Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Five

Todays Friday Five comes from Deb.
I have been busy writing “professional” papers, where it is required that staid, measured prose be properly footnoted, annotated and credited. I am tired of living there!
However, my creative brain is somewhere in the land of strange to illogical. So join me in my flight of thought and tell us:
1. A color that you enjoy (and where you find it)
Green in all its crazy wild and calming forms! In my husband's eyes, on my bedroom walls and on my jamberry nail wraps today!
2. A food or drink you have discovered recently that is just da bomb!
Gevalia coffee with Bailey's Brown Butter Pecan coffee creamer
3. A simile for tiredness
As tired as one armed paper hanger
4. A random picture from your phone, camera or computer
Me and my middle baby @ her school Christmas party

5. Your least favorite bill: car mechanic, dentist or plumber?
Dentist (And all three of the little ones are going in March!)
BONUS: If you are going to have a Lenten practice or discipline, what is it? If you have a book or on-line resource, be sure to share it!
Reading the book of Luke a few verses at a time.

If EQUIP: Day 13 and Day 14

IF:EQUIP Day 13
Read John 6:16-21

If you believe this is true then:
  • What does this mean about God?
God is not held captive to nature. As the creator he overcame it without difficulty. God is so much bigger than we tend to allow God to be. If God has such control, why do I doubt God's control over and in my life?
  • What does this mean about you?
I too set off without God from time to time. What might I miss by leaving Christ behind? Am I always looking for or expecting Jesus to show up? How do I react when he does? Do I turn around if he doesn't?
  • What does this mean about the world?
Christ has not and will not abandon the world, a common theme in John. The love of God is deep, strong, and overpowering. Time and again we reject or walk away and time and again God draws near.


IF:EQUIP Day 14
Read John

If you believe this is true then:
  • What does this mean about God?
God is basic, a necessity for our lives. Just like bread, Jesus is to be a staple in our diet. While God does tire of us seeking only when we are in need or because we want more, God does not begrudge and still offers to fill us as we need to be filled.
  • What does this mean about you? the world?
If Christ is so basic why do we treat him as a luxury, set aside only for once a week and maybe less than that? Why do we not indulge daily? Where am I setting a table and not putting Christ on it? Jesus should be the first thing offered to friends, family and strangers.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

IF:EQUIP Day 11

IF:EQUIP Day 11
Read John 5:16-37

If you believe this is true then:
  • What does this mean about God?
God is present and available. There is no hiddenness with God. God enters into our lives and becomes accessible.
  • What does this mean about me?
Where have I let me expectations of God keep me from recognizing God? Where have I let other's perceptions about God keep me from following what I know to be God's call? Where do I need to let me preconceived notions fade away?
  • What does this mean about the world?
God has entered into the world with the purpose of preserving and healing. Why do we struggle against God? Why do we seek control?

God, make yourself known to me, my family, and the world, today, NOW! Help me to trust even when I can't see the next footfall. Help me to honor you in my thoughts and actions. Speak to me and clean out my ears so I can really hear you!

IF:EQUIP Day 9 and 10

IF:EQUIP Day 9

Read John 4:43-54
If you believe this is true:
  • What does this mean about God?
God makes good on God's word. Christ did not have to be physically present to command healing. God knows that we desire to see "signs and wonders" and has granted them, however they are not necessary for faith to occur.
  • What does this mean about you?
I am heard by God, important enough to be listened to by God. There are so many times I feel that my issues are too small to lay before the Lord. But God does hear God's children.
  • What does this mean about the world?
God is concerned about healing and wholeness. There is no place where God's hope and help will not reach. Why do we act as if we are above or below God's love and understanding?

IF:EQUIP Day 10

Read John 5:1-15
If you believe this is true:
  • What does this mean about God?
God is seeking us out. All broken and wounded individuals God seeks to restore. Christ cared enough to go to the sick those in need. God loved too much to let the man stay in his illness. God pushes past our excuses and allows us to see opportunities to be made well.
  • What does this mean about you?
How am I going to the sick and needy? Where am I offering hope and healing? Words are not all, action is important as well. Where am I in need of Jesus' healing? Where am I too busy giving excuses to allow healing to occur? How am I reliant upon others for healing?
  • What does this mean about the world?
Too often we let others keep us from wholeness. And when we are healed we have a hard time getting on with our lives! There is so much more available to us if we would get up and walk!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sunday's Sermon

I intended to post this yesterday, but well you know the saying about intentions.

