a hand. It’s a gift from God, treat it as such.

Lesson #3 – Look for opportunities to be the hands of God. I’ll go out on a limb here and predict you won’t have to look long or hard before one of those opportunities is right before you. Follow through and then tell God thank you for allowing you to be a part of His work here on earth. But be prepared. It could require serious sacrifice on your part. Just yesterday I was prompted into sacrificial service for a friend. I was required to eat one of her Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to keep her from being tempted to eat both of them. Oh, the lengths I’ll go to for a friend…I'm here for you, for all of you!

Remember, keep your eyes open and when you see God at work don’t forget to share it with someone.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


This past Sunday, May 31, Stonecreek Church had the privilege to hear Peter Habyarimana share part of his story (click here to listen). Peter is from Uganda. He became a man as we would say, "Against ALL Odds." Peter was rescued literally physically and spiritually through the organization Compassion International. This organization is more than a typical "relief organization." They work through local churches in poverty stricken countries to release children from poverty in Jesus' name. I strongly encourage you to check them out for yourself and am confident they will stand up to the scrutiny.
But back to Peter's story. He said something on Sunday that has continued to echo in my head. He made the statement that poverty and being poor isn't about lack of money or shoes or food. Being poor is a lack of hope. Many of us may never have considered ourselves poor by global standards (80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day) but how's your hope? Are you lacking? Well, let me tell you that our only hope rests in God. No matter the circumstance or the obstacles we face, He is our only hope. Can you see Him? I'll share a little theory I have with you...since God is always present, we always have access to HOPE. You've also heard me say that when we don't see God it's probably because we're not looking for Him. So lack of hope means we can't see God, right?

Here's my challenge for today...

See how much HOPE you can find. Keep your eyes open. You may notice a bit of the opposite along the way, the lack of hope. What will you do about it? Can you point someone to hope? Is God asking you to help someone see Him? Is there a person lacking hope working down the hall from you? Or living next door? Does one of your own family members lack hope? Maybe God is leading you to share hope with a child from Uganda who needs a sponsor.

When you see God today, look around for someone to share the experience with. Ease over to their side. Put your arm around their shoulders. Lean in close and as you point say, "See that hope right there? That means God is here. Let's see what He's up to, okay?" Then not only are you seeing God, but sharing Him as well.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Hardheaded Woman...

Ok, I’ve been waiting for it to happen since I typed the word “anxious” in my status on FB and Twitter Monday night. I knew as soon as the letters hit the screen that I should erase them and think of something else to write. But I didn’t. I left them there and continued thinking I was getting “a little anxious about this week” because of all I had to do and knowing that more than likely I would not have enough time to accomplish all of it.

My first thought after I hit “comment” was, "I’m not supposed to be anxious…God says." And if He says it, then He means it. Remember last week when I decided to wait until mid-week to listen to Him and I wasted so much time and energy struggling? And I said that I had learned my lesson? And I was going to remember next time? Guess what. Yep! Busted again!

I was hearing the “do not be anxious” verse in my head all this week. I kind of let go of my worries to a certain extent but I didn’t fully rely on God to provide and therefore missed multiple opportunities to see Him show up for me. What a goober! (that’s Southern slang for, I’m such an idiot or nut – get it? nut=peanut=goober). Any how… back to my train of thought. I was almost expecting a repeat of last week with the Daily Bible Verse thing, but it didn’t really click this week. God is very creative, don’t you know. (That one’s for my Minnesota friends, don’t ya know!)

So this evening I was going through my daily blog check and I found the prize. It was on Steven Furtick’s blog today. The title? Anxiety. Plain and simple…you need to check it out. It was my very own personal sermon. Why do we have to wait to hear something from a third party when God has already been crystal clear? Maybe you don’t. Maybe it’s just me.

