Archive for May, 2009
Let’s ponder this title for a moment. I have a direction for this article, but I want to get some input from others on this before I go to town writing my thoughts. To get it started, here’s a favorite quote of mine that I heard through the grapevine. The source is unknown to me.
“Going to church on Sunday’s doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than going to McDonald’s makes you a cheeseburger.”
Think about it, mull it over, make a comment if you wish, and I’ll post my article and thoughts on this.
I’m already thinking…if it looks like a cheeseburger and tastes like a cheeseburger, it must be a cheeseburger, right? RIGHT?! Or are we sure? If we go to church on Sunday’s, we certainly must be…
Think about it!
to be continued….
Why not really live your life?
Are you just showing up for your life?
How about REALLY living it!?!
What if you had given everything instead of going through the motions?
Grip and embrace all the blessings God has offered you in life.
Your spouse (fiance, special, special person you’re dating)
And love them like you mean it!
Show Him your gratitude for each!
And do more than just go through the motions.
One of my favorite songs is in my head…
I’ll be a fool…
It’s a Christian song by After The Chase, about being so happy, go lucky, crazy in love with God and your Savior that you SEEM like a fool in this world, because it’s impossible for others of the world to relate to your peace, faith, strength, happiness, being content, and taking risks to reach His people.
So, if you are a leader trying to do something and people are saying:
“Expand our church? Not in this economy! You’re a fool!”
“You’re making a career change to live the calling that God has called you to? Seriously? What about the security you have now? I don’t get you!“
If you are hearing:
“It can’t be done!”
“We already tried that, so just forget about it!”
“I don’t think we will get the support we need.”
As a leader, it is imperative to surround yourself with other innovators and leaders. Surround yourself with innovative and creative people who are LIVING their calling. No doubt, you’ll be called a fool by those who are not. But, how many successful business people and church planters were thought to have been foolish, only to have been some of the most successful individuals who have built some amazing places of worship in our time? And who are we to question God’s plan?
Even if all you are trying to do is lead someone to Christ, you still need to connect with other leaders. People will think you are a fool if you do something out of the ordinary, or something that they don’t necessarily understand or agree with. And, I’m not suggesting that we change people’s perceptions of what we are doing. We are not crazy people, and we certainly don’t need to gain the approval of others BEFORE we do what GOD has CALLED us to do. We are individuals who are LISTENING to what God is calling us to do, and we are answering Him and responding to His direction with glad and happy hearts! If that makes us fools, then go forth and BE FOOLISH!!! Be a happy fool!
Without coming across as a smart-butt, when someone questions why I am doing what God has calling me to do, because they don’t necessarily agree or understand, I want to respond, “God is not asking you to do it. He’s guiding me in that direction.” And truthfully, people need to be less concerned with what God has called others to do and be more concerned with what He’s called them to do. When God calls, we have to be willing to become a “fool” to the world.
Poke me, spit at me, hit me, call me names, laugh at me, treat me differently, gossip about me, or take everything I own…it doesn’t matter. Why? I’m so INCREDIBLY happy even during the worst times of my life…because I am content in my love for God.
HOW FOOLISH! (Grin!)
I was sitting on my couch yesterday morning thinking about the extra time I had. That cold I had last week was making it’s way around to my kiddos, so they were staying home to remain snuggled in with their boxes of Kleenex. I glanced at the clock and thought that I could actually get to church really early.
Wow, I could socialize and be a carefree butterfly mingling among the crowd! (Yeah, right!)
Oooh, oooh, wait! I could just see if anyone needed help…anywhere!
I could greet! Oh, no…greeters are scheduled in advance and it’s not my week. Darn!
(my cell phone rings…)
“Hey Christine! We’ve got some greeting vacancies this morning. I don’t suppose you could get there early with the kiddos…that would be pushing it, right?”
Oh, boy…I was so excited! But, wow…I mean that was only TWO SECONDS from my thoughts about greeting, to my phone ringing!
“Not a problem. Actually, this just works out fine. I’ll be there in 2o minutes!”
I LOVE BEING A GREETER, and here’s why…
I start by standing at the back door to the church staring at an empty parking lot.
I get to watch all the cars come in with people ready to worship God.
I realized that I need to have an apron on like they wear at the hardware stores for the pockets. Inside needs to be band-aids, bulletins, a pen, and some really COOL stickers and stuff. I watched a kiddo who was so eager to get inside the building, that she fell and did a face-plant in the parking lot. We needed band-aids for her knees and a sticker to make it all better. Plus, the extra pockets and stuff would be nice. Parents coming trough the back door with their kiