Monday, November 30, 2009

Word to your mother.

Like my silly title?

Ok, for reals...God is soo good!! I had a great great Thanksgiving. Got to see Lindsay (cousin who goes to school at Liberty in Virginia), and got to see my mom's cousin, Jackie, and Jackie's new husband (from Maine!) and all the rest of my mom's side of the family in the glorious Cleveland, TX.

We had a fun time hanging out...played Cowboy Golf, watched football, made homemade cards, ate, ate some more, went to a Stoney LaRue concert in Spring, and went shopping. I am saying no to pie until Christmas!

Church on Sunday was good. I like their pastor. He's bold! He said that usually by the second worship song in a church service, he's like a caged animal; he keeps it in because he doesn't want to freak anybody out or make anyone think he's Pentecostal. I just laughed and thought about all the "freak" expressions of worship that abound at my church. People don't hold back, that's for sure.

He gave a statistic that only 5% of Baptists will ever lead a person to the Lord in their lifetime. I don't know how accurate that is, but I'm sure it's in the right ballpark. That's kind of crazy. He said he knows a lot of us in the audience think that that's only the pastor's job, or the music minister's job...but then he said we are ALL ON THE HOOK. While many of us, (myself included), are afraid to share our faith with people, the reasons for not doing it are almost always FEAR-related. The pastor reminded us that when we step out in obedience, we have no reason to let fear stop us, because God is WITH US. He's working on the heart of the person, so there is no magic in our words. He doesn't call us to do these things in our own strength. The key thing is to make sure we are focused on him and listening to his spirit as we speak out.

God challenged me with this in my quiet time this morning:

"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."
(Galatians 5:16)

LIVE BY THE SPIRIT. Seems to be an impossible command, especially when coupled with having to reject the desires of the flesh. Almost as impossible as "Be perfect, for I am perfect." Yet, when God gives these commands, he has most certainly not called us to do something that we are incapable of accomplishing (with his help).

Could the spirit of God really encompasses every avenue of my life? Well, I am certainly NOT holy!! However, the holy one lives in me. I like what Joy Dawson says about this process: "If we choose to walk in obedience to revealed truth and the next thing He tells us to do, His holy life will start to be manifest through us (no matter how unholy we are now, or how impossible it may seem for us to become holy)."

By the way the scripture is worded, the order is not to find Life, then go searching for the Spirit in Life. I need to find the SPIRIT first, and then every part of my Life flows out of that place.

So that's my challenge this week: to LIVE BY THE SPIRIT. Feel free to join me in it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Thee Wed

Erin and Charles got married on Saturday!! So crazy. The wedding was very unique and I really liked it. I think everyone in the audience felt blessed as they left. Well maybe not everyone. It definitely was not a typical wedding. It was longer, more centered on God's love than the couple's love, hence lots of worship music, reading from Song of Songs, communion, etc. I loved all the music selected for the ceremony. And Jessica Touchton was in town and sang angelically!

At the reception, Erin called all the single ladies into this one room and had married women hand out roses to each of us. This was in place of the traditional bouquet toss. Each rose had a promise attached to it and a blank side for us to ask God to speak a promise to each of us later. It was a really neat idea. It made everyone feel so valued as a woman and not depressed about being single. It was especially cool being encouraged by Erin, who is in her mid '30s and has been to many many weddings wondering when it would be her turn.

The rose I got had this attached: "For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God will be without power or without the impossibility of fulfillment."

I asked God for a specific promise I could cling to and this is what he gave me: "I AM THE KING OF YOUR HEART, AND I WILL SURELY RULE WELL OVER THE MATTERS OF MY KINGDOM IN YOU."

Thank you, Lord!!! I relinquish all rights to control. I relinquish the right to be married by 30 years old. I give you the freedom to guide and direct my future. Life is worth the living just because you live! Thank you that you see me as your bride and that you are ravished by my beauty. Thank you that you truly satisfy me and that I find contentment in you for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health...You're so good to me, Jesus!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wow! Today was so fun. Started out not fun b/c I had to work from 7-noon and was running on empty in the restedness category. But then...had my old roommate's (Rachel's) wedding to attend. Had a blast with friends at Moon River Ranch in Satin, TX (not far from Waco). It was a gorgeous day, beautiful venue, and I felt like I connected more with God there than at any other point in the day.

So now both of my roommates from the Colonial house are married off. Well, Anna and I are still the single ladies, and we are ok with it, although...just FYI I caught the bride's bouquet! It was kinda weird, like unnecessary attention on me. Two ladies asked me if I had a boyfriend and I was like you can start praying that one in!

The BBQ paled in comparison to Lockhart's finest, however the pumpkin cake was sooo delish! We had a blast dancing and that ranch was extremely nice. It was just fantastic all around.

