Weekend road trip to Alabama to Abby's family's lakehouse over Labor Day was sooo fun. Had a blast with Abby and Charis in the car and then with Marilyn and Abby's sister and other family once we got there. Good southern folks.
Got a little sunshine and water fix. Geez I love the water/sun combo. Got to go waterskiing which I have only done once and it was in 2004. I did pretty well too, I was proud! I still can't believe we drove through the night on Friday and landed at the cabin at 7 a.m.! At 5 a.m. we were getting backed into by an old woman in the rain at a gas station!! What the heck??! But all was good, no scratches luckily she was slow and cautious enough to not ram the car too hard.
We did end up chasing some crazy rabbit trails (unintentionally) looking for Starbucks and Chick-fil-a. Charis' TomTom was not the most helpful device as it often led us to stores that no longer exist. Anyways, I feel a lot closer to Abby and Charis and feel blessed just to have that quality time and be able to open up. They are both incredible!!! Great great friends.
Tonight, Carl Gulley came and spoke to our Elevate class. That man is a firecracker!! He's the kind of speaker that makes you wanna rethink everything you've ever thought about God and Christianity and take action! Lord let me not be just a hearer of the word, but a doer!
After he spoke, we were given time to ask God what he wants to change in us, or what risks he wants us to take in response to his extravagant love. I specifically heard the Lord say that he wants me to be obedient and consistent to tithing at least 10% of my income to the church...and the rest as directed for specific mission related things or as ppl have need and the Lord compels me to give. I have been fighting him on this one for a while...making up all kinds of excuses as to why I am not tithing or what the money is being used for, etc. I've tried to ignore the nagging sense that I need to be doing it and I have finally given in. Why? Because giving in to God is geting free!! By being obedient and giving my finances to God (they're not mine anyway), it allows me up to serve him and love him more wholeheartedly, and I also trust that he has a treasure waiting for me either on earth or for sure in heaven. I don't want to be stingy with the blessings he has given me. I want to give to those in need out of the wealth that I have. Ok...so I am not in the least bit wealthy, but hey in a 3rd world country I certainly would be! The hardest thing about tonight was that we were challenged to publicly announce to the class what God told us to do so that we would be accountable by getting it out in front of people. I went up first but getting there was so so so hard. I probably fought the urge to go up for like 5 minutes. And no one else had broken the seal of vulnerability. I felt glued to my chair. But finally, God gave me the grace to put one foot in front of the other and make my way to the mic. So I did it. I committed my finances to the Lord and told my peers that I would be tithing faithfully in response to what I heard Him say. Our simple steps in faith are so pleasing to our Father. He has so much in store for us if we just allow our mind's attention and our heart's affection to be on Him above any other person or material thing. I really think when we get in that place, because we are right with God, our viewpoint has shifted and we begin to carry burdens with more grace and are free in his presence to walk in the light without fear or comparison or condemnation or shame.
I check my rights at the cross.
I check my time at the cross.
I check my finances at the cross.
I am yours and you are mine.
Jesus, give me fresh revelation of what you look like. Erase my old picture of you (ha like an etch-a-sketch!) and re-illustrate it. Let me not stand before the cross and your sacrifice and be...emotionless. After all, you sure get excited when we are victorious! Show me the "Touchdown Jesus" who gets super excited and jumps with joy when I make steps of faith for you. Each day when I spend an hour with you in the morning, let me feel you rejoicing over me.
"An extravagant act of love towards us demands an extravagant response." (Carl Gulley)