About Me

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Yahoo Search

I found out something cool today.

If you search for "spongebob slip n slide" on yahoo's search page, my blog comes up as the 15th entry.

I think that's kind of cool.

Dora the Explorer couch

Spiderman squirt gun

Star Wars Limited Edition Legos

Maybe that'll get me a few more hits.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Long Time No Blog

Well, since Thursday anyway. The weekend was full of activity for me and I hardly had time to check email, let alone blog. We had our second Church in the Park preview service on Sunday. It turned out to be a great location (the Roanoke Outdoor Pavilion), and it seemed to go off w/out a hitch. A good friend of mine came to play drums with us, and was an awesome addition to the team. Johnny started a summer series (to be continued at the next Church in the Park on July 31) about Connection Breakers - and, pardon the pun, it seemed to connect w/ the audience. Two of the families we had been praying for were able to attend, which was awesome! We also were able to witness the baptism of one of our newest members. Overall, it was a good day.

I finished up a blog this morning that I started about 2 weeks ago (scroll down to read "For Such a Time as This"), I returned all the emails I got over the weekend (ok, I returned the "email" I got over the weekend), and finally finished a project at work - I think it has been a very productive day. Now I can get started on the other 3 projects.

Happy Monday Everyone!!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Water Wars

Yesterday when I got home I was exhausted - physically and emotionally. I had a busy day at work, my heart was aching w/ discouragement, the drive home was long - I was in a bad mood. My daughter immediately began asking if she could play on her slip and slide. My sister bought her a Spongebob slip n slide about 2 years ago that we finally brought out of the closet last week for Elisa to test out. Well my husband and I were both tired and didn't really want to watch her in the back yard so she could play, but we knew that she wanted to and apart from our exhaustion there was no reason not to let her - so we sucked it up and set it up for her to play. She is still a little scared to run through the water (it might get in her eyes), but makes a very cute attempt at bravery by hitting her chest like Tarzan (sound effects included) and then running and landing on her knees near the beginning of the slide. Well, I wanted her to get wet - really wet - so that maybe she'd get a little more comfortable. So I scooped her up and landed her in the streams of water all the while getting quite wet myself. My husband thought it was funny, so I scooped up a big handful of water and threw it at him. Before we knew it we were in an all-out water fight. It occured to me that I had a huge stash of not yet broken-in water guns that I had bought at the beginning of the summer that were begging to be used. So I excused myself to go the restroom and came back a few minutes later sporting 3 very cool looking water weapons. I distributed them to the enemies and immediately opened fire. It was not long before they realized that I had only filled one w/ ammo - mine. WOOHOO!! Within minutes we were running around like wet, crazy people screaming "I'm gonna get you" and other such nonsense. It was the best time I've had in - well, I can't remember how long. I think I won.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

What gets you discouraged?

I think I've found it.

Throughout my life I have found very few things that discourage me or bring me down. Even when everyone else around me gets discouraged, I am usually able to see right past the source of discouragement to the very best of the situation. I am a firm believer that in every situation there is something good, something to learn, someone to connect with, you get the point. In fact I usually thrive in those situations because I am able to be an encourager to those around me - I love to encourage.

Today, I am discouraged.

I'm not sure what specific event brought it on - but I am definitely discouraged. Not in a way that will disable me, and I don't believe I will be down for long, but today I find myself distracted.

Let me tell you why. Today I am overwhelmed by the huge quantity of people that are disconnected from God (myself oftentimes included). I know that there are huge amounts of people that do not know Christ, but today I feel it. My heart is actually aching w/ hurt for those people! This isn't why I'm discouraged. I'm discouraged because I'm thinking about the church - and how little we've done as a whole to help people find what they so desperately need. Don't get me wrong - there are so many people that are living their lives on mission for Christ. But as a group - are we even trying? I am sickened by my own disobedience in this area, and am so discouraged to find that I am definitely not the only one who has been less than faithful. I cannot speak for those people. I can speak for me. I'll do better. I'll make it priority #1. God has been way more than faithful to me - I can only hope to be used in some way to make a difference in His Kingdom. How can we continue to give Him anything less than everything???


