“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
Showing posts with label Altars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Altars. Show all posts

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Celebrate With Great Joy!

 Sneak Peek!
Preparing to celebrate the completion of our Nehemiah study.

Last Thursday I had a little garden party.  I invited the ladies from the Nehemiah Bible study over to my home to celebrate our completion of this study.  A couple years ago I began to realize that it is important to recognize that our study is complete, but we are NOT finished!  See this post if you want more details.

I can get anxious about having people over my home.  Especially if I plan for it way in advance.  So, I try to not think about it until the last minute.  Not always the best idea for decorating, but it is good for my nerves.  I did try to make some fun decorations to hang outside to make the space more cozy since it was a gray day (and to draw the eye to the colors and not any of the unfinished yard work).   I just used some crepe paper and tied it on to some heavy thread.  Thanks Pinterest!  (Note the hammer on the table?)  The hummingbirds loved the red crepe paper which makes me think I need more red in my garden.

Another little trick I did right before the gals arrived was to wet down the mulch and concrete.   It hides a multitude of imperfections.  I've seen this done on television and movies so much that I thought it might work for me.  And it did!

Caren, Sherrie, Sarah, Penny, Penny and Susan
(Missing from the party - Barb, Barbara, Bernie, Crystal, Jan, 
Jennifer, Joan, Lisa, Roxanne, Sheila, Tanyadene, Tessa)

Have you ever done a Kelly Minter study?  Well, she includes recipes in her studies.  So the gals made a couple of the dishes from the study to share with us.  Delicious!  We had the Tasty Quinoa, Capri's Pasta and Billie's Banana Pudding.

The JOY of the LORD is my strength.
Nehemiah 8:10

Susan made the favors and the centerpiece.  She choose the color of the paper for the favors to be like Jerusalem stone.  Sorry that you can't see the details.  Inside were some yummy chocolates.  She is totally gifted in making a piece of paper look like a million bucks!  Then she painted this clay pot to look like the wall Nehemiah built!!!  What a thoughtful keepsake for me.  Just like building an altar to remember what God has done.  (More details about my thoughts on memory stones or altars see these posts.)

I am so blessed to have these precious sisters in my life.  We are kindred spirits and I love each and every one!  I know they think I am pretty special, too.  But the secret is... I wouldn't be who I am today without them in my life. 

Looking ahead, we are starting Lysa TerKeurst's study "What Happens When Women Say Yes To God."  If you are in the Portland, Oregon area on Tuesday mornings, JOIN US!  We meet from 9:30-11:30am at Portland Christian Center.

Then all the people went away to eat and drink, 
to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy
because they now understood the words 
that had been made known to them.  
Nehemiah 8:12

Sunday, February 28, 2010

1st & 15th Scripture Memory 2010: Verse 5
Renewal. Renovation. Complete Change for the Better.

photography by Anthony

Do not conform any longer 
to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the  
RENEWing of your mind. 
Then you will be able to test and approve 
what God's will is—
his good, pleasing and perfect will.  
Romans 12:2

According to Thayers Lexicon, the greek word "renewing" used in this verse is defined as:  a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better.

This weekend I attended a women's retreat hosted by my church.
The theme:  Renovation.
The name of my small group:  Renew.

It was a bit of an emotional weekend for me.  God allowed me to share a portion of my childhood... which was not idyllic... and I know most of you can relate.  How it grieves my heart to look back on that little girl... I want to wrap her in my arms and tell her that one day...
She will be renewed.
And --praise God-- completely changed for the better.
I am loving it.  Completely changed for the better.

After the weekend drew to a close, I set about looking for something to remind me of the weekend.  The work God did this weekend... and is continuing to do.  I came across a key-chain in the hotel gift shop with the word "courage" which resonated with what I had just done... and divinely coincided with the verse that was personally prayed over for me by the retreat coordinators...

Be strong. 
Take courage
Don't be intimidated. 
Don't give them a second thought 
because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. 
He's right there with you. 
He won't let you down; 
he won't leave you.
Deuteronomy 31:6 MSG

And it was all true.  He was right there with me.  He didn't let me down.  He stayed with me.

And then... on the way home... we stopped by Starbucks... and of course, I saw this mug... and thought... this would be my altar... my remembrance... of how God is renewing me... renovating me... completely changing me... which fits so perfectly with Romans 12:2.  And so, I have chosen it as my 5th memory verse for 2010.

Are you growing weary of memorizing scripture?  I know I am.  I didn't memorize verse 4 yet... so I'll be memorizing my 4th and 5th at the same time.  But here's the thing... by memorizing scripture I am not conforming to the pattern of this world... and my mind is being renewed... and that truly is a change for the better.

Please list your current memory verse with translation as a comment.  It is always a blessing to read what is meaningful to you.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Okay, Sheri... You Are A Big Girl... Act Like It!

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
photography by Anthony

Wednesday Night.  I had just dropped Christopher off for kids' choir rehearsal at church.  I needed to eat dinner, but Anthony had to work late.  Do I dare walk into the church by myself and eat dinner on my own?  It would be too overwhelming to walk into that room and figure out where to sit... or who to sit with.  What if I ended up sitting by myself?  Wouldn't other people notice and think "poor Sheri"... all alone... eating dinner by herself.  As if all eyes would be on me.  It would just be easier to run over to Pizzicato's... grab a slice of pizza and a magazine... and eat dinner without anyone knowing me.

The struggle.  I couldn't believe it.  Wow!  Am I really this insecure?  Yes, I am.  But hadn't I just spoken to women on Tuesday about stretching their comfort zone.  Didn't I just wear a pink feather boa as I taught about Abraham?  Weren't these the same women who would be at church eating dinner?  Okay, Sheri... suck it up... you are going to eat dinner by yourself at church.  You can do this!  You are a big girl... act like it!

I walked into the room.  Surveyed the other diners.  Yes, I did know some of them... was there room at their table?  Or were they done eating and just about to get up and leave, as I would be sitting down?  Aha!  Steve and Jeannette are in line with me getting dinner.  I know them.  I'll just follow them to their table... and voila!

I am half laughing and half cringing as I write this... who wants to admit their insecurity?  I feel childish and weak and alone in it all.  And God knows that... and on Thursday what book did I start to read?  So Long, Insecurity!  Perfect timing!

So Long Insecurity Week One!
Here are my answers to the questions Beth posed in her first post.
1. Write a journal-type entry on the inside cover of your book describing this present season of your life and why you’ve chosen to read a book like this. 
Okay... see above!  Plus... I love sharing whatever I learn with the precious sisters around me... and you, too!

2. When was the last time you came face-to-face with our gender’s massive struggle with insecurity? Describe the setting. 
Just this morning!  Anthony's mood dictates mine... if he seems upset about anything... I think it is my fault... what did I do wrong?  I feel I need him to tell me exactly how I contributed to whatever is going on inside him. 
3. What part of the definition or description of insecurity resonated most with you and why? 
Page 17. "A deep uncertainty about whether his or her own feelings and desires are legitimate."  In my family of origin, two common statements were "Just get over it" and "Quit crying or I'll give you something to cry about."  Wasn't really encouraged to face my feelings... so I think that still follows me today.
I have decided to open up this post to your answers to the So Long Insecurity Week One! post.  I encourage you to post your answers to Beth's questions on her blog, but I thought it might be interesting if we had a little small group here, too.  That way we could work alongside one another... encourage one another... and have a little discussion, too.

Feel free to post your comment Anonymously.
Feel free to leave a comment even if you are not reading the book. 
I'll refer back to this post next Thursday when Beth posts our new questions.

All I can say is... I already know this book is going to be added to my "altar" shelf.  I am ready to "press through the discomfort of staring at my weaknesses than live in denial and bondage." Page 16.

For we are God's workmanship, 
created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do.  
Ephesians 2:10

Thursday, February 11, 2010

6,000 Insecure Women

Today I am hanging out with 6,000 other Siestas (aka Sisters) on the Living Proof Ministries Blog.  Beth Moore's book So Long, Insecurity has been released and she is hosting a discussion group over the next nine weeks. 

I am kind of surprised that there are 5,999 other women dealing with insecurity.  I thought I was the only one.  And I know... I know... you think I don't deal with insecurity... but I have proof that I do... Just read my blog!  And yes, since I turned 40 I have been having my hair highlighted... and I am not giving it up... just yet.

If you know someone who deals with insecurity... why not invite them to get the book and follow along on the LPM blog?  I'd love to know if you are reading along with me, too.

P.S. I decided on the "altar" for my teaching on Abraham.  
I had used a pretty Vera Bradley binder to hold my teaching notes.  
I'm thinking about using it each time I teach in the future and 
listing the dates on the inside cover.  
What do you think?