I used a power point presentation for the first time during a sermon and it went well. (only 1 overtly negative comment)
 May have to do it again sometime!

Matthew 5: 38-38


Perfection is overrated. This is a phrase I’ve heard hundreds of times. It’s a phrase I use when I fall short of the goals that I have set for myself, when I’ve slipped up, yet again. When I just don’t feel like putting in the effort. Being perfect is an obsession for many in our society.

When I was 13 my grandmother gave me a copy of an Emily Post book of etiquette. I know she was trying to be helpful. To guide me through the hazards of being a young lady. The book to her was a way to help me navigate the treacherous years ahead. Unfortunately for me, I took it as yet another list of rules and regulations that I would never live up to. Another way to judge myself as unworthy.

We struggle to look just like the images we see on magazines, never mind the fact that they have been retouched and changed to the point that they are only shadows of the “real” people they are to portray.

We are faced with ideals of the perfect wife, perfect father, perfect child. Even though these ideals are outdated at best and downright impossible at worst.

And so when I read the words from the gospel this morning “Be perfect therefore as your heavenly father is perfect.” I know there are many out there who react as I do, great, another thing to mess up at this week!

But then I remember, the very definition of Gospel is good news. There must be some good news in all of this. Jesus hasn’t taken us through this reimagining of the Levitical laws to leave us feeling down in the dumps, helpless. These words are to encourage, enliven, uplift us, support us for the journey to which  we are called.

I was directed to a quote from William Barclay, a well known theologian, on the word translated as perfect.

He uses and amazingly simple analogy to get at the meaning of telios. “You have a piece of furniture with a loose screw, so you want to tighten it up, make it right. In order to do this you need a screw driver that is the right size and weight for your hand; that screw driver also needs to be the right size to fit the screw; this will enable you to tighten the screw, fix the joint and make the furniture fit for purpose.   In the Greek sense, the screwdriver is telios because it has fulfilled the purpose for which it was wanted. Thus a man will also be telios if he fulfills the purpose for which he was created.”

This perfection is not about conforming to an ideal of what we should look like, act like, think like. It’s about fulfilling the purpose that God designed us to fulfill. Big sigh of relief, right?

Good, I don’t have to stress about perfection. I don’t have to worry about living up to a list of standards that are so high I get a nose bleed just looking at them.

All I have to do is find out my purpose and live into it.

Wait, my purpose?

The existential question that plagues all of us from our teen years, to choosing our college majors, to career choices to retirement. Who am I and what am I doing here!

Great, now I go from mild anxiety to full on panic attack!

But hold on. Throughout this season of epiphany we have been learning who we are as children of God. We’ve been reflecting on the way that God sees us and calls us to be.

Remember?

We are beloved children of God.

We are salt.

We are light.

We are God’s field.

We are God’s building.

We are blessed.

We are loved.

Throughout the 5th chapter of Matthew Jesus has been telling us that life is so much more than what we want to make it. It’s not about being powerful and in charge. It’s not about putting others down to feel lifted up. It’s not about oppression. It’s about living a life of loving freedom. And today’s scripture is no different.

This morning Jesus invites us to live a life that is so much better than the one we currently experience.

Let us remember that the people Jesus spoke to lived as oppressed people. In the very Promised Land, they were watched over by a foreign occupying force. They were living under the Romans who had their own rules when it came to justice. Jesus reminds the people that God’s rule for their lives was not the same as Roman rule.

Christ called the people of his day and us to live in ways that are counter cultural. Don’t be obsessed with getting what yours. Don’t look out for number one. Open your eyes to the people around you in need. Give, lend, go the extra mile.

Doesn’t that sound good? Wouldn’t a world lived by the principles be a kinder gentler world? What would it look like?

It might look like this advertisement from Norway.


How many of us wouldn’t like to think we would help that sweet little boy?

