Archive for October, 2008
Living in Kansas is awesome. Though it’s not a place I would’ve picked off a map, it is now considered my home. Hutchinson is the home to a few of the 8 Wonders of Kansas. We are the home of the Underground Salt Museum (funny…Seasoned With Salt just happens to be located in the Salt Capitol), and the Cosmosphere and Space Center. Tonight after bible study, I took a hike to one of my favorite spots to pray. Anyone who thinks that a planetarium is the best place to star gaze has not stood out on my back deck and just stared in awe at the Kansas skies. Ok, so it was only a hike out my back door and out to my deck. But when you’re still feeling under the weather, it’s a hike. Trust me on that one!
Tonight was different though. It was one of those nights that I was so engrossed in the awesomeness of God’s power and completely lost in the beauty of the stars, that I didn’t exactly know what to say to Him. I was in His presence, yet absolutely speechless for the most part. My prayer was, “Wow! Amazing! How could anyone NOT believe?” I was so swept away in His power to create the Heavens, the stars, the entire everything that surrounds us everyday, that I was reminded of just how big God is. I was reminded of His power, His love, His beauty, His holiness, and all of the things my mind just cannot completely comprehend. It’s just too big! And, the other half of that is that my mind is also just too small.
A couple of things were in my thoughts as I more or less just “thought” to God, since I was too speechless to pray. One, the world just couldn’t have evolved from science. Why? Science is not beautiful. The world in which we live is full of scenic creativity and art! Science is methodical, mechanical, and sterile. Nope, our world and all it’s splender has got God written all over it. I don’t care how long something evolved. It just doesn’t get pretty. Case in point…look in my refrigerator and see the old stuff that has evolved into something else. It’s fuzzy, ugly, and it certainly smells. (I need to work on that refrigerator thing.)
My kids and I have been RVing in many places. One of our favorite spots for camping is in the Badlands of South Dakota. This is by far the most phenominal star show you’ll ever encounter. We’ve been to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and many other places. I’ve traveled to the Caribbean once in my lifetime. The more I see, the more I experience, the more I know that this type of creativity didn’t come by chance from science and evolution alone. To me, science is what we humans need in order to put a name on something, because our small brains just cannot handle the awesomeness of God and faith to believe.
My thoughts switched from evolution to feeling like that small pea-brain that cannot handle how big God is. I thought about how sometimes we are afraid to do what God is calling us to do, and what the Holy Spirit is guiding us to do. I thought about growing our churches. I thought about engaging individuals in missions. I also thought about business. WHAT IF we succeed? Are we afraid we might actually succeed in things He guides us to do? And if we do succeed, then what?
That is tiny, human-brained thinking. If we are being guided by His wisdom, His plan, and His purpose, what are we afraid of? With a God as amazing, artistic, creative, and so big we cannot even begin to comprehend his awesomeness, what ARE we afraid of? We may not be able to handle the success alone. And thankfully, we won’t have to. When it’s time to harvest, He will be there. All He asks right now is that we plant it, so it will grow.
About local community…
For the past year or so, I have put together various community efforts. Participation is sparse, the moans are loud, and no one wants to share resources so we can serve individuals to the best of our ability. To me, this matters and makes all the difference in the world. It’s a no brainer for me to pursue an opportunity to collaborate and work within our community to Glorify Him. He wins hands down!
Lately, I have been praying about why community matters so much to me. Do I believe in spreading the Good News across the globe? You betcha! But, I also feel that it’s equally important to not forget the local areas in which we live. So many times, it’s much easier to do things away from home than to be seen by your friends, neighbors, and coworkers, when you are doing work to glorify our God. In my prayers and thoughts, I’ve been asking if it’s strictly government’s responsibility to take care of individuals to make sure that all needs are met.
I’m by no means an expert on government issues, but I can’t help but wonder if it was designed to lay the basic foundations and principles, while it be left up to the communities to care for the citizens that reside within each. Maybe this is a good thought? Maybe I missed the boat? I’m not so sure I’ve missed it completely. I have been reading and studying Nehemiah in the bible.