Here’s honesty for you…when I worry or feel anxious it has less to do with whether or not I think God can handle a given situation and more to do with will I let Him. It’s no less wrong, just different. I believe that God is who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do, but just like last week I most often try to accomplish things in my own strength first and then call out to God when I find out I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. (Another Southern thing…plus I had to get my food/eating analogy in somehow.)

So this work in progress would appreciate your prayers and I’ll return the favor. Plus, for heaven’s sake – feel free to kick my rear end when I apparently refuse to see God daily! And I thank you in advance…

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Great wisdom from a man called Jones...

The Noticer by Andy Andrews

“We need to start noticing a few things. We need to check your heart. We need to gather a little perspective.” These words, from a character by the name of Jones (no Mr. - just Jones) in the opening pages of The Noticer, have never rung truer than in the midst of the uncertainties we face today. We get so caught up in everything that’s wrong that we often fail to notice everything that’s right.

Jones contends that noticing is his gift and he uses it to help others gain perspective – “a broader view – allowing them to regroup, take a breath, and begin their lives again.” Isn’t that just the perfect picture of hope? Through the course of this book, Jones interacts with many people who believe that things can get no worse and the chances of things getting any better are slim to none. After a session or two with him, each of these individuals seem to have new insight of their circumstance.

There are many seeds of wisdom that Jones plants along his journey with the residents of Orange Beach, Alabama. Seeds like “whatever we focus upon increases,” and “if you’re still breathing…and alive…then you have not completed what you were put on earth to do.” Yet another shows us the differences between a mistake and a bad choice as well as the difference in apologizing and asking for forgiveness.

Andy Andrews, a master storyteller, shares invaluable insight in this delightful narrative. It will inspire you to ask yourself some important questions and hopefully encourage you to notice things in the lives of others that will enable you to bring to light a little perspective for them.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Spaghetti and Ravioli...

I’ll be honest with you…I’ve been in a mood this week. It’s been so bad I didn’t even want to be around myself! I woke up with it Monday morning and things just spiraled downward from there. I couldn’t figure out what happened. I mean, I went to sleep Sunday night with thoughts running through my head of God's strength being displayed in the lives of people I know and wondering how I could creatively turn it into a "seeing God through strength" blog post. I thought I was on the right track and expected to have it ready by Monday night. But I messed up (real good) and through my failure God taught me a very important lesson (again!).

So there I was, first thing Monday morning and already I was wishing it was Friday. Everything I touched seemed to fall apart and I mean everything. Actually, what was falling apart was me. But I was still thinking about God and strength so I thought I'd look up the word “strength” in the dictionary. Words such as endurance, power, force, intense, might, and depth were listed in the definition. I like it! Those words just jump out and shout “ARGHH” to you, don’t they? They pump you up and make you feel like you can handle anything, right? So what in the world was my problem? Yeah, I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me.

Well, by Wednesday morning I had come to the end of my little rope and I finally asked God, “What is wrong with me? I feel like bowl full of messy spaghetti when all want to be is neat little ravioli pockets. Help me. Please?” And just like only God can do, He was already way ahead of me. He knew what I needed before I knew. He provided the answer even before I asked Him the question! (He also overlooked the fact that every one of my analogies has to do with food and/or cooking - go figure!)

I logged on to my computer a few minutes after my plea for help and my daily verse was revealed to be Ephesians 6:16, “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” You may recognize this as part of the section in Ephesians that explains the Armor of God for us. That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks…this verse was a continuation from the previous day and even the day before that – all the way back to my dark Monday morning. So I quickly went back to the beginning of the section. It starts in verse 10 and these are the first words…”Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Oh. My. Word. (Well, actually God’s words, my emphasis.) Strong, mighty and power all in the same sentence. It almost sent me clean over the edge! I continued to read the whole section and realized that I had fallen victim to the “devil’s schemes.” Yep, I stepped right into it! I was trying to make it in my own strength instead of God's. What a dumb idea!