 I know it’s an add designed to pull on your heartstrings. But bear with me. Yes, we think, yes I would give that boy my coat, my gloves, a phone to call his teacher. But,

But what if he wasn’t a cute little boy?

What if he looked like this? (images or homeless, of other ethnicities, of poor)


Jesus calls us to love our neighbor in some pretty tangible real ways. And he makes it very clear in today’s passage who our neighbor is. It includes those we would call enemies, not just the poor cute boy on the bench.

This is what we were designed to do. To be the salt and light to a world in need of preservation and removal from darkness.

Jesus told us it was his Holiness that was contagious, not our uncleanliness.

It’s not about just loving and caring for those who love us. Cause that’s easy. It’s about loving those who despise us. Who differ from us. Who are fundamentally opposed to us.

We are called to be telios, to be perfect as God is perfect. To fulfill our purpose. To love with the love of God. That’s a tall order, a challenging one, but one you and I are designed to do.

SO friends be perfect, be perfect in love, loving out of the love God first showed us.

To the world it might look foolish, but love is the best and wisest choice we will ever make.

 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It's too early for this!


It really is too early for this to be happening. Boys and girls are suppose to think that the opposite sex has cooties until 5th or 6th grade, right?
My 9 year old daughter came to me in tears and explained to me that a boy had touched her inappropriately and he was threatening to do the same to every little girl in the neighborhood. My first reaction was to strangle the boy.
I didn't.
Instead, I thanked my daughter for telling me about this embarrassing and uncomfortable thing. I reassured that she had done nothing wrong. I held her close and affirmed once again that she had done the right thing.
Then I went out and calmly told the boy that touching anyone in an area covered by a swimsuit was inappropriate and not tolerated. "We respect one another's bodies," I said, "And we do not put our hands anywhere they are not invited to be. Do you understand me?"
I'm not sure that he did. I'm not sure he really listened.
But my daughter's and their friends heard me standing up for them. They heard me say that their bodies were their business and no one had any right to touch them. Maybe it will help them stand up for themselves and one another. Maybe it will make him think twice. I pray that it does.
I pray that they all learned something through this conversation. I pray that I'll have a better idea of what to say/do if I ever encounter this with one of my kids again.
(And I pray for that little boy, cause when my husband gets home I'll have to do more than "calm him down.")

Day 7 and Day 8 If: EQUIP

Day 7:  IF: EQUIP
Read John 3:22-36

If you believe this is true:
  • What does this say about God?
God provides. There were those seeking baptism, God provided. There were those called to baptize, God provided. John knew of and trusted in God's provision and so found joy in Christ, not competition from Christ! God brings God's plan into completion. We may not always know it, or see it in the moment, but God is working all things to completion.
  • What does this say about you?
How/When do I compete with Christ rather than rejoicing in Christ? What areas do I need to pay attention to so that I can notice where God is working? How do I come alongside Christ and be a helpmate instead of a hindrance?
  • What does this say about the world?
God has come into the world and is continuing to come into the world. The world seeks to divide and concur and its easy to fall into that mindset. How often do we let that mindset keep us from rejoicing with or working with other Christians or congregations? How do we as the church continue to be the church universal and not a divided separate set of sects?


Day 8: IF: EQUIP
Read John 4:1-42
If you believe this is true:
  • What does this say about God?
God does not live in the same divisions that bind humanity. This discourse between a Samaritan WOMAN and Jewish MAN should not have ever happened!!! And YET! God saw her as a creation, a loved creation, and offered relationship. Even though she was wary, God continued to initiate contact. Even though she was defensive, God pursued her.
  • What does this say about you?
Why do I think its great for God to pursue others, but that I'm too great a sinner for God to pursue me? God is no respecter of persons, so why do I find myself dealing with that mindset? How can I demonstrate this great love that Jesus showed? Am I afraid to reach out, or afraid of being rebuffed?
  • What does this say about the world?
The world try's to keep people isolated, in darkness. If you feel like your the only one, then you won't reach out for support, you won't seek out help and you will continue to live in fear. The light has come into the world and the darkness has not, will not overcome it! The offer of relationship, not judgment, not conformity, but RELATIONSHIP allows others to see the good that Christ is doing. And once that relationship occurs, once that transformative moment happens, we cannot help but share with the world the freeing and wonderful news we have heard!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Day six IF: EQUIP study John 3: 1-21