I read a post this morning from Charlie Pharis, which was about a post from Randy Bohlender (too much blogging, I know!) that got me thinking. It was about the idea that our faith shouldn't make it harder for us to connect w/ people that we don't agree with, but easier because our faith allows us to see them the way God sees them - as a child of His. I actually feel kind of stupid that I've never thought of it this way before now. I mean, how completely obvious that b/c of what I believe I should be able to connect with absolutely everyone - simply because I care for them and don't judge them. It makes sense. The biggest relationship barriers all seem to stem from someone not accepting or forgiving someone else because they are not the ideal person according to whatever standard society is using at the time.

Here's what Randy writes:

Despite the fact that I suspect I disagree with them on most issues of major importance in my life, I find Larry, Marian, Andie (and prior BM whizGirl, Jess the Nurse) to be more than interesting. They are wonderful. My religious beliefs serve as a bridge, not a wall. As I told Marian today "My faith enables me to see you as who you are - a child of God...a God who is intensely interested in you. My faith compells me to love you."

There is so much to be learned from this statement. When we can start seeing our faith as a bridge that connects us to others instead of a wall that separates us from them, we can be free to share that connection with them in a way that draws them to Christ instead of pushing them away. We need to be focused on connecting with God's people - not judging them and on loving them, not ignoring them!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Bumper Testimony

Okay, so I know you've all heard it before. I know you probably all agree, but I have to vent anyway. I work downtown, and therefore see my share of traffic every morning and evening. Well, this morning on my way to work I got on the ramp, and attempted to get on to the freeway. As is the case more times than not (pause and reflect on the hugeness of that statement), the person to my left sped up and got right behind the car in front of him so that I could not get on the highway. Did we learn this in elementary school when we didn't want anyone to cut in front of us in the lunch line? What's the big deal?? Did he really get where he was going any faster because he didn't let me in? Okay - we all have these opinions about freeway drivers. BUT, here's what prompted me to post this blog: On the back of his truck he had a bumper sticker.

SIDENOTE: I am pretty much completely opposed to bumper stickers as a whole. 1st, the person who puts the bumper sticker on the vehicle is not always the one driving which creates confusion in the minds of the lookers on. 2nd, it is rare that the person who put the sticker on (assuming that it is the same person as the one driving the vehicle) actually believes what they have stickered. I think bumper stickers are like personalized license plates, tattoos, piercings (which I've had - and therefore can comment on w/ authority), flourescent colored-hair (which I've also had) , and other such things. They are used to get attention - nothing more. They are rarely a statement of belief, passion, character or anything other than "hey, look at me!"

Now back to the story: The bumper sticker on this truck made me angry, sad, confused, ashamed - all kids of feelings. You've seen the sticker - I know you have. Some of you probably have the sticker on your car (I still love you). It said: "My boss is a Jewish Carpenter."
I know what you're thinking: "He might not have seen you.", "It's not like he flipped you off, or cut you off." "What's the big deal?"

The big deal is really a HUGE deal. This man for some reason decided he wanted to be associated w/ Jesus Christ - and so he put a sticker on his car. Well, now everyone that he refuses to let on the highway, or cuts off, or looks at funny will know that this man is a self-proclaimed representative of Jesus Christ - and look at how he treated me. It's similar to when you go to a restaurant and at the end of the meal you leave a gospel tract for the waiter/waitress to read, but alongside it you leave a pathetic tip (or no tip at all) - I know this goes on frequently, I used to be a waitress. What does all this say about Christians? That we're cheap? That we're the most important car on the road? That we don't care about your safety in your vehicle or the safety of your kids who are with you? That perhaps we just think we're better than you and deserve more road space???

I'm a little perturbed. I will admit. I also have to admit that I am not a perfect driver. But I do try to realize that w/ or w/out a bumper sticker (I choose to go w/out) I am a representative of the most caring, loving, giving, patient person that ever walked the Earth - Jesus Christ.
Oh my goodness, please STOP THE MADNESS!!! Ditch the stickers! Let the other guy in! Tip your waitress! PRACTICE KINDNESS!!! People ARE watching you!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Ideal Minister