But the real clincher I found in verse 18…”And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” I could have saved myself (and everybody who had to endure being around me) a whole heap of trouble if I had just prayed and paid attention when God spoke. And how many times do you count the word "all" in that verse? Think it's important? Yeah, I think so too! All Occasions, All Kinds of Prayers and Requests, Always keep on praying, For All the Saints...Doesn't leave much room to argue that there are days we would be wasting our time by praying, does it? I think He really means it when He says ALL.

I don’t think I’ll ever look at spaghetti the same way again. And hopefully the next time I feel like a tangled, mangled, grouchy mess, I’ll remember this lesson…use God’s strength, not mine! Then and only then will I be on the right track to a wonderful “ravioli day.” (And I'm not talking 'bout Chef Boyardee, either!)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Seeing is Believing -OR- Believing is Seeing?

See – I’ve seen that word a lot lately. I’m not kidding you. Everywhere I look God is reminding me that I can see Him and His hand if I’m looking. Here are a just a few examples of those reminders from last week (all emphasis mine):

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Psalm 27:13 (Bathroom mirror card – previous bible study)

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for
and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 (iGoogle DBV) from last Monday

We live by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7 (iGoogle DBV) from last Tuesday

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him

to the one who seeks him.

Lamentations 3:25 (NIV) (Bible Verse of the Day email) from last Tuesday

To save space I will stop with four – but you get the picture. The first entry is on a card taped to my bathroom mirror. It’s been there for about a year now, leftover from a previous bible study. When I think I’m ready to take it down something always stops me. I don’t think God will let me take it down until I believe it and can say it with passion. (It may be up there for a little while longer.)

I like the word “confident”. Being certain, full of conviction, assurance. Faith is being sure and certain of what we do not see. The Psalmist had “faith” (if you will) that he would see the goodness of the LORD in regular daily activity. So if I had any doubt that God wants me to write a blog centered on seeing His work, I’m rounding the corner and heading straight into certainty. We don’t have to wait for heaven to see God. He’s all around us…constantly, ever and forever present.

It’s like floating in the middle of the ocean and claiming you can’t see the water. You have to work hard not to see it! If you don’t see the water, you’ve intentionally missed it. Maybe you have your eyes closed or you’re looking at the sky instead. By the same token, if we don’t see God it’s because we’re not looking – either on purpose or maybe because it never occurred to us. Something else could possibly have our attention or we’re afraid of how our lives could be changed by what we might see.

We can see God everywhere. We can see God in the beautiful and precious things of this life. But we can also see God when things get a little rocky (or a lot rocky!). We can see Him when we say a final good-bye to a loved one, whether it’s a parent we’re not ready to let go of or an innocent child taken, by our minds, much too soon. We can see God when the doctor says that the cancer is back followed by, “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing more we can do.” We can see God when the only news we hear seems to be bad news. When the boss announces the doors at work are to be closed – forever. God is still working when we’re scared, angry, confused, worried, frustrated, discouraged and completely devastated. When our lives seem to shatter like a crystal glass carelessly dropped on a concrete floor, God remains steadfast.

It’s hard to remember, when we find ourselves in the middle of our own crisis, that every single second of every single day there is always someone somewhere who is absolutely devastated. When we’re having a good day, there is a person out there somewhere who is having their worst day ever (maybe for the second or third time). That person may not be too far “out there” either. They may be standing in line behind you waiting to order their lunch. They may be sitting in the cubicle beside you. Maybe they’re in the car next to you at the red light or even living in the house across the street.

Here’s the thing, bad things are going to happen. It’s part of living in a sinful world. But there is HOPE! And we cannot fail to tell people about it – but first, we have to believe it ourselves. The way I look at it, the fact that we are able to have those “good days”…that we can laugh and play and enjoy each other through relationships…that we can be happy at all, to me that’s proof that God is completely present and active. If He weren’t, then any sort of good wouldn’t be possible at all. God’s gift to us is that HOPE. Without it the devastation would never end and we would all lose our minds (Some of us would go faster that others, for sure!). But God intends for us to live full, productive lives. When we live like we believe God is working around us and through us, then others will SEE GOD, too! The world says, “Seeing is Believing” but God says, “Believing is Seeing.” Give believing a try and then share what you see

Monday, May 11, 2009

Seeing God Through Forgiveness...