Day Six of IF:EQUIP
Read John 3: 1-21

If you believe this is true:
  • What does this mean about God?
God loves. God loves so much that there is a way offered to all of the world to be in closer, healed relationship with God. Christ had this talk with Nicodemus at night. No one with anything above board would have been out at night. Nicodemus is trying to hide his curiosity from others. He seeks out the Lord of light in the darkness. Interesting! Christ offers the truth of God's love an opportunity for rebirth to Nicodemus and tells Nicodemus that if he struggles with earthly things how will he understand heavenly matters? This doesn't mean that God's ways are hidden, it means, to me, that Gods ways are so open but we struggle in the earthly minutia and won't let ourselves be freed to understand God's ways.
  • What does this mean about you?
How often have I come in darkness to seek the light? I am like Nicodemus, seminary educated, a minister, a religious leader and sometimes I have a hard time believing or seeing where God is acting in the world. Yet Christ does not give up one me. The offer is always there, always present, I just need to reach out and seek the conversation!
  • What does this mean about the world?
That there is hope for us yet! Are we all in right relationship with God all of the time? No. But, God came into the world to engage us in relationship. We are much loved and sought after.

Monday, February 17, 2014

IF: EQUIP John 2:13-25

Today's Reading from IF:EQUIP is John 2:13-25

If you believe this to be true:
  • What does this mean about God?
There was intentionality in Christ's actions. This was not a temper tantrum or God "loosing his cool" this was an action of thought and purpose. God is angered by the leaders of religion that oppresses, that holds down, that takes advantage.
  • What does this mean about you?
How often do I see things that keep others down proliferated in the church and do absolutely nothing? Where am I standing up for God and God's justice? Where am I in need of cleansing as well? How am I allowing God to show me what is of God vs. what is of man?
  • What does this mean about the world?
God is not content to leave the world as it is. God, through Christ, came to redeem the world! The world is valuable to God. There is purpose and reason intentionality in God's love for the world. God is not a benevolent dictator. God is trudging along with us showing us step by step the way to see the world as God sees it, beautiful, precious and in need of healing and restoration.

Monday Monday, it was all I hoped it would be!

At least I'm trying to reassure myself with those words from the Mamas and the Papas!

I lead Bible study this morning with a small but great group of women in my congregation. We were missing one because her son was in a bad car accident yesterday and she was dealing with the insurance aftermath today. (He's banged up, but fine, still praying for the others in the other vehicle.)  We shared about our lives, our struggles and our desires to draw closer to God. The subject of this particular study is evangelism and the women continually talk about how intimidating the idea of evangelism is to them. But then you talk about how they are relating to others, sharing their stories with those in need, giving to the poor and they don't see that as evangelism, that's missions or outreach or even just good manners. When did spreading the gospel (the definition I tend to think of for evangelism) become all about getting people to pray a "magic saving prayer" or realize their depraved nature and desperate need for salvation? Sharing Christ is important but its not a 5 step sure fire process. Its about building relationships and sharing where we've come from and what, with God's help we are trying to grow to.

I guess I will always love the T.D. Niles quote "Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to get bread."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sermon 1 Corinthians 3:1-9

Thanks to Robin over at Beautiful and Terrible for the fantastic ending!

