"My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours. Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track, you and I,of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories, in all their particularity,as I have long believed and often said, that God makes himself known to each of us most powerfully and personally." -Frederick Buechner

Thursday, June 30, 2011

First of all I need to apologize for the long delay between messages. Let me assure it's not because there is nothing to "talk" about! Life is good and very full these days.  In amongst all of the activity it has become apparent to me that I need to "revamp" my timing and look of this blog. I'm very excited about the future of this blog. If you would join me in prayer regarding the ability of this blog to touch lives I would greatly appreciate it.

Here's just a quick thought from my friend Arlin who is traveling again. He meets with what he calls "peer groups" of businesses that get together quarterly and evaluate what, how and why they are doing things.  I think this is FANTASTIC and wish we would all do this in our personal lives.  Our small group is working in that direction. 
 Thoughts from Arlins meeting yesterday:

  As is always the case – a few of our recommendations focused on leadership and changes we suggested for the man at the top.  Companies really do take on the personality of their founders – and often they get stuck at different levels based on those things.  We have the same challenges in our spiritual lives.  We get into habits and ruts and can get stuck in our spiritual growth.  We hit a ceiling – and in order to change what is happening in our walk with God – we have to change what we do.  If we try to do that on our own – invariably we fall back into our old ways and remain basically stuck.  It usually takes the influence of others to help us break out of our spiritual ruts.  That is where a small group – a community of like-minded folks – can help us.  Do you have that support?  Is there anyone in your life who can help you break free from your habits?
In the book “Radical” – David Platt says he had to ask himself two questions about Jesus:
1.     Was I going to believe Jesus?  Was I going to embrace Jesus even though He said radical things that drove the crowds away?
2.     Was I going to obey Jesus?  Will I hear Jesus words and walk away, content to settle for less than radical obedience to Him?
It comes down to the words from that old hymn – trust and obey.  Do you?  We can choose to continue with business as usual in our Christian walk and in the church as a whole, enjoying success based on the standards defined by the culture around us.  Or we can take an honest look at the Jesus of the Bible and dare to ask what the consequences might be if we really believed Him and really obeyed Him.  That is by far the most exciting option.  Will you trust and obey?

This is the challenge for you to think about today.  Will you trust and obey whatever God has going in your life?  The option is to only do what you "understand" or think you can "handle".  That is a very narrow field to walk in. Our own vision is very limited due to our personality, upbringing and current circumstances. God is NOT limited.

Your thoughts?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Running the race

I have always said I'm NOT a runner. I'm pretty tall and have been this tall since junior high. In my small school the coaches looked at my height and thought two things, basketball and hurdles. Well I played basketball through my freshman year of high school but I just never could handle the hurdles. 1. I'm not a fast runner. 2. Those hurdles just psyched me out!  I couldn't bring myself to try to jump them. Fellow classmate Lori sailed over them like a gazelle. Me, I just ran around them. Thus ended any thought of being a track star.

On the other hand, I love music. I took piano lessons from age 9 all through my freshman year of college. I was in every vocal music group there was in school. However, I'm not really a soloist. I'm a group kind of girl. I auditioned for anything and everything except lead solos. Why? Because I loved it. I listened to music all the time. I sang in my bedroom, the shower, the car and of course in choir. In other words I just kept trying, singing and wanting it. I've been honored to have some fantastically musically talented friends in my lifetime. There was Greg who played piano and wrote songs since he was a preschooler. He wrote a song for our wedding. It was great. He now teaches music and accompanies for everybody at a college. One of the music teachers in my life moved to New York sings opera and teaches vocal music privately. My husband has a rich beautiful voice and sings from the heart. It's one of the many things that attracted me to him. So all of my life I have seen what the possibilities in music are and I have continued to take every opportunity I have seen to participate myself. It's been great. I sang in college choir and in a small group. That let me travel a few places I would have never otherwise seen not to mention make some great friends. I've sung in crusade choirs for some great evangelists. Most enjoyably I've had the privilege of getting to help lead others in worship with my husband and friends.

Why tell you all this? This morning I was thinking about how the Bible refers to life as a race. It's sad to me that many of us are like me and the hurdles.  We see the race and we think I can't do that. I'm scared. I might crash. So we don't run. We avoid the hurdles. There is another option. We can be persistent and participate the best we can and see where it takes us. We might see some things we wouldn't otherwise see, meet some new people, and most of all we could experience for ourselves the unlimitedness of our God.  We keep God small (and safe) in our life when we are not willing to try to "run the race".

"Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or even think, to Him be the glory."  Ephesians 3:20