I was reading an old post by Art Good who is the pastor of Fish Lake Assembly of God in LaPorte, Indiana. It was called The Ideal Pastor, and was talking about how society & the church generally have a very different idea of what would be the ideal pastor than God has. He talked about the story of when God chose David (through Samuel) out of all of Jesse's sons as the one to lead Israel.
Through the prophet Samuel God said "the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7)."
Though I've read this verse many times - I found deep encouragement in it today. God knows my heart - and it doesn't matter if I fit the worship leader mold - it only matters what God sees.
There's another scripture that Johnny has quoted often- "For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed." - Acts 13:36.
To serve God's purpose in my own generation is all that I can aspire to. I can rest assured that God's will is perfect - and that as long as I remain in Him, it will be accomplished.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Priority 1

"Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you" - Matthew 6:33

During lunch today I heard a sermon that was wrapped around this verse. It was AWESOME! So awesome that I'm considering buying it on CD - which I know I do way too often. But anyway - I'd like to share some of what I learned, and some of my own thoughts too:

1st - What is the Kingdom of God? My Bible defines it as "wherever God is reigning and the people experiencing God's reign".
2nd - What does it mean to seek the "Kingdom of God"? How do we seek it?
The pastor I heard over lunch gave 3 ways we are to seek the Kingdom of God - and I thought these were really good:
We should seek to: EXPERIENCE, EXPRESS & EXPAND the Kingdom of God.
To experience the Kingdom of God would be to be a part of it - to know Christ personally and to be a part of what He is doing in His Kingdom.
To express the Kingdom of God would be to simply make it known to others - tell others about the freedom and grace available through Christ's sacrifice.
To expand the Kingdom of God would be to invite others to be a part of it along with you. (Make disciples - remember the Great Commission?)

Now the next part - "and His righteousness"
What is His righteousness? - Righteousness is the state of being perfect, without sin.
So - we seek to be like Christ (since there is no one but Him that is perfect).

And the last part - "and all these things will be added to you". What things will be added??
If you read directly before this verse you'll see that it is all about worry. We worry about so many things! The Bible mentions a few specific things that we all worry about - what to eat or drink, what to wear. Let me pose a question - what do you seek after? Money? Happiness? Family? Friends? Comfort or Security?
The Bible says that if we seek FIRST the Kingdom of God (to Experience, Express & Expand it) and His righteousness (to be like Christ) than all those other things that we seek will be added to us according to God's perfect will.
Think about it. If we seek God's Kingdom first we'll certainly be secure (there is no more secure place than in the arms of the Master), and we will be part of the biggest and most powerful family there ever was or will be - God's family. If we seek to be like Christ - we'll find a friend (there's no better friend than Jesus - cheesy I know, but true). Our treasure will be in Heaven (rather than treasure here on Earth where moth and rust destroy), instead of happiness we'll find Joy - deep, abiding Joy. The Bible says that the Fruits of the Spirit are peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. These are the things we experience through seeking God's Kingdom first.

There is so much more to all of this - I just might have to blog about it later.
Til then - let's make His Kingdom priority 1.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Answered Prayers

Do you remember that old story about the man on the roof during the flood. He is crying out to God to send him some help, and while he is praying 3 opportunities for help pass him by. There is much more to that story, but the main idea is that we often pray expecting some specific answer to our problem or dilemna, while God may have had some other solution in mind for us. Today I experienced just that. My 4 year old daughter is enrolled in a Christian private school for Kindergarten. After much prayer and much research my husband and I believe that this school is absolutely where she is supposed to be. Well, when we went for the orientation and discovered the cost of tuition we got a little scared (little is putting it mildly). The biggest concern we had was the up-front fees (registration, books, etc). We (my husband and I) prayed seperately that evening (during the orientation and tour) that if this is where God wanted her to be, would He please take care of the up-front fees. Well, that evening (at the end of the tour) the school held a drawing to cover the up-front fees - and WE WON! As we were leaving the school my husband and I knew that God had answered our prayers.
We had to start paying tuition in May for August, June for Sept. - you get the idea. We knew that the tuition payment during the summer (while we are paying day care) would be difficult. This month it was particularly difficult. This afternoon I prayed that if God wants my daughter in this school, would He please take care of the tuition for the summer months. I really expected Him to provide the extra income to take care of the bill. My husband called about an hour ago to tell me that he had talked to the school and that they would be happy to allow us to start paying in August instead of May, and that we now have a credit to our account. It took me about 30 minutes after the conversation w/ my husband to realize that God had answered my prayer - not in the way I expected, but in His way. How awesome to recognize when God answers a specific prayer - and how humbling to realize that God's way is not usually my way, but that God's way is ALWAYS better!