Choices. We’ve all made our far share of choices this week. Some of them were easy, affecting only ourselves, but some were much more difficult with others lives being affected as well. Take for instance the decision to call of school three days this week. No doubt that choice was made thoughtfully, with the best information possible at the time. And the choice was intended to preserve life, to prevent people especially our educators and children, from being put in harm’s way. But as a parent of three children who stayed home most of the week I’d be lying if I told you that I was always in agreement with that choice!
Our texts this morning are all about choices. Not the typical a or b choices, but rather life choices. In Deuteronomy Moses reminds the people to choose life. They have been in the dessert wondering for 40 years, 40 years! We complain about our GPS directions sending us a block out of our way!
The Israelites are approaching the end of that journey and about to step into the promised land. Moses tells them “I have set before you life and death. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.” It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Choose life! But how do we know what will lead to life and what will lead to death? Moses says Obedience to God, Love of God, Walking in the way of God, Holding fast to God.
What do each of these things have in common, what’s the thread that holds obedience, love, journeying and holding together? God. Only God, Always God.
Moses was speaking to a people with a troubled checkered past and he was reminding them that God is the life giver, so choose life, choose God!
In Matthew Jesus is still up on that mountain preaching. And this week his words are harder to hear. No pretty pictures about peacemakers. Instead we get a bold face don’t do it, don’t even think about doing it! And while these sayings can seem harsh to us, (really Jesus, take out my eye, cut off my hand?) they are really Jesus’ way of saying choose life as well. Choose to live your life not objectifying others, choose to live a life that does not cause harm. Choose to live the life Jesus has been telling us about all through chapter 5. A life that can only be lived by Obedience to God, Love of God, Walking in the way of God, Holding fast to God.  Choose life, and that life abundant!
Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church also is about choices.   This first century church had to have gotten on Paul’s last nerve! They were an honoree group, rife with division with drama! They have divided their loyalties it seems between Paul and Apollos. And of course each side is right and the other is wrong! Now this never happens in our modern churches does it? No one ever says “I like the way preacher so-in-so did communion. Or, “Sister Elder was a much better prayer” or “Brother whoever would have been at my door before I even thought to call him.” We certainly have never gone around saying that church was better when we were kids or if it was good enough for them its good enough for us. I know I’ve never said anything like that. (Pause and wait for lightning to strike)
The people in Corinth however have said stuff like this and much more divisive than this. And Paul tells them what exactly? That of course their concerns need to be addressed and that he will form a committee to hear their grievances. Right? No, He says to them, it’s not about who your leaders are, whether you studied under Paul or Apollos, they planted and watered, but GOD gave the growth.
Moses said, its all about God, Jesus taught its all about God, and here even Paul is laying it out, its all about God.
Choosing life means choosing God and choosing God means choosing life!
Choosing life means choosing to allow God bring us growth. Sounds easy enough. But growth comes in so many different ways.
The summer between forth and fifth grade I grew, a lot. Close to 3 inches. And while it was great to be the same height as my mom, those nights of growing pains were torture. I wanted my legs and arms to stop hurting, I wanted a good night’s rest. I would have been happy to stay my previous size if the pain would just stop. Now as an adult who has not grown in height since the end of 5th grade I wish those nights had gone on just a bit longer!
Growth does not always come in pretty packages with expected ribbons and bows. As I’m sure any master gardener will tell you to get growth sometimes pruning has to occur. This sounds counter-intuitive, but if you don’t prune off the old weight of some plants, new health growth is hampered. It doesn't always come in joyful ways, sometimes it hurts. Sometimes its gut wrenching, like the grief of losing a job, or the pain of physical trauma. Sometimes we would rather sit it out on the sidelines rather than learn from it, grow from it, and be better by the end of it.
No, choosing life is not always easy especially when we disagree as to what that life looks like. The people in the Corinthian congregation couldn’t agree on who’s teachings to follow. Some thought that if they followed Paul exclusively things would work out well. Others thought that Apollos was the only really knowledgeable teacher. Both taught good and godly things. But when leadership becomes the focus, there is a much deeper problem. When the church is focused internally, well then maybe it’s stopped being the church.
So how do we as a congregation, as Christ Church keep from falling into the traps of the people in the wilderness? How do we keep from being beset by divisions like the Corinthians? How do we live out a life as a congregation that is what God wants?
There is no magic formula. There is no perfect bible study. There is no five ten or even twenty step plan that will assure success. Choose life, while it’s a simple phase, is a continuing process.
Choose life, by focusing on the live giver. God was central to the Israelites journey to and reaching of the promised land. They could have made the trek in a few months, but they lost their focus, worshiped other God’s and it took 40 years to get back on track.
Choose life! God’s ways had become so loaded down with laws and regulations that the people no longer saw God through them. Jesus cleared the path showing that God’s ways are not our ways; that God’s desires are so much greater than what we give ourselves!
Choose life! Paul tells the church in Corinth, the seeds have been planted, they are being watered, but growth, growth comes from God. Focus on that! Focus on God at the heart of all things and growth will come!
At the end of today’s epistle passage, Paul says to the Corinthians: “We are God's servants, working together; you are God's field, God's building.”  How interesting!  Paul does not say: The field over there across the street is what God needs.  Paul does not say: This church building is what God needs.  Paul does not say, “The way you’ve always done things is what God needs.” 
Paul says, “YOU are God’s field.  YOU are God’s building.”  YOU.  The community of YOU.
This should sound familiar.
You are the salt of the earth.
You are the light of the world.
You are the people of grace and peace.
You are the beloved.              
You are God’s field and building.