So you may have noticed (both of you) that I haven’t been back to post here for a few days. It actually has nothing to do with not seeing God and everything to do with not taking the opportunity to write about it. In the process I’m beginning to see God teach me something about obedience and forgiveness.

Just yesterday morning I was thinking about God’s unconditional love and the concept of forgiveness. I’ve been reading a book by Anne Lamott called Traveling Mercies, the section was titled “Forgiveness.” She gives a rather unique perspective of how forgiving someone (even when they don’t ask for it, or know they should) actually changes something inside of us more than it changes the other person or even our circumstances. Now Anne has a very distinctive writing style. Actually it’s quite raw, but it’s refreshing, in a way, to read about her hurts and struggles and the way she writes with such open honesty. Friendly warning ***READ WITH CAUTION***

So I guess that was close to the surface of my mind and prime meditation material. Now as far as my personal experience with hurt goes, I’d have to say I’ve been blessed. However, depending on your perspective, maybe not. What it really means is that I’ve lived carefully instead of courageously. My goal (up to now) has been to prevent ruffled feathers instead of encouraging action, but the few times I’ve been pretty riled up it has always involved someone I love enduring the hurt, if not me directly. Two examples come to mind and involve ex-in-laws (of the sister and brother persuasion). One of these two people was married to my sister and the other to my brother. Both hurt my siblings, and by extension our whole family, in a huge way. These two individuals have minimal impact on our lives now, but they’ve been on my mind the past couple of days. Imagine that. Just when God is prodding me with the idea of forgiveness, dang it! But wait, it gets even better…

I was talking to my mother this afternoon (totally unscheduled call, we usually talk on Sundays and Wednesdays) and before the conversation was over – mainly we discussed the two high school graduations looming over us in the next two weeks – she totally brings up the two villains. AND ACTUALLY ADMITTED THAT SHE PRAYS FOR THEM – DAILY!!! Everyone who thinks that was a so-called coincidence, please raise your hand. Yeah, me neither…

God and I had already had our conversation so it really didn’t surprise me that Mom and I crossed the same turf. It also didn’t surprise me that she prays for them. That’s the kind of mother (person) she is. The woman needs a 27-hour-day just to pray for all her kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and friends of friends and all their stuff. It’s a wonder she has time in her schedule to talk to me twice a week with all that praying she does!

But, back to my point…forgiveness. I had already been thinking about trying the forgiveness thing that Anne describes. It would definitely be rough and raw but I was wondering how it would feel. Now I’m not saying I’ve arrived but I did start the process. See, if I believe that God loves me unconditionally, meaning that my behavior or performance cannot cause His love for me to increase or decrease, then I also have to believe that He loves the ex-in-laws exactly the same way. If I believe that God extends forgiveness to me for all my junk, then how can I withhold my pitiful little forgiveness from someone else? This is not an original thought by the way, check out Matthew 6:14, Colossians 3:13 and Mark 11:25, just to mention a few. So even though I’m trying to forgive a couple of people for something they did that only offended me indirectly, it has more to do with my relationship with God than my relationship with them. It’s not going to change the circumstances surrounding the betrayals or the consequences we all struggle with still. But I think it will increase my understanding of God and His character and hopefully some of that will become evident in my life. That’s the goal…for others to SEE God through me. WOW – what a concept. What do you think? The more we practice this type of forgiveness and unconditional love, do you think it will become part of our character? I kind of think that’s part of the Plan…

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hide and Seek

So this was my Bible Verse of the Day from yesterday:
Deuteronomy 31:8
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

So it got me thinking. I know that was a collective groan I just heard. She’s thinking again…but you will be glad I did if you continue to read this post. I was thinking about what this verse has to say about “seeing God.” I think it practically yells out, (with jumping and pointing, even) “THERE HE IS!!!”

