Tuesday, January 3, 2017

#OneWord2017

Choosing my #oneword this year has been more challenging than others.  I have reflected on the words:  seek, joy, push, intentional, and presence.  Each word has significance.  How to choose?  I have decided to go in a new direction this year.  For 2017 I will have a professional word and a personal word.  Why?  Because I'm in a place where that fits.  So, I'm going for it! 

My personal word for 2017 is "presence".  I owe it to my family and friends to be fully present.  That means setting aside my phone.  It means looking at social media less and if necessary, not at all.  It also means that I long for the presence of the Lord in my life.  I want it in everything that I do-personally and professionally.

Acts 2:28
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence.’[a]
 
 

For 2017 my professional word is "intentional".  I want to be intentional with my words and actions with students.  I will plan for conferences and goal setting.  I will be strategic with lesson planning.  I will be intentional with the use of my time. 

Genesis 50:20
You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.
 
I love this verse.  Joseph was a leader called by God.  He was brought through many different circumstances before he took on the leadership role that God had for him.  As I continue to walk through the personal challenges that have presently been set before me I will hold close the calling that I have been given.  Remembering that God is equipping me and refining me all along the journey.  I do not know what tomorrow holds.  I'm just taking one step at a time, letting God lead.  Here is a song that has shaped my vision for 2017.  Happy New Year!


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

This is Now

One of my favorite people in the Gospel is the apostle Peter.  I can identify with Peter in so many ways!  Peter was a man of faith.  He left everything he knew to follow Jesus.  Jesus said "come, follow me" and Peter didn't even hesitate!  What incredible faith!  There are moments in my life when my faith has shined like that.  A job offer 1,700 miles from friends and family at home taken in faith.  The surrender of a 17 month old child in the hospital being tested for leukemia in faith.  Surrendering positions in schools that I loved because I felt called.  God has led me through some crazy, amazing, and downright scary things but my faith has been there to guide me.  But let's be honest.  My faith doesn't always shine like that.  There are times when I doubted that it was God calling me.  There have been times when I didn't want to be called and closed my ears to His voice. 

When Jesus told Peter that he would deny him three times, Peter said "No, Lord!  Never!"  He knew how much he loved Jesus.  He had given up everything to follow him.  However, Peter did what Jesus predicted he would do.  He denied his Lord.  When Peter called out to Jesus on the water "If it's you, Lord, let me come out to you". Peter did it.  While he kept his eyes on Jesus he walked upon the waves!  When the reality of the crashing waves began to register, Peter's focus wavered and he began to sink. 

What I love most about Peter was that he was impulsive.  He trusted Jesus with all of his heart, and when it mattered most, Peter failed.  What was the response to this failure?  Love.  Jesus showed grace, mercy, and love.  Have you failed lately?  Do you wish you could turn back time and change something you said or did impulsively?  Jesus comes to us in our failure and our faith and he says "come".  Follow me.  I love this song by Casting Crowns "This is Now".  It tells Peter's story and reminds us that Jesus doesn't look back at our failures.


 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My word for 2015.

open adjective \ˈō-pən, -pəm\:  having no enclosing or confining barrier :  accessible on all or nearly all sides characterized by ready accessibility and usually generous attitude: as (1) :  generous in giving (2) :  willing to hear and consider or to accept and deal with :  responsive(3) :  free from reserve or pretense :  franb :  accessible to the influx of new factors not restricted to a particular group or category of participants 

Did you know that the word "open" has 20 different definitions?  I have attached the meanings of the word that best describe what I'm going for here but I am praying that my heart will be "open" to whatever meanings God has planned.  Open.  Open hands that give generously and serve without hesitation.  The blessing of an open mind that will listen with empathy and respect even when I may not agree and *gasp* possibly change my thoughts or opinions.  May I have an open heart to love the people God puts in my path unconditionally.  I love the the definition that states "not restricted to a particular group or category of participants".  May my heart be open to the people that God wants to place in my path to encourage, stretch, refine, disciple, discipline...reciprocally.  This means that I need to get out of my little introverted comfort zone.  It won't be easy.  Isn't that the point though?  
Things change faster than we can imagine.  In the blink of an eye things can forever be different.  May I be open to whatever the Lord has in store for 2015.  God is good.  Always. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Greater...

"Greater than".   When I say this so many things come to mind.  As an elementary school teacher it's used as a mathematical term or symbol.  An "alligator" that eats the larger number so to speak.  Today I'm saying it in a different way.  As a lover of God.  Jesus.  He's "Greater than"  my sin. Your sin.  All of our sin.  It doesn't matter how our minds categorize the sin (big, little, not really that bad).   He's greater than all of it.  He's "greater than"  the grave.  Death.  It didn't hold him.  He came back 3 days later.   Because of this, it doesn't hold us back either.  We can have eternity with Him.  Celebrating.  Dancing. Singing. New.  Starting the moment we surrender our hearts to Him.  He's "greater than" me.  My strength is nothing compared to His.  When I finally surrender and realize how weak I am (this takes awhile folks, I'm pretty strong willed and hard headed) He comes in and takes over with strength beyond my wildest dreams or imagination.  He's "greater than" any other throne.  We all have other thrones in our lives.  Things that struggle to be number one.  Not bad things (sometimes).  However still things that my sinful nature allows to compete with my Savior.  My husband.  My children.  Work.  Things.  He is greater.  When I put Him in His correct place, the magic happens.  The natural balance that is supposed to be there resumes.  When I don't, there is chaos.  Stress.  Frustration.  He's above all other names (Greater than).  We do not need to fear.  He is in control.  Always.  No matter what tries to shake us.  If we put our trust in him, He will guide us through the nastiest of storms.  It might not look pretty.  But He will give us what we need to get through it.