Echoing Christ's "Come"

"If you abandon everything to Jesus, and come when He says, 'Come', then He will continue to say, 'Come,' through you. You will go out into the world reproducing the echo of Christ's 'Come.' That is the result in every soul who has abandoned all and come to Jesus." - Oswald Chambers

DUDE!! I'm not sure I can add anything to this statement other than to say - this is my goal: my ultimate goal as a follower of Christ.

Oswald also says: "If you will give God your right to yourself, He will make a holy experiment out of you."

I don't think there's any greater goal in this life than to say that God made me a holy experiment, that He used me to touch lives. And that through my life He said to others, "Come to me".

For Such A Time As This

I was reading in the book of Esther today, and although I'm sure I've read it before, one chapter really stood out to me - in fact, I was almost moved to tears.
The story is an exciting one (that I highly recommend) about a jewish girl (Esther) who is, through what would compare to a modern-day beauty pageant, placed in the position of being Queen of the Persian empire. In that position, she saves her people from being destroyed by their enemies who are led by an evil official named Haman. (So many details in this story - you need to read it if you haven't!) Esther's cousin, Mordecai, sent word to her about the persecution her people were facing, saying: "Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?" (4:13-14).

Esther replies, "Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish."

Esther knew she needed to go to the King (her husband) to ask for his help, but if she went into him w/out being asked for he could (and probably would) have her killed. She did it anyway, and God gave her people great success in defeating their enemies.

WOW! One woman's obedience began the deliverance of an entire nation. I doubt she knew that her obedience to God would play such an integral part in history. I doubt if any of us know the impact our obedience to God's will has on His plan. I know I don't. I read a few study guides about Esther and here's an excerpt from one of them:

"God has a purpose for you, right now, right where you are, no matter who you are, where you live, to whom you are married, what you have experienced in the past, or what you are facing in the future. In fact He has allowed you to come to this place in your life for a definite purpose, “for such a time as this.” He has something specific for you to accomplish in your present situation, and He wants you to look for the opportunities in that present sphere of influence.

He will be honored when we claim His grace to be what He wants us to be and do what He wants us to do in our present circumstances. We must take advantage of the opportunities He has made available to us in the here and now. He may later open wider spheres of opportunity if that suits His purposes, but that is in His hands. Our responsibility is to let Him use us where we are.

God is at work in our lives just as definitely and decisively as in Esther’s. Our circumstances may not be all we would like them to be. But we can thank God for them anyway. They provide Him with the opportunity to demonstrate His sovereign love and care, and they provide us with an opportunity to glorify Him. Let us believe that He will work those circumstances together for good, then look for ways to serve Him in them."

Really good stuff, man!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Connecting the Dots - Part 2

God's faithfulness to me and His sacrifice for me have brought me to ask what should I do in return as an act of obedience and worship - here's what I've come to:
As I was stewing over what it means to get connected and committed, God brought me back to a verse I've heard probably a thousand times in my life and perhaps never really picked it apart as I have done in the last few days: According to Jesus in Mark 12:30 it is the greatest commandment. "Love the Lord your God with all your HEART, all your SOUL, all your MIND and all your STRENGTH...and love your neighbor as yourself." So, what does that have to do w/ getting connected and committed??
Getting Connected w/ God requires your heart (it is the wellspring of life), and your soul (the innermost, eternal part of you). Getting Committed requires your Mind (Romans 12:2) and your Strength (Isaiah 7:9b - and many other verses). On Sunday I heard 3 sermons. One on overcoming the past and knowing that God has an incredible plan for you. The second on being completely committed to Christ. The 3rd about the Big and Bold Adventure God is calling us on - to make a huge impact by being bold and sharing the Good News. All made mention of the incredible life God calls us to - the "Great Adventure". All made mention of being committed to Christ (in many different areas). And all encouraged me to get up and get moving. To get connected and get committed. There is so much more I have to share. For now, I am reminded of a song - an old song (there's always a song!):
"Saddle up your horses, we've got a trail to blaze. Through the wild blue yonder of God's amazing grace. We'll follow our Leader unto the glorious unknown. This is life like no other...this is the Great Adventure"