God is so big that he goes BEFORE us and stays WITH us…all at the same time! That’s mighty big. It’s also mighty comforting, don’t you agree?

He will NEVER leave us and he will NEVER forsake us. We all know what the word leave means. Has anybody ever told you to “make like a tree and LEAVE”? No? Just me? Oh well. Hopefully we all know what leave means. But how familiar are we with the term forsake? Webster defines it this way: to renounce or turn away from entirely. That’s not just leaving, that’s leaving and forgetting. Pretending that the being never happened. That has to hurt in a big way. Have you ever been forsaken? Do you feel that way right now? Well, the thing is you may be forsaken. But not by God. He can NEVER forsake you. He said he never would so that means he can’t because he IS Truth.

If you feel forsaken by God let me assure you that he is still right there, where he’s always been; before you and with you. He hasn’t moved away. Stay with me here. Picture yourself playing a 2-year-old version of Hide & Seek with God. You know the version I’m talking about, when a child covers his eyes and thinks he’s hiding from you. It’s the I-can’t-see-you-so-you-can’t-see-me thing. God just stands there waiting for us to take our hands from our eyes and have the courage to face what he has for us.

That’s why the last part of that verse is so perfectly appropriate: do not be afraid or discouraged. Take courage in the fact that even when you can’t see God, it doesn’t mean he’s not there.

There are so many people who feel left and forsaken right now because of the economy and its negative effects on their families. I know several instances where at least one member of a family has recently lost a job or had a company forced to close. There are people who can’t pay their bills, much less their mortgage payments. They feel forsaken. My heart goes out to these people. It’s scary. I know. I’ve been there. More times that I care to remember. But it’s a good thing - that remembering. Because when I remember, that’s when I see the evidence: God was with me through the whole thing. Even when I felt the most alone.

One of those times was the first time I played the What If… game with God. It’s what Beth Moore calls Then What? in the Esther Bible Study (highly recommend, by the way). It’s where you play out the scenarios of all the bad things that could happen to you from the point you feel you can’t get through. Mine went something like this:

What If… my husband loses his job and can’t get another one, like, REAL fast?
Then… we might not be able to pay our bills.

What if… we can’t pay our bills?
Then… we will suffer the consequences (i.e. utilities cut off, vehicles repossessed, home foreclosed on, etc.)

What if… those consequences come to pass?
Then…worst case, we are homeless, living in a cardboard box under the interstate.

What if… are homeless, living in a cardboard box under the interstate.
Then… we are still living and we’re still together.

What if… you’re not together? What if you are alone?
Then… I would still be breathing. I wouldn’t like it. But I would do it.

What if… you got sick and you lost your life because of all the bad stuff that happened?
Then… my life on this earth would be over, but my soul would still live FOREVER in the presence of GOD. (Big sigh!!!)

So when I finished with my little game and I saw how it could all play out, even down to the most drastic and dire circumstances, how could I continue to worry about it? I had come to the conclusion that even if I lost my very life, I could not lose my soul. That part is held tightly in the hands of God Almighty and he will never let me go!

Now, I know it’s quite a jump from losing a job to dying, but it was my game, ok. I made up the rules. You can make your own game. And I encourage you to do just that. Think about how you will respond when not-wonderful things come your way. I don't mean for you to play this game for the sake of thinking up things to worry about. It's about making up your mind right now how much you trust God to be who he says he is and to do what he says he will do. Don’t wait until you are in the thick of a crisis to try and figure it out. You will be too close to it then. Do it today. Determine in your heart and mind that God will never leave me or forsake me; I will NOT be afraid; I will NOT be discouraged.

Then when you SEE God, PLEASE come back here and share it with us. God gets the glory and we all share the encouragement.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

When you ask, expect to see...