Believe it!  Choose life!  For God gives the growth.

Friday, February 14, 2014

If: Equip day 4

I'm still attempting to study alongside others as a personal spiritual discipline. I am currently using IF: EQUIP as my resource.

Read John 2: 1-12

If you believe this is true:
  • What does this mean about God?
This passage is perhaps for me the beginning of my understanding of sacramental theology. That here Christ consecrates the mundane and makes it not just good, but the best!
  • What does this mean about you?
God can and will change me into the best I can be. It will take work, and it might be painful, and I might not be ready for it, but it will happen!
  • What does this mean about the world?
That God comes alongside us in our celebrations and in our mourning. That God actively cares about us even in the little things. So why do we push our agenda on God? Why do we want less than what God wants for us?

Friday Random Five

Today's Friday random five comes from Rev Karla.

Hello Gals and Pals,
Happy Valentine’s Day!  I know that some (a lot) of you are digging out from snow and ice and lack of electricity.  We feel for you, and love you!     Some of you have a love-hate relationship with Valentine’s Day.  ‘Nuff said.     I happen to enjoy Valentine’s Day in spite of having exactly one date ever on VD (before I was married).   I love celebrating Love!   So, all that is to say is that our Friday Five is to tell us about five random things that you love.    For example, here are mine:
1. I love RevGalBlogPals (and no one paid me to say it.  I just feel warm in my heart when I think of this amazing beautiful community.  So, thank you!
2.  I love my mom.  She cracks me up.  Yesterday she went out and bought an Iphone.  We spent an hour trying on the phone trying to set up her apple ID.  Didn’t go so well, but we are going to try again.  (She’s 79).
3.  I love the church where I am serving as Interim Associate Pastor/Sabbatical Pastor. Lot’s of wonderful people and energy.  I know this is a special blessing.
4.  I love Trader Joe’s baked tofu.  It fills me up and I don’t know…..
5.  I also ADORE chocolate covered popcorn from Peterbrook Chocolatier in Jacksonville, FL.  It’s so delicious, and one year a student brought me a gallon tin of it for Valentine’s Day. Huge treat.  I also love cinnamon hearts. 
So, thanks for playing and Love and Grace to you!

So, here's my random 5!

1. I love when all three of my itty bitties crawl into my lap for snuggles!

2. I love that the same three itty bitties are in school today after three snow days!

3. I love my secret pal at the church I serve who has kept me in subway gift cards and chocolate free sweets. (I'm allergic to chocolate.)

4. I love almost any sunrise or sunset, but especially those in West Texas where the view is 360 degrees.

5. I love my family! This includes my biological and family of choice! They have given me much needed support to get back on my feet again and dive headfirst into my calling.

I'm blessed. So blessed!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

IF:Equip day 3

Read John 1: 35-51

If this is true:

  • What does this mean about God?
God does not only call the elite or the equipped. God equips the ones that are called. There is no need of status before coming and seeing that the Lord is good.
  • What does this mean about you?
God will/is equipping me for the journey, There is a peace in knowing Jesus knew me " a way off." I find joy in knowing that I have been told by the teacher to "come and see."
  • What does this mean about the world?
God does not buy into our prejudices or need for reputations. God calls us out of and into places we could never imagine. Its not about being "respectable" its about being available. If we open ourselves up to be fully available to God, how could the world change?

Snow day number 3

We are almost done with our third snow day, this one with actual snow and ice. The kids are doing well and lil' man actually got out in the cold wetness for the first time in his 21 months. Supper cute!!
First Steps in the snow!

Cuddling with Daddy!

Not so sure about this white stuff!












Right now the princesses are done with the snow stuff and are running around singing the soundtrack to Frozen at the top of their lungs. (Not that that's any different from any other day mind you!)

I look at these precious gifts and I am overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with love, with gratitude, with joy, with hope. God has blessed me, and I hope them, with this family.

Lord, grow them strong in their faith. Let them trust you so absolutely that they never really doubt. Give them the assurance of self to know who they are, even when someone tries to tell them otherwise. Let them know they don't have to prove themselves to me or to you. They are loved just as they are. 
Lord, help me to nurture them, discipline them, love them as you do. Let me not try to be the hip mom, but rather a good mom, concerned more with the long term outcome then the minute by minute cool factor. Let me not freak out when they are pre-teens and teens. Let me hold my breath and count to ten before saying anything potentially out of anger rather than love. Give me the wisdom to help and the words to use. But also grant me the knowledge of when to stay silent, to let my presence speak for me.
Lord, they are my life, my breath, my heart help me to care for them as such without disappearing into them. Help me to be healthy myself so that my burdens don't rest on their shoulders. Help me to breath in your spirit and not the negativity I so often steep in myself. Let me be show your love in showing them that I recognize your love of me! Let me be a good example in how I succeed and in how I fail. Let me not be afraid to share those stories of failure so that they may learn that I have never been perfect and don't expect perfection from them.
Lord, basically don't let me mess up the beautiful creations they are!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

IF: EQUIP John 1: 1-18

I am trying out the IF:Equip study.  It's a bible reading plan with readings Monday-Friday. Brief reflection and quiet time is something I struggle with, so perhaps this will help me get in the habit.

Read John 1: 1-18

If you believe this is true:

  • What does this mean about God?
It tells us that God and Christ and the Holy Spirit have always been interconnected, in relationship, from the beginning. It tells us that God was actively participating in creation, and is actively participating in creation. It tells us that God's love does not end, but is ongoing.
  • What does this mean about you?
That God is not done with me yet. That Jesus has come to light up the dark places, where too often I want/like to hide. That I, like John, am not the light, but someone called to bring others to the light.
  • What does this mean about the world?
That God is in love with the world God created. That God has not given up on the world, but continues to make the offer of reconciliation, of healing, of wholeness. That as dark as the world gets, it has not and will not overcome God!

Read John 1: 19-34

If you believe this is true:

  • What does this mean about God?
That God's truth will be revealed, even when other's stand in the way. That God does have plans to reveal God-self to the world and to me. That God doesn't always work through "established Leadership."
  • What does this mean about you?
I need to listen to the right voices. That I cannot rely on the established, comfortable, readily available sources but trust that God is revealed through those and through current sources. I must be resilient when I KNOW God is speaking to or calling me.
  • What does this mean about the world?
The world can be hostile and oppressive, but God will still make an appearance. That God's limitless grace is just that, LIMITLESS! Sometimes God's word comes to those we least expect.

Return from hiatus

So, I've not posted in way too many months to count and have greatly missed the opportunity to catalog thoughts, feelings, inspirations and the like. I'm trying to do better as a part of a personal spiritual awareness program. Perhaps it will help me to see where I am and where I have been. I find myself wishing I had not deleted my earlier blog, Can a Texas Bluebonnet Bloom in Tennessee?, without saving the material. I wish I could honestly look back at the things I said, what I did and reflect on how far God has brought me and my family.

However, no use pining over a past mistake!

Today we are on our second snow day, this one without snow, in northern Alabama. The 21 month old is down for a nap, the 9 year old is playing on the Wii and the 5 year old is playing nick jr games. Perhaps I can accomplish some sermon prep today after all!

I'm looking at 1 Corinthians 3, the passage about how Paul planted, Apollos watered, but the growth came from God. The issue of ownership has been a big one in our congregation and I am pondering how to address this within this passage. While it may be obvious to me that the church does not "belong" to any human, how can I point that out, while still encouraging participation?