Connecting the Dots

Have you ever been so overwhelmed w/ truth and revelation that it becomes difficult to make sense of it all and come up with some sort of action plan? Well, that's me right now. I've been seeking God's truth like never before, and He is delivering it full force. It's interesting to me how the more I learn, the more I want to learn. The more I receive, the more I seek. I'm feeding on the very truth of God, and am still so hungry to hear, learn and experience more of Him. (Read Johnny's blog for some interesting thoughts on being "fed".) I would love to share with you all the things I'm learning (although most of it is what I've known for a long time and it is being reinforced by God in a big way). However, I'm afraid I could never cover it all in a way that you'd actually have time to read, so I'll try to just connect the dots. I've been drawn to Proverbs 4:23 - "Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (this verse comes under the heading of "Wisdom is Supreme" - how interesting is that?! Another verse I've been drawn to is Psalm 91:3-5 (it's about the arrows that pierce our heart.) So, we are to guard our hearts. We also need to know that guarding our hearts is not an easy thing. Our hearts, by the way, are how we connect w/ God - they are the part of us that God wants the very most because they are "the wellspring of life" - the part of us from which everything else flows. I've been convinced of the faithfulness of God (there are so many verses God has given me over the last 6 months to attest to this).
God is faithful, that I well know. But God's faithfulness (and His grace - more on grace later) requires something from me as a response. I'll talk about that response in the next post.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Blessed Assurance

I was reading Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotional today, and although it is not evening - the evening devotion was particularly gripping - here's a little taste:

You are standing at the foot of his cross, trusting alone in the merit of Jesus' precious blood, and no rise or fall of the markets can interfere with your salvation in him; no breaking of banks, no failures and bankruptcies can touch that. Then you area child of God this evening. God is your Father. No change of circumstances can ever rob you of that. Although by losses brought to poverty, and stripped bare, you can say, "He is my Father still. In my Father's house are many mansions; therefore will I not be troubled."
You have another permanent blessing, namely, the love of Jesus Christ. He who is God and Man loves you with all the strength of his affectionate nature-nothing can affect that. The fig tree may not blossom, and the flocks may cease from the field, it matters not to the man who can sing, "My Beloved is mine, and I am his."
Our best portion and richest heritage we cannot lose. Whatever troubles come, let us play the man; let us show that we are not such little children as to be cast down by what may happen in this poor fleeting state of time. Our country is Immanuel's land, our hope is above the sky, and therefore, calm as the summer'socean; we will see the wreck of everything earthborn, and yet rejoice in the God of our salvation.

Immediately I started to sing (in my head, of course) that old tune:
Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine.
Oh what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation
Purchase of God
Born of His Spirit
Washed in his blood

I know it's an old song - but those old songs often have deeper meanings than most of what we sing today.
What blessed assurance to know that I am an heiress of God himself, and there is nothing that will ever change who I am in Christ!! In Christ I am righteous and holy. In Christ I am strong and courageous. In Christ I am special and in Him I am loved.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Invest & Invite

Okay, so I've decided it's time to get brave. No more ms. shy. Me? Shy? Well, you'd be suprised. I've decided that I am going to be terribly bold and seek out opportunities to invite people to North Point, and then follow through and invite them. I said the scary prayer this morning - that God would give me an opportunity to invite - and I meant it. So, here it is - the day I switch gears and become more of what God intends for me to be. I am scared...of rejection, of being looked at funny - the more I think about it - my fears seem so small compared to the fear of missed opportunity or a friend not ever coming to know Christ. I WILL be brave today - I will listen for God's voice - I will invest and invite. I challenge you to do the same!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


I overheard someone today telling another person that she gives nicknames to her kids: "sassy" and "hateful". After I got over the initial shock of what she had said, and then the feeling sorry for her kids I began to wonder what her kids would nickname her if given the chance. Then I made the natural jump to wonder what my child would nickname me. Would it be "distracted" or "too busy" - man, I hope not!! What would you like your nickname to be? As for me, I'd like "devoted" or "loving" or "listening". I hope you'll give it some thought today.