Merry Christmas friends!  He was born to be Greater!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Grinch: WHO stole Christmas?

Ahhh, Christmas time.  The season of Jingle bells,
twinkling lights and Christmas carols.  The birthday of our savior Jesus.  It should be easy to focus on the beauty and relevance of this time of year.  Yet, somehow it's not always that easy.  Some of us get wrapped up in things that make us too busy.  Whether it's too many "celebrations", shopping, decorating or festive events the season can get lost in busyness.  Maybe there is something more...  A loved one that is no longer around to celebrate with you.  Loneliness.  Heartbreak.  Reminders of things that haunt your mind.  Jesus came so that we could experience freedom from all of these things.  The enemy would like nothing more than to steal away our Christmas joy!  How do we fight this kind of battle?  With the word of God! 
 Phil. 4:8  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.


Joy to the World, the Lord has come!!!  Merry Christmas friends.  If you are looking for a place to celebrate the birth of Christ this season come join me at River City Community Church.  Check out our website at www.reallife.org.

A Tribute

Two days ago, God called our friend Frank Morris home.  He had been fighting a battle with colon cancer for the last 8 years.  I could sense his time was near, but somehow when I found out I was surprised.  I ask myself "Why?".  This is what I've come up with:  I'm surprised because Frank was a man who lived each day as if he had a thousand more.  It didn't seem like he was sick, even though he was.  He cherished his sons and his grandchildren and adored his wife Sandie.  He spoke of his family with the love and adoration of a husband and father who truly knew how much he'd been blessed.  Some people take relationships for granted.  Frand did not.  He served at the AIDS Foundation with gusto and blessed the residents and people who worked there with hope and encouragement.   When he was in the hospital this last time I watched in wonder as he prayed for an orderly that came into his room with a limp.  He was nauseous and hadn't eaten in days and yet he noticed someone else's pain.  How can that be?  It's clear that Frank was operating in the strength of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  That is the only explanation.  Frank radiated God's glory so brilliantly that people were instantly drawn to him.  He was blessed with the spiritual gift of encouragement.  He could sense the strengths of people and bring them to awareness.  You couldn't help but feel good about yourself in his presence.

Frank Morris is now in heaven with the savior he adores.  He has left a legacy of the love of Christ behind him.  He will be missed greatly, but always remembered as a man of faith, adoring husband, loving father, and loyal friend.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Need a "Do Over"?

Mistakes.  We all make them.  Sometimes they are small and can be erased like a misspelled word written in pencil.  Others are written on our hearts in sharpie.  They make themselves at home in our minds and live comfortably there.  Sometimes they grow and multiply like a giant mistake snowball.  Have you ever wished you could stop and go back and change something?  Rewind time and make a better decision?  I know I have wished for this many times!   Here is a passage of scripture from Mark chapter 14 that's been on my heart lately:

27 On the way, Jesus told them, “All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say,
‘God will strike[g] the Shepherd,
    and the sheep will be scattered.’
28 But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”
29 Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.”
30 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
31 “No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same.

When Jesus told Peter he would deny him 3 times before the rooster crowed, Peter said "never!".  He loved Jesus.  He had walked on water with him and knew in his heart who Jesus was.  And yet, what Jesus said would happen did.  Peter did deny knowing Jesus.   Not once.  Three times. 

66 Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by 67 and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, “You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.[m]
68 But Peter denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed.[n]
69 When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, “This man is definitely one of them!” 70 But Peter denied it again.
A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, “You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean.”
71 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” 72 And immediately the rooster crowed the second time.
Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept.

 I wonder if Peter wished he could change that.  I wonder if he thought about going back and boldly proclaiming his love for Jesus in that moment.  I wonder if it weighed heavily on his mind and burdened his heart.   What was Jesus' response to Peter then next
time he saw him?


15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?[e]
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know
 I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You 
know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.

Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved him.  One time for each time Peter had denied him.  He stands there calling to us in the middle of our brokenness still calling "Do you love me?"  The cross is a message of love.  A chance for a "do over".    A chance we don't deserve.  A chance offered in God's grace and mercy.  This Sunday is Easter Sunday.  Easter is my favorite holiday because 19 years ago on an Easter Sunday God woke me up and got my attention.  I was given a do-over.  That day Jesus' death and resurrection became personal.  I laid all of my poor choices and heartache at the foot of the cross.  My life has never been the same.  It's not perfect by any means.  Daily I'm thankful for that still small voice that calls out to my heart "Do you love me?"

Come join me at  River City Community Church
 this Saturday night at 5:00, or Sunday at 8,9:39, or 11.  The topic of the message is "Need a Do Over?".  Come.  Broken or not.  Just come.