Sunday, August 25, 2013

Don't hate me because I think You're gonna be Awesome

God sees more in us, unnaturally, than is there naturally, and He still loves us and wants the best and most for us. He created us to be dominion takers over all the earth, not just our 10x10 room.

"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us", even when we were His enemies Christ died for us.

Why is it that when we see the potential in others that they often run away? Fear of disappointing or failure? 

My dad said very often, "The saddest thing that can be said about someone is that they had potential". That does NOT mean that it is sad to have potential but rather it is sad to have it and not use it.

We must constantly be working on our own hearts and lives to work towards the person that God intends us to be (sanctification) and God uses all kinds of things and people to get us there. People who push us forward, people who try to hold us back, slanderers, mockers, encouragers, parents, siblings, children, success, failure, sickness, robust health and the list goes on. All these are in our lives to change us into the person God would have us to be.

In years past I have been the mocker or the one who wants to motivate by being negative. I really hadn't thought about it like that but as I grow I see that this is the case and I don't want to be like that any more.

Unfortunately it seems like that is the easier camp to be in- the negativity camp. Misery loves company and birds of a feather... and so when someone tries to be positive there is often many who are mocking the positivity or just outright upset that someone is trying to help in a way that is different than their negative way. I NEVER want to be in that camp again but it is difficult to stay positive when so many are pulling you down.

Don't be upset with me when I see more in you than you do right now. Don't slander or shun me because I am trying to help you see and attain your potential. 

And yet even in that I know that God has a plan to use negativity from others to mold and shape me, I just hate that often it is my brothers and sisters who are so negative about life. 

We have amazing potential in us. God created us to do great and wonderful things and we should be encouraging each other to look for and run after those things and to live up to the potential that He has placed in each one of us. 

God picked me, I didn't pick Him. He gave me the gifts and talents and He is preparing things for me to do and I'm not going to sit back and wait to get your approval to encourage others to dream bigger than the life they are currently living. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Faith is all about Track Record

Who has faith? 


Children have faith to take their first steps between their clapping parents or to jump off the counter top to out stretched arms.

Teenagers have faith that there will be funds connected to the check they receive after working hard at their job.

Adults have faith to drive cars down 2 lane roads toward those teenagers.

Everyone has faith but is it well founded faith?

All these examples can end in tragedy but more often than not they don't. People sometimes tell me, "You have so much faith. Are you always like this?". Well, the answer is "no" and "yes". 

When we look at ourselves as the answer to a financial problem it is easy to get discouraged with what the outcome might be. Start looking at the economic indicators and it is easy to get down and before you know it you are out on the street, in your mind. That's the problem with us, we often look the wrong direction.

The "yes" part of the answer is when I look at what God has done in so many areas and times in just my own life and just in the past few years I can't help but be enthusiastic about the future opportunities that HE will make happen. He has been, still is and always will be faithful. He has never missed. He has never fallen asleep at the wheel. His account always has money in it. He always catches his children.

The issue is HE and not ME. He is worthy to place my faith and trust in and I am not. He always delivers perfectly. 

When it comes to faith it all falls on track record.

If your team has NEVER lost a game in 5 years then you are pretty confident in the outcome of the game. If your team is the 2013 Seahawks and they are playing the local high schools, you are even more confident. Those are weak odds in comparison to the ones God has stacked up.

He has never lost. He has always delivered on every promise He has made. If a pro team compared to HS team is lop-sided we will really have a problem comprehending God delivering a victory with His advantages.

Again, we must think track record. If your team hasn't lost in 4000 years then no one is even watching the game any more because it's not interesting. We forget to watch God work not so much because we know He is going to deliver but because we think that we need to help him win and yet what He wants is our praise to point to Him when He does delivers.

How do I have "So much" faith? The object of my faith has an amazing body of work that screams to be seen and remembered and all I need to do is take my eyes off myself and look for the ways He is showing His faithfulness right now. 

He will deliver. I can't wait to tell you how it all comes around. Just keep praying and asking. We have not because we ask not and we ask and doubt. Don't let that be you.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The winds of change are blowing

Proverbs says a lot about sons who are pleasing to their parents. Wise sons make happy parents. Trustworthy sons make glad hearted moms and dads. Sons who go out and get it make happy and sad hearted parents. What?

Well, we found out just a couple of days ago that Garrett is going to China for 9-10 months to teach English at a private high school in Beijing and he leaves the 29th of this month. Wow, that came fast.

It truly did come quickly as a few weeks ago this was only on his bucket list and now it is to become a reality very shortly.

So how does a dad feel about these kinds of things? Lots of emotions for me at this time. I know that this is what we have been working towards from the start with our boys; be culture changers and go after it. That doesn't necessarily make it all high fives and chest bumps though. 

We are so proud of Garrett and his hard work that has allowed his college Mandarin teacher to take notice of his abilities and be confident enough to give him a referral to the supervisor in China over the incoming teachers. We are proud of his willingness to stretch and do something that is far outside of anything that he has ever done and jump at the chance. We are pleased with how quickly he makes friends and how none seem to leave his friendship once it is established. He is just a great young man that loves others and others love and follow him.

On the other side of that coin; it's gonna be quiet around our house in a few days. Garrett brings life to our house like none of the rest of the kids have. He has friends over all the time and they are from every walk of life and ethnicity. Often times it looks like "China town" here with all the asians that he is connected with and they are all here hanging out with him, laughing, playing games and sharpening each others language skills. This morning might be the last time I will get to play in the worship band with Garrett. 