I hear people say all the time that “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” I don’t deny this truth. I’ve got my destination covered (Praise the Lord)! But I have to remind myself on a regular basis to pay attention to the journey. Have you ever been traveling along an unfamiliar road and been searching so diligently for your next turn that you don’t even see the houses, buildings and scenery you are passing? I find myself doing that every day as I travel the road that is my life. I’m always looking for the next thing I’m supposed to do. The next task that has to be completed. The next project or event that needs to be planned, promoted and pulled off (how’s that for 3 Ps?). But now that I’ve jumped into these bloggy waters with the sole intent to share where I see God, I find myself paying more attention to my journey.

I have honestly been amazed at the ways and places He has shown up. I know He’s been here all along, even when I wasn’t looking. But life is so much richer and full of color when we experience it with Him. It’s the way He intended it from the start.

I’m about to rattle off some examples from the last couple of days where I saw God. I won’t share too many details because these are not my stories to tell. But I am thankful that God allowed me to peek into His work so that I could share with you a glimpse of His glory.

I saw God… in the healing business.

A devastating diagnosis from several months ago comes up against the prayers of faithful belief and is defeated. Unexplainable, but totally possible with God.

A 2 year-old who fell from a second story window leaves the ER hours later with only a cut on her head.

An elderly gentleman who had a stroke at the breakfast table with his daughter and son-in-law (an ER nurse and fireman) is fully recovered by the time the ambulance arrived.

A baby born on Friday morning under non-idyllic circumstances, is holding her own in the NICU with the Great Physician in attendance.

I saw God…in answered prayer.

A family looking for a home to live in, feeling pressured by an agent to go one direction. God said, wait, I have something better for you. And boy did He! Over and above what they even thought possible.

I saw God…in relationships.

Friends gathered together sharing a meal, a few laughs and praising God for changed lives.

People serving each other in Jesus’ name and making a difference. Speaking value into lives and proving that EVERYBODY matters to God.

I saw God…in changed lives.

People taking that next step and following Jesus’ example of baptism. Publically professing to the world that they belong to Him.

And people actually beginning their own journey with Christ today. Oh, how the angels did rejoice right along with us that Hell has fewer reservations and Heaven has more future residents because of God’s grace and the fact that people accepted the free gift of ETERNAL LIFE through faith.

This is just a taste of what God has shown me in the past week. I can tell this is going to be a great ride. Thanks for joining me. Please feel free to leave your own stories in the comments of places where you see God at work. We can all use the encouragement to keep looking.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Why Blog?

Why do I want to write a blog? Only heaven knows! So far the process has been very slow and tedious. I didn't know what I would name it. I can't find a template and color scheme that suits me. I really have no idea what I'm doing so it takes me 10 times as long to do this since I'm learning as I go. (I really need some tutor sessions, I guess)

So, where did the name come from? Listening to country radio on a trip home to/from AL one weekend. Heard a George Strait song, I Saw God Today. It is really about how the writer's whole perspective of life changed the day his daughter was born. The title caught my attention and I began to think about it. Where do I see God on a daily basis? Then, where should I see God on a daily basis? Once I had decided that I liked the name as a blog title, panic set in. What would I write about? God said to me, "Are you kidding? Did you really just think that?" I know, I know...God is everywhere. Duh! But I didn't want to write about beautiful sunrises and sunsets, thunderstorms and gentle breezes and all things wonderful in nature. Don't get me wrong. I certainly believe the God reveals Himself to us through His creation and nature. My point is that I wanted something more personal, I guess is the word I'm looking for. And God assured me that I would have no shortage of material...if I just let myself be open to seeing. Still, I was a little hesitant. I felt really inadequate to do this. But when God tells you to do something, He doesn't expect you to do it in your own strength. Even though my "life verse" is Phillipians 4:13, my heart has a time getting through to my hard head sometimes.

So that's the background. I've been making notes and hope to get this thing rolling soon. In the mean time, my challenge is to watch for God everyday. He's always there and He's always working around us. When you see it, remember it and praise Him for it. That's worship.