“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

And He Wants You To Know That You Will


I was able to attend a wedding this weekend in Santa Barbara, California.  As Anthony was taking photos of our friends' wedding rehearsal, I had the opportunity to touch my toes to the surf and sand of southern California.  Such a blessed moment for me that I pulled out my iPhone and snapped a photo...

Sunshine.  The sun.  It truly exists.  We were in Santa Barbara for four days.  And the sun was out every day.  Pouring out its light and warmth.  Making everything beautiful.  All the vivid colors.  It was so much of a blessing I felt guilty knowing my friends in the Northwest would have none of it... well, perhaps some sun, but not the type of sun like this.  And perhaps, I wasn't feeling as guilty as I was grieving... knowing that I would return back to gray skies.

A downer.  I know it.   And most of you cannot relate to me at all.  And for that I am glad.  Some of you are dealing with schools being let out early due to the extreme heat today while I am dealing with the rain.  And most of you would long for the rain for your garden and to relieve the heat... and I guess you cannot understand where I am coming from... just as I cannot understand your complaints about too much sun and heat (as if that were possible).

But I have been thinking a lot about it all.  How to explain to my dear Northwest friends that the sun does exist and it does produce bright light and heat?  Because we forget.  We go so long without the sun that we forget its presence.  How it makes us feel more joyful... and relaxed.

How to tell someone about something that is not always felt, but is always there?  How to tell someone that just because we cannot see it, it exists?  How to tell someone that sunny days are ahead if we just hold on?  Because when we are in that string of rainy days... even when there is a peek of sun... we know it won't last?

How do we tell people of a Savior?  Of a very present God who is everywhere even though we cannot see Him?  Of a Holy Spirit that can live within us even though we may not feel its presence during dark time?  How do we encourage those who cannot believe us that there is a Light?  There is hope?  There is a future?

And just like I want to run home and tell everyone that there really is a place that feels like heaven on earth... that there is a heaven?  Not just a heaven on earth... but a HEAVEN.  

And it makes me consider how important it is for us to remind one another that there is a God who cares.  There is a way to the Father.  Especially when we experience Him in such an extraordinary way... and especially when we don't necessarily feel His Presence, but we know He is there.

Today, I feel it is of utmost importance for me to remind you that God exists.  He is here.  With us.  We are not on our own.  You may be struggling in your own "rainy days" and wondering if you will ever experience the warmth of "the presence" and He wants you to know that you will.  Look beyond the rain.  Look beyond the clouds.  Look beyond your circumstances.  Look beyond your feelings.

For the Lord God is our sun and our shield.
He gives us grace and glory.
The Lord will withhold no good thing
from those who do what is right.
Psalm 84:11 NLT

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said,  
“I am the light of the world
If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, 
because you will have the light that leads to life.” 
John 8:12 NLT

Praying that there will be sunshine in your life today... if not in your skies... in your heart and mind and soul...

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Truth

 It happens a couple times a year...
when I have to remind you of the truth about me.
Because I am busy today... 
preparing for my Jonah Bible Study gals to visit tomorrow...
and then starting the Ruth Bible Study in my home in two weeks...
I have been thinking a lot about this favorite post...

I think it is time you knew the truth about me.

Disclaimer: This post is not for the faint of heart. If you intend to keep me on a pedestal, please read no further!

I don't make my bed everyday. Okay, I maybe make my bed once a week. Well, the truth is that it might not really officially be called "making" my bed... It is more like straightening the covers.

I don't do the dishes every day. I like to let them pile up and then put them into the dishwasher at one time because I have a whole logical schematic as to which items go where.

I have piles of clutter around my house at this very moment. When-am-I-going-to-read-these-books pile. Where-do-I-file-these-papers pile. Need-to-put-this-stuff-in-the-car pile.

But if I knew you were coming over... I would most likely do the dishes. I would definitely throw all my piles of clutter into a laundry basket and shove it in the laundry room. And I might... just might... on a good day... straighten my bed, but most likely... well, the plain truth is... I would just shut the bedroom door.

I had some darling ladies over my home a couple months back. After having visited my home, one of my precious ladies told me that she saw my piles! She actually went looking for them. It relieved her to know that I had piles. Because she has her own piles, and she wondered what other people did with their piles.

Now, mind you, I don't always have piles. I'm pretty organized by most standards. Most of the time I have piles because I want to make sure everything ends up where I can find it at a later date.

I don't hide my piles because I want to impress you. I hide them because I don't want to be distracted by them while you are here. I don't want you to be distracted by them either. It's not that I'm trying to be someone that I'm not... It's just that when you are in my home... I want it to be a haven to you.

I guess I do this in other areas of my life. I may not always greet you with my piles in tow... I may appear to have things together... but I do this because... I want to be a haven to you... whether in my home or in my heart.