Knowing what I know about Asia and China itself, Garrett will make friends easily there but he will also be lonely and the fellowship that we often take for granted will be absent from his life for a very long time. 

Once when I was in Ethiopia I asked a Dr. what she missed about America the most and her answer surprised me; she said she missed corporate worship. She went on to say that she really appreciated the audios she could download and music being so available but there is just something very special about being with brothers and sisters in person. Garrett is going to miss that and we are going to miss having him there with us.

All in all it's a very good time in the life of our family, with Grant getting a new job selling cars, John going back to school and Garrett off to China. The winds of change are blowing and though I often say that I really like change this one is a little harder to handle coming so quickly.

Garrett- you are much loved. I am so proud of you. You are a great son and a great friend to so many. Thanks for being so kind. I love you very much.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Paralysis by Analysis

What does God want me to do? What is His plan for my life? How will I know what things or people to pursue and which ones not to? What kind of house should I buy; should I buy a house? 

All these kinds of questions and a thousand more can bombard our minds each day and I believe for most people they not only never really find out but they are paralyzed by them and so they accomplish much less than they could have if they would have addressed these questions head on right from the start.

What does God want you to do? Maybe a better question to ask is what does He not want you to do? The answer comes in many forms but here are a few; 
Be Lazy
Sleep too much
Be a jerk
Eat to much
Be a mean boss
Be a slothful employee
Talk back
Disobey your parents

If we are doing these things then problems like looking back in our lives and trying to figure out if we should have taken that job or not, left that job or not, moved to a new location or not and so on will not paralyze us into inactivity. We often waste time analyzing rather than moving forward to take advantage of the opportunity that he puts right in front of us at that moment.

What is His plan for my life? Again we can ask ourselves what is NOT His plan for our lives.
Be a drunk
Be a brawler
Be unequally yolked
Be worried about tomorrow
Build new barns and think you're all fat and sassy without contemplating your soul's future

People and Houses, clothes and jobs, married or single. So many questions and yet the reality is that God wants us to get out there and do something; to be spent in service for Him. A clay pot that is getting banged around is a useful pot and when it's spent for the Kingdom then graduation time comes.

Weary saint, we need to forget about all this paralyzing/analyzing/strategizing stalemate "activity" and look at the opportunity, pray about it, ask God to open or close the door and then move forward.

If our family had gone through an in depth study, filled out pros and con sheets, looked at whether or not we could have afforded it and if the timing was perfect and then FINALLY made a decision as to whether or not we should adopt John, He would still be in China.

Let's go people. God has sent many a "rescue vehicle" to you and your situation and you are waiting for Him to send you the one that looks like you believe it should. 

God didn't save us and leave us here to rest and not attempt to change the world. Changing the world is not going to happen by us sitting on our backsides in the easy chair eating bonbons all day. 

Let's be worn out not rusted out and leave the results up to Him. He's got it so let's just go get it.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Faithless or Go and Show

"There's no way that will work". Or "Let me see you do it first and then we'll see". Or "We must plan for every possible disaster."

What do you suppose Noah was thinking when God directed him to build an ark or when He told him rain was coming (which he had never seen before) and going to cover the entire surface of the earth?

What do you supposed Moses was thinking when God told him to go to Pharaoh? Then when God told them they were going to head out into the wilderness- really? 

While I hate to admit this it does seem to be rather true; Those who are saved by faith alone often times seem to have the least faith to live day to day.

While it is true that we are saved by the work of the Spirit and that is the only way one can be saved, was His intention to save sinners and then leave them with no faith for the rest of their life here on earth? I think not.

Why is it that often Christians seem to be the most cynical/"show-me" people? 

Didn't God do an amazing miracle to save you? Does His power stop there? Can't He do the same with an undertaking you are working on? Can't He grow a church to over flowing? Can't He heal the sick using whatever means He desires? Can He take something that looks like it shouldn't work and turn it into the "next" thing? Of course. So why are we so quick to poo-poo everything?

We are to be in the world but not of the world. That seems to me like we should be the leaders in the "watch what my God can do with nothing" crowd. That is going to require that we step out in faith and see what God does with the crumbs we bring to the picnic. 

We are quick to raise our eyebrows at the disciples for not getting it the second or third time but we have all those examples in writing and we still miss it the 50th time. But we coat it we Biblical Stewardship and never get off our butts to take dominion over the things that God puts right in front of us. 

If we had to see it work before we did it then nothing would ever get started. People, we need to stretch our minds and faith and ask God to work and then give Him the credit for when He does the "impossible".

We need to be excited about having no idea what God is going to do in our lives and those around us, but be equally excited to watch God work for our good and His glory. 

I understand first hand how difficult it is to be in the middle of not knowing what God is going to do and still walk in faith. I know how hard it is to want to do the work and leave it up to God to deliver the harvest but He is not asking us to spend ourselves for something worthless just as an exercise in futility, He is testing and refining us. He didn't tell Noah to build the ark and then not send rain. He didn't send Moses and not do as He promised. We are no different. 

Let's plan well, work hard and go and show the world what it looks like when God blesses his people in the things that their hands find to do. Watch Him work- you'll be amazed what He does with the little faith we have but He won't act if we don't do something.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I don't have the Ambition to become a Saint

This is good- thought I'd share it with you as I reflect on it myself. Even though I'm NOT a girl:)

“Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess:

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples' affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains -- they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn't agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint -- it is so hard to live with some of them -- but a harsh old person is one of the devil's masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.