Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Journeys of Change

“The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects.”

Sometimes in our lives we remain constant, scheduled, predictable, and unchanging. Those are usually the times we find ourselves comfortable, at least for awhile, and we are relaxed. When we look back over the years we can usually see these times as the “lazy days of summer” in life. These times usually fall just before an impacting change occurs in our lives.

When the change comes, it is sometimes something out of our control. Something related to a phase of our life. Maybe it’s a coming of age, an empty nest, an illness, a loss of employment or the loss of a family member. Other times, we find God bringing change into our lives through promptings of His spirit. Whispers of new directions begin to adjust our path. Maybe the lives of our friends push us to a new way of thinking. When these changes begin, we can embrace them, rebel against them or completely reject them.

Our family seems to be hitting one of those seasons of change. It is amazing to watch how God directs us through small decisions that seem to be unrelated. Yet as we look back we begin to see how they all affect one another and go together.

We are making the decision to live a little healthier. As we make life style changes (not big ones mind you, just small ones-slowly) we feel prompted to use those changes as catalysts to other things. Making this small change has given us a new direction in teaching our children about the impoverished of the world. This in turn has brought us to a place of embracing a compassionate ministry that God has been whispering in our ear for more than 2 years. Embracing this ministry will allow God to use our family to impact a world we will probably never see.

Change isn’t easy. However, when we choose to accept a new direction we can find joy and excitement in the journey.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Defining Passion

This is a copy of a note I (Sandra) posted elsewhere in response to a request for definitions to the word PASSION.

I have always viewed Passion as Consuming. When fire consumes wood the wood it completely and totally used up. The wood doesn’t choose how to burn or for how long, it is not in control, the fire is. All that is left in the end is a pile of dust. So many times we try to find something to be passionate about like sports or gardening, our jobs or our children, yet we are still unsatisfied. We need a Passion for Christ, He should consume us. We should be completely engulfed by Him. His consumption of us should be like fire to wood. We don’t choose when to burn or for how long, He does. And when He has used us to accomplish His goal we will be completely used up. I know a lot of people this week who will be frustrated, tired, empty, drained, exhausted, and used up by God, ironically while symbolizing the Passion of Christ. Yet what He consumes from them will be spread to others through the flames of His Spirit and those it touches will begin a relationship of Passion for Christ so that they too can be consumed. I need to remember that my goal is not to leave this earth with a perfect family, clean house, successful business or legacy of goodness behind me. It is to leave this earth used up, tired, drained and empty. Because then I will know God consumed me and took what I gave up to benefit those He loves. The reward for this kind of life is an eternity in the presence of the one who calls me to Passion.

Monday, November 24, 2008

What's Your Story?

Throughout the month of October our teens were learning about Anger. To explain what is “sinful” about our anger, our pastor talked about our “stories”. He talked about how we all are living OUR story and so when that story is interrupted or rerouted we get angry. Our frustration can show in the big things like serious illness, divorce, unwanted pregnancy, financial loss and even presidential elections. But, it can just as easily come out in the little things like other drivers cutting us off, our kids spilling the milk, our spouse disagreeing with us, our boss changing our schedule. Anyways, you get the idea. Our anger is a result of our selfish desire. He then talked about GOD’S story. He used the illustration of the Bible as a glimpse into GOD’S story. When reading the Bible, we are seeing portions of GOD’S story. There are smaller stories within the Bible, but they all affect each other. None of them are exclusive unto themselves. The creation story isn’t a story about Adam and Eve, it is a story about GOD. The exile from Egypt isn’t a story about Moses. It isn’t even a story about Israel. The story of the great flood is not about Noah. He isn’t even the main character. God is. The story of King David isn’t about a great king or a murderous adulterer, or a man after God’s own heart. It is a story about God’s character. Our pastor explained to the teens that we can choose to have our very own story. All about us. What we want. What we believe. What we desire. In this path we will experience great bouts of anger, depression and sorrow. OR we can choose to live GOD’S story. It’s all about Him. What He wants. What He knows. What He desires. If we choose GOD’s story, we can be a character in it, but it’s not about us. Our anger, depression and sorrow will still be there but it will be shorter, easier to bear and quicker to fade.

Have you ever read Job 38 and 39? Have you ever seen the video “How Great is our God” by Louis Giglio?

If you are concerned because of our political election, if you are angry at your spouse, if you are scared because of illness in your life, if you are frustrated with your job or lack there of, if you are depressed and don't know how to crawl out of the dispair, if you have fallen back into addiction, if you are worried about your mortgage, if you are struggling with your teens... then go read the end of Job. Read what God has to say to Job when his life changed direction. Watch the video "How Great is our God". What we must remember is this: We are a mere speck in the wind. A blink of the eye. But GOD'S story is eternal and overcomes it all. It overcomes our human failings and brings us victory in the big picture of Jesus' story. Even if we fail in our current here and now, God's story will take that failure and use it to further His kingdom in ways we cannot fathom. He will bring purpose and Glory out of our dispair. Whose story are you living? Are you a human story about struggle and failure or are you a child, loved by God, in a story that will end in victory?