I want you to feel free to come over and peek in the laundry room and see my piles. I encourage you to do so. You can even take a peek into the sink... if you must. But in all honesty, when you peek into my bedroom... you'll find the bed unmade... because... well, isn't that what matching bed sheets were made for?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Not Just In Word, But In Deed

Ethiopia, November 2011

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, 
baptizing them in the name of the Father 
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit... 

Matthew 28:19 NIV

I have chosen what is commonly called "The Great Commission" for my current memory verse.  (Matthew 28:16-20.)  Probably because it has been a theme that Priscilla Shirer has asked us to camp on in the Bible Study she wrote on Jonah.  
God told Jonah to “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” Jonah 1:2
And then again “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah 3:2
And Jesus tells His disciples before His ascent into heaven to "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Matthew 28:19-20
And I am wondering what that looks like for me... 
When we read Jesus' words we may think we know what He means.  Or we may choose to glance past them.  Or they might stir up a sense of guilt.  Or perhaps we are challenged by them.  Or moved by them.

I wonder... when I give money to missions or encourage Anthony to go to Africa (while I hold down the fort here) or when I teach those around me here in Portland (or in blogland) about Jesus... am I fulfilling The Great Commission?  And so, I choose this memory verse, so that I will focus and meditate on these final words of Jesus to His disciples.  Knowing that I want to be His disciple.  Not just in word, but in deed.
Siesta Scripture Memory Verse #10

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bring Joy To Your Servant

Ethiopia, November 2010

I had a friend call me the other day. She was reading Psalm 86 and thought of me. She read me the Psalm over the phone. And then we spoke about how we have times in our lives when we feel despondent... and then we spoke about what it is that sustains us during those times.

I love how David, the Psalmist, goes back and forth between who he is and who God is and what God can do.  Sometimes that is what sustains us.  When we realize who we are and who God is.  Sometimes that is exactly what sustains us.

Praying that you find comfort in the thought that the giver of life is also the sustainer of your life.

Hear, O LORD, and answer me, 
  for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, 
  for I am devoted to you.
You are my God;  
  save your servant who trusts in you.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, 
  for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant,  
  for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

You are forgiving and good, O Lord, 
abounding in love to all who call to you.
  Hear my prayer, O LORD; 
  listen to my cry for mercy.
  In the day of my trouble I will call to you,  
for you will answer me.

Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; 
no deeds can compare with yours.
All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.
For you are great and do marvelous deeds; 
you alone are God.

Teach me your way, O LORD,  
  and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart, 
  that I may fear your name.
  I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; 
  I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your love toward me; 
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.

  The arrogant are attacking me, O God; 
  a band of ruthless men seeks my life—
  men without regard for you.
But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, 
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
  Turn to me and have mercy on me; 
  grant your strength to your servant
  and save the son of your maidservant.
  Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, 
for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me. 

Psalm 86 NIV

Monday, May 9, 2011

Summer Bible Study With sister sheri

I will be hosting two different Bible Studies this summer.  The first study will be Ruth:  Loss, Love & Legacy by Kelly Minter.  (Beth Moore suggested this study last summer via the LPMblog.)

  • This study is six weeks long.
  • I will be hosting it on Tuesday morning at Portland Christian Center.
  • You will need to purchase the workbook on your own ahead of time at Lifeway for $12.95.  
  • You will need to have week one completed for the first session.
  • This study is discussion based.... meaning that we are going to be talking about what we studied on our own during the week.
  • There is NO DVD or teaching. 
  • Please contact me for additional information.
  • No childcare is available.

I am in the process of picking a Bible study for the second half of the summer.  I will update you when it is selected.  It will be another six week study.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

As of Late - Boston Marathon Edition

Lately,  I traveled to Massachusetts to cheer Anthony at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 18th.

Lately, I realized that you should not try a new GPS app while you are driving in Boston on Marathon Day. 

Lately, I noticed that Bostonians do not tend to put bumper stickers on their cars--especially presidential bumper stickers.

Lately, I noticed that Boston has as many Dunkin Donuts as Portland has Starbucks.

Lately, I noticed that Boston has as many churches on main thoroughfares as Portland has adult-only stores.

Lately, I experienced the most awesome customer-oriented hotel.  (The Hilton in Dedham, Massachusetts.)

Lately, I found out that toll booth operators are not taught to be customer-oriented whether you are in Boston or Portland.

Lately, I realized that I am not as nice of a person as I thought I was... especially to toll booth operators.

Lately, I came to the understanding that there is more emotion in getting to the Boston Marathon than being at the Boston Marathon.

Lately, (as always...) I am amazed at my husband's perseverance and endurance.  Congratulations, Anthony!

So, what have you been up to... as of late?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

He Hears Us

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: 
that if we ask anything 
according to his will, 
he hears us.

1 John 5:14 

Siesta Scripture Memory Verse #9