Well then our friends Amy and Sky from Lifegroup were to be engaged later! It was hard b/c we saw them at the wedding and knew all about the proposal that night. I was nervous for Sky and bubbling over with excitement for Amy! I bet today felt so long to Sky. Then we gathered at a family's house for a surprise engagement party, which was also really fun. So the theme of today was love and marriage...go together like a horse and carriage...

Speaking of horses and carriages, Rachel rode up in one and it was awesome. She looked amazing and Ben's face when he saw her reflected that she really is the girl of his dreams. Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin D'ardenne!

Got in a lot of quality time with Maddi, Liz and Anna this weekend. Priceless. They are such a blessing and a joy in my life. They're gonna make awesome bridesmaids one day! Anna said she wants me to sing in her wedding :) I wonder the order of when we all will get married. Sorry, marriage is on the brain...I usually don't dwell on this subject for long, but this weekend's made me think about things in new ways. It's good! Erin and Charles' wedding is next weekend. Tis all for now friends. I am beat! Hope each one of you is doing well.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Living Water

So our Fall Outreach is this weekend! Today, actually. We leave for College Station at 1 p.m. and will be back Sunday early evening. I'm excited! Our team is so fun, there's about 15 of us going, then the other two groups are going to Norman, OK and Belton.

Reading in Isaiah this morning and thought I'd share this passage from chapter 12:

"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord is my strength and my song;
He has become my salvation.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
In that day, you will say:
'Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name;
Make known among the nations what he has done,
And proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
Let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
For great is the Holy One of Israel among you.'"

What that says to me about my role:
Replace fear with trust. When I trust in his strength, I will have no fear of inadequacy or fear of man. Sing and shout what he has done - which is rescued me from the pit of hell and from power of sin over my life and given me living hope. Proclaim his name to the world (and College Station) and tell them what he has done for us. Have a heart of thanksgiving and prayer (call on him).

God's role in this deal:
Dispenser of strength, song, glory, joy and best of all salvation. He offers his perfect salvation without prejudice. He is real and active in our lives, and puts praise on our lips in order that we might share His glory with those who know not of Him.

I think of the Samaritan woman at the well and how Jesus read her mail and then offered her living water. He didn't condemn her sin, but called her to return to her husband. While everyone avoided this woman with a bad reputation, Jesus went out of his way to meet her where she would be. And it wasn't church, y'all!!!

I think everyone draws water (life) from something. It could be drawing from the opposite sex in order to get the love and affection one needs; drawing from the well of education/knowledge for satisfaction; drawing from a well of religious acts and good works; drawing from the well of selfishness, of fame, etc. But there's a well that holds ETERNAL LIFE and when one drinks of this well, he will never thirst again. Hence, God is the only thing in this world that I've found that truly satisfies. And we will draw with JOY. We will live a good life when we choose this well! I think too many times we think Christianity will be a boring life of "DO NOTS." Yet we are more free than we think to live rich lives in Jesus. It is us, not God who imposes all these religious rules. In a sense, we trap ourselves to live these "lifeless" lives. For God always has more than we could ever ask for or imagine.

That's something the Lord is teaching me right now...that too many times when we speak of "revival," we want to plan all these meetings at the church and hope people will be drawn to them. Isn't that kind of like going to our familiar well and waiting for sinners to miraculously come to us? They are nothing like us and many feel uncomfortable with the way Christians behave or have treated them, and wouldn't dare to come near. So...the alternative calls us to proactivity: to GO WHERE THEY ARE just like Jesus did. God is calling us to be a people that go outside of the church walls instead of being so church-centric. I often feel that in the church community life, we are so busy attending this meeting, that service and the other that we are neglecting the great commission and have become self-serving. It's awesome to get fat in the Lord, but if we don't share the food (love, grace, etc) we've received, we are just being spiritual gluttons.

Even in speech, we lose non-Christians with words like "sanctification, living by the spirit, salvation, edification, justification," etc.

So Lord, let me speak simply and purely of your love this weekend!! Lead me to their wells to offer living water, just as you did. I am no higher than any other, for we are all saved by your grace. Salvation is simply "deliverance from the power and effects of sin." It is "liberation from ignorance or illusion" and "preservation from destruction or failure" (Merriam-Webster).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fort Hood shooting

We heard about this at the VA today and everyone was talking about it. It's such a tragedy and so unexpected. I always wonder what's going on in a criminal's mind. I probably don't want to know. But I just don't get it.

As one lady said about her daughter who was injured, "I thought I was more worried about her going over to Iraq than here, just doing training in Texas. She just got there yesterday." The number killed and number injured kept rising as the story developed, and as far as I know, 12 are dead and 31 wounded. Lord, bless and counsel these people's families and surround that place with your protection. Bring justice.

It astounds me that on any given day there are 25,000 plus people on that base. It's the largest Army base in the U.S. We have a few people employed by the VA that work at Fort Hood and they are all safe, so that is good news.