Jerusalem’s walls were in ruin. They were not only vulnerable to attack, but they were in disgrace! Nehemiah had such an awesome plan to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. And, he did. But not by himself! It was a collaborative effort of all the individuals there. Each took the stones, timbers, and bolts, and rebuilt the section of the wall that they lived near.
While reading this, I realized how phenominally smart this plan was! It gave each person a sense of ownership, creating the motivation each person needed to participate to get the job done. I spent four years in college, and no top notch business book ever contained a plan this perfect. And, of course, it’s probably because they weren’t authored nor approved by the Almighty Himself. I am just in awe of what we can all learn from the bible. It IS God’s handbook for our lives. And it has me thinking! Yes, I know my mind can be a scary place-that was supposed to be funny, so please stop laughing now!
I was in the shower talking to God (just to prove that you can talk to God ANYWHERE!) about Nehemiah and how Jerusalem’s walls were rebuilt. It revolved around community. And each person had a job to do in close proximity to their home. So, my mind starts spinning it’s wheels (one round and one square wheel, but none-the-less, they spin, and it’s worked for me!), and soon I think about the people who don’t participate locally in our own communities. In particular, I thought about some coaching I’ve done for individuals who give up. They give up all hope to work, be involved, socialize, and they just exist but don’t really do anything. Their spirit is broken, they have been beat up and spit out, and they are completely lost.
My question turned into an answer and, I spoke aloud when I realized it. As I prayed to God about it, out of nowhere, a thought was squeezed out between the round and square wheel in my head. WHAT IF the people who give up have done so, because they do not know what their purpose is? How can anyone know what the plan is if they haven’t gotten to know their Creator?
Maybe…just maybe…they do not work, do not participate in community activities, and don’t become involved in anything, because they don’t know what they are designed to do. And, how can they know this-what their task is, their purpose, the plans that God has for them, until they know Him? Here’s the big thought, and this one I spoke outloud. How will they know unless we reach out to them to give them the same hope, the same future, the ability to know he has plans for them to protect them and not harm them (refer to Jeremiah 29:11) unless WE reach out to those in our own Jurusalems to tell them?
And, with that…I have the answer to the question I asked God about WHY our local communities are so important and can’t be forgotten. As Christians we have a responsibility to seek the lost in every part of the world. And as Christians, we show our love as He showed us His, by reaching out to the person next door…down the street…and across the tracks…that they can have hope in Him, just as we do. And with that, spoken with kindness, gentleness, and lots o’ love, we can begin to rebuild our own Jerusalems.
I pray that this touches your heart as it has touched mine.
A normal part of living with children is the occasional whining. They whine over who gets the internet first, who gets to watch a particular television show, who has to unload the dishwasher, and over how life is just not fair. I normally take it all in stride, but lately when my kids repeatedly come to me and tell me there’s nothing to eat in our house, I find myself needing to set this record straight. What do they mean by nothing to eat? My pantry is FULL! In fact, I probably have enough in there to feed twice our family size for the entire month. I get accused of planning for a famine when I grocery shop, because I shop for an entire month in one trip.
People look at the two carts piled high with groceries, as I try and nagivate through the store. I cautiously make my rounds without crushing infants and small children that I can’t see in front of me, and people jokingly say, “I want to eat at your house!” Buying it is one thing. Putting it away when I get home is another. Uggh. I have no more room in the pantry closet. I have to think about where to store stuff. I’ve jokingly asked my kids if they had room in their sock drawers to store some small items. Jello in socks? Naaa, not a good idea. We eventually get it worked out.
The first two weeks after shopping my kids are in hog heaven. They have all their favorite foods, snacks, and munchies at their fingertips. And, when they’re gone…they’re gone until next month. When I hear the whining about their being no food in the house, I remind them that there IS food in the house, it’s just not their first choice. We then enter discussions on even having a food choice. It is a blessing for them to have a choice about what they eat, how much they eat, and how often they get meals and snacks. I find it so important to remind my kids that some people in the world have nothing. Some wait days between meals. Some wait weeks. Some people don’t even get a full meal as they rely on finding whatever they can to satisfy their hunger in bits and pieces.
I ask my whiney kids to think about how many times they’ve ever gone to bed hungry. Truth is, they never have and they know it. My kids know there is food in the house. It’s just not what they are in the mood for or prefer. These discussions tend to get them back on track and end the whining. They choose something to eat, and they find satisfaction in knowing that they are truly blessed to even have food. It has been a great opportunity for me to talk to my kiddos about how we can help to feed those who don’t have anything.
Lastnight my son brought his change bucket out and said we could use it as part of our church offering. My daughter is saving her used toys she no longer plays with for a garage sale, and she wants to send the money she makes to help with missions overseas. It’s no longer just me making donations in the name of my family. From the blessing of having food in our house, my children and I have come together to help feed those who truly don’t have any food. And, they view our pantry from a whole different perspective.
Each morning five alarms buzz at full volume in my bedroom. I am a very deep sleeper, and it’s very hard for me to awaken and jump right out of bed. Even with five alarms, it’s possible for me to oversleep. I’ve slept 30 or 40 minutes with all five alarms buzzing at the same time and not heard any of them until my kids come in and wake me. They heard them all the way upstairs, but I didn’t flinch. That, my friends, is deep sleep.
Once I got up, I bounced from wall to wall as I made my way to the kitchen to grab a cold Pepsi. Coffee is just nasty, and it tends to be my drink of choice only when nothing else is available. And, I mean nothing else. Hmmm…no motor oil available? Ok…just give me a coffee, I guess. Same difference to me. They’re both black, I’m sure they taste similar, and they both make things run smoother, right? Oh, I’m kidding. I wouldn’t drink motor oil. But, let me put it this way. If coffee was on a table right in front of me, but I had to drive 20 miles for the nearest Pepsi, I’m going to grab the keys and go!
This morning started just like any other day. I fell over the side of my bed, stubbed my toe on the door frame as I walked through the hallway to reach the kitchen, stepped on the cat’s tail (and you’d think she’d know by now not to lay in front of the refrigerator until AFTER I have my wake up beverage), and grabbed my ice cold, carbonated, caffeinated, and bubbly can of Pepsi.
As soon as I took a sip, I started to feel more awakened. I apologized to the cat who is plotting her revenge as she licked her now throbbing tail, and I sat down to check my email. As I drank my Pepsi and awakened my tired self, I read my daily devotions as I usually do. I subscribe to numerous authors at www.crosswalk.com, so I have about a half dozen devotions waiting for me in my inbox. I started my day in prayer and thanksgiving. I used the devotions to learn how
I can apply the lessons and scripture in my daily activities. It also gave me an opportunity to plan my activities and balance my life in His presence. As I completed this this morning, I stopped to take another sip of my favorite soda. I thought about how I was feeling more awake.
I was no longer running into the walls. I wasn’t stepping on the cat’s tail anymore. I was able to maneuver throughout my house without sleepwalking and sustaining any injury. I felt awake, alive, and ready to face the day! And then it hit me like a frisbee! You know, the frisbee that looks like it’s getting bigger and keeps getting bigger, and you don’t know why…until it hits you. (If you don’t get it forget it…maybe that’s only happened to me!)
I wasn’t alive and awake because of the Pepsi. I wasn’t protected from injury from walking into things I shouldn’t because of the caffeine. My morning beverage only started to wake the surface of me. By starting my day focused on God, His will, and with a heart centered in Christ, I was awakened mind, body, and soul. I realized this morning that when I start my mornings to focus on Him, I don’t bump into as many walls or fall of course as easily as my day progresses.
I didn’t make that connection until today. Man, that was a BIG frisbee, and it hit me hard! There is no drink or any amount of caffeine that will awaken me the way He does, and although I will still enjoy my morning Pepsi, I know the only way to avoid bumping into those walls, stepping on tails, toes, or anything else that I might accidentally step on by not being aware of their existence in my path, is to start my day to sit in His presence. Only then can I be awake enough in mind, body, and soul to face the day ahead, make better decisions, and keep my heart centered in His love.