Archive for the 'Faith' Category

12
Jun
06

Replace Me

I love it when I feel like there is a river of ideas and thoughts rushing through me, changing me, smoothing my edges and changing my course. It hasn't been like that the past few weeks, though. I've felt dry. I've been busy. Too busy for God.

But tonight I very reluctantly went for a run (on a very hot Texas night) and prayed that He'd bring me back to the middle of that river where the Word is brimming with life, and I have a passion for prayer and a heart for the people around me and a desire for nothing more than loving Jesus and making Him known.

Mmmm….God is good. He did just that.

"Help me," I cried

and then You came down

like a warm, heavy quilt

surrounding me, reminding me

to lay my head

down

assuring me

that for every doubt, there is a greater truth

for every fear there is a quieter peace

for every hesitation, there is a greater revelation

of who you are

You are the One who speaks to the wind and the waves

You are the One who speaks to me today

Give me ears to listen and a passion to change

Renew me. Refresh me.

Destroy me. Rebuild me.

Remind me.

Replace me.

I feel the water rising. 

So on a scale of dry creekbed to raging river, where are you? Where do you want to be?

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25
May
06

I Cried Today

Wow. Watch this video and you will too. Mother Teresa was a truly inspiring woman. Notice how close she draws those who are suffering. Notice her posture. Maybe that's just from age, but maybe it's also a result of a life of prayer and kneeling to help and hold the least of these. Listen to the words of the song, read the words of Mother Teresa, watch her life and be inspired. Be inspired to action. Don't just be inspired and fill yourself up, be inspired and lay your life down. Lay it down for those who have no hope. Lay it down for those who've never known Love. Lay it down for Jesus. The Great Commission isn't about making people believe what we do, it's not about convincing people. It's about healing hearts and holding hands and laying down our dreams for God's. I think Mother Teresa understood that.

Here's are a few places where you can put action to your inspiration:

Compassion International – sponsor a child in need.

Restoration Village – help rebuild a town devastated by the Tsunami.

Invisible Children – help children whose lives are torn apart by war.

Do you know of another great way to take action? Please comment and let me know.

Thanks to Seth and Amber of Five Cent Stand for the great video.

20
May
06

What Does It Mean To Be Free?

Something that's been on my heart lately is freedom. I feel like in the past 6 months or so, I've really experienced freedom. There's nothing weighing me down. There's just a sense of awe that God has a plan and I'm part of it.

I'm not so concerned with what people think, what I should be doing, what I shouldn't be doing or what others expectations are of me. My primary concern is to listen to God and to feel His hand on the small of my back as He gently leads me throughout my day.

John 8:32 says,"Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."

The truth is that all that matters in this life is God. Period.

The truth is that there is not one single thing that you can do today that is more important than sitting down and spending time with Him. Not because it's something you're supposed to do. Not because it's a rule or a requirement, but because the God of all creation wants to wrap His arms around you and tell you who you are. He wants to lift the burdens from your shoulders. He wants to give you purpose and vision. He wants you to live life today the way He meant for you to live…with passion and hope.

The truth is that you are precious. I have two little girls and I love them more than life itself. The idea that God sent His son to die for me is almost unfathomable, but what's even more unfathomable is that we so often don't walk in the freedom that His death provided.

The truth is that you ARE free. If you've chosen to follow Jesus, His death freed you from any chains that once held you. Maybe you're afraid to walk away, maybe you don't really believe that you can. I challenge you to write down a list of the things that you don't feel free from. Every morning when you pray, tell God that you need help believing you are free and walking in freedom from those things. Then as you face them throughout the day, recognize that you have a choice and ask God to help you make the right one.

There is an amazing freedom to be found in God and in that freedom there is such purpose and passion for even the most seemingly mundane moments in our lives.

So rise up. Walk with Jesus today and leave your chains behind.

"Shake off your dust;

Rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem.

Free yourself from the chains on your neck,

O captive Daughter of Zion."

Isaiah 52:2

16
May
06

Now Let’s Have Some Church

I love my church. It's not perfect, no church is, but it's the perfect church for me. I'm so challenged by our leadership and the life that flows out of our little fellowship.

We're not a huge church. I imagine that when school is in session and all the college kids are here, we probably have a total of 2,000 people if you add both services.

I hope this post doesn't come across as bragging. That's not my intention. My hope is that you'll be encouraged. I've been hearing a lot of people talk about how the American church is stagnant so I wanted to share a bit about the great things God is doing through regular people.

What prompted this post is a project called Restoration Village. After the tsunami hit Asia in 2004, our church organized a group of 75 volunteers – doctors, nurses, and regular folks – to go to Sri Lanka and help the survivors. What began as a short term trip evolved into the rebuilding of an entire village. Several families from our church have moved to Tangalle, Sri Lanka and have over seen a million dollar project to rebuild a town that was devastated. They've traveled the world sharing the need of these people and raising the funds to rebuild their town.

This past week 65 of the families received the keys to their new homes and that is just the beginning of several milestones. The new village will be complete with a playground, community center and town offices.

The project has been handled so efficiently and wisely, that it has been covered by the major news outlets in Sri Lanka and is considered by the Sri Lankan government to be the best underway in the nation. It has breathed hope into a hopeless situation.

These villagers are having their livelihoods restored and as they get to know our team members and they begin to ask why we're helping them, they have had the opportunity to have their hearts healed and restored by the love of God. A small and passionate church has emerged from these people who have faced death and have found life.

The whole project has been such a testimony to the faithfulness and provision of God. He's provided the funding for the project in some miraculous ways. It's been so incredible to watch the process and it's so sweet to hear the stories about what "Move In Day" meant to the people of the town.

In addition to Restoration Village, we literally have hundreds of missionaries around the world – just from our little church. They're just members of our church who have a heart to share Jesus with people who have never heard. They go through a couple years of training and then they move with their families to the far corners of the earth. Some of them are young and fresh out of college. Some of them are my old college friends who now have families, and some of them are grandparents, not content to "retire." I'm so inspired by them.

We're just a little church in Texas, but we serve a big God. I don't know what's happening in the American church as a whole, but God's doing big things here and I know He can do big things where you are too.

16
May
06

Come And Listen…

I was listening to the David Crowder Band today and there's a song in which he sings:

"Come and listen. Come and listen to what He's done."

So I thought we could do that. Let's talk about what He's done.

My story is profoundly simple, but I think it speaks of the tender heart of God.

My little girl sleeps with a stuffed monkey. She adores her stuffed monkey, whom she has creatively named, "monkey". About a month ago, monkey disappeared. We could not find him anywhere. We turned the house upside down.

Every nap and every bedtime, we'd ask her if she wanted another animal, but she didn't want to sleep with anyone but monkey. I even tried to give her my old teddy bear, but she just said, "Thank you Mommy, but he's not my monkey."

She was pretty sad, but she was being brave.

A few days after monkey's disappearance, we were reading a little devotional book and suddenly in the middle of the story, she said, "Mommy! God's the only one who knows where monkey is. Maybe we should pray that God will help us find monkey."

I told her that was a great idea and she proceeded to pray the sweetest little prayer.

Now, we had been looking for days and had turned the house upside down and we couldn't find monkey, but just a little while after her simple prayer, my husband was cleaning up our room and randomly decided to look in a drawer that we NEVER put anything in. Low and behold, there was monkey.

When my daughter saw him, she said, "God helped us find monkey!"

He has the power to calm the raging seas with a word. He holds the keys to life and death. And He cares about my little girl's stuffed monkey.

What an amazing God we serve.

This is my simple story of the goodness of God. What's yours?

09
May
06

Bye, Bye Fear

Yesterday, my children and I were sitting in our driveway enjoying some suckers. Being that my kids are so little, they tend to get as much of the sweet stuff on their clothes, hands and hair as they do in their mouth…ergo eating in the driveway.

My 3 year old was sitting on her bike relishing this rare treat when suddenly she turned around and was face to face with a big, rather ugly dog that had apparently snuck up behind her. She screamed. My youngest does NOT like dogs and responded accordingly. When she saw the dog, she screamed and pretty much stood petrified in the corner.

I jumped up, grabbed both of my little girls in my arms and ran and took them to their daddy's office. Once they were safely in Daddy's arms, I marched back out to the garage, broom in hand, ready to take on this mongrel who would dare mess with my babies.

Fear was the last thing on my mind.

Fear.

We encounter fear a lot in our daily lives, don't we? It's not always fear of physical harm. More often, it's fear of what other people are thinking.

Do they like my clothes? Do they think I'm smart? Do they think I'm cool? Do they understand me? Do they like me?

It can be paralyzing.

I wasn't afraid of the dog because I wasn't thinking about me. My children were the focus of my attention.

What if God was the focus of our attention? How different do you think we'd live? What would we do if we weren't concerned with our glory and reputation, but His?

What if we prayed everytime we left our house that we'd honor God in everything we say and do? What if we cared more about bringing fame to Him than being really funny or really cool?

What if we cared more about what God thinks than what people think?

I think we'd live a lot differently. I think we'd know real peace and freedom.

When God is the center of our lives, fear has no place. He is the eye of the storm. There is struggle and fear outside Him. But in Him there is perfect peace.

I'm not a poet or a songwriter, so I don't know what you'd call this. I guess it's just a collection of words that rhyme occassionally.

I Am The Center of The World

The winds they whip me around
and the more I try, the more I lose ground
I scratch at the dirt and reach for the trees
anything, anything that seems stable to me

my hopes, my dreams
they all fly around
in a dizzy array
as if, as if I have no say
but that’s just absurd
because haven’t you heard

I am the center
the center of my world
and everything I do
everything I see
is simply for the
betterment of me

but I find it’s so hard to stand
and it’s all out of hand
everything seems to be moving
outside of my plan
I reach for good things
as I see them fly by
but slowly, so slowly
I’m wondering if I

I am the center
the center of my world
if everything I do
everything I see
should really be for the
betterment of me

yes everything seems to be moving
in a different direction
it’s drawing me in
drawing me in
what will happen if I let go
what will happen if I let go
what will happen if I let go
what will happen if I just..
You draw me in to this glorious peace
so still, so quiet I hear my heart beat
I’m afraid to speak, but there’s so much to say
this amazing peace just takes my breath away

Oh You
You are the center
the center of this life
let the winds rage around
but I’ll never know
because you are the center
the center of my storm

so let everything I do
and everything I say
only ever be
for the glory
of your name

05
May
06

The Revolution of a Good Little Southern Baptist Girl

I love sports. I play soccer and I run…infrequently. One of my favorite feelings in the world is that sore, achey, stiff feeling in your body after you’ve pushed yourself too hard – for too long. I know. I’m weird. But I just love knowing that I went one step farther than I thought I could. I love to push myself and find out that what I thought was my all – wasn’t.

The superstars of our world are those who pushed themselves beyond what anyone thought they could do. Record breaking athletes. Ground breaking artists. They didn’t seek comfort. They knew that “comfort” is where the average reside. They didn’t seek comfort. They sought revolution.

This verse has been hopping around in my head lately:

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

-Ephesians 20-21

Wow. God is more than I could ask or imagine. Let’s say that again, together:

God is more than I could ask or imagine.

Honestly, my version of God hasn’t been that big. My version of God has had more to do with what others have said He does and who others have said He is. My God has been – comfortable.

I’m ready to change that. I’m ready to believe that God is bigger than I’d ever imagined.

I have no idea where that will take me or what I’m supposed to do. I’ll still cook dinner tonight and mop the floor, but inside, I feel the rumblings of a revolution. An overthrow of all the spoonfed, preconceived notions and limitations I’ve had of God.

I’m ready to imagine and I’m ready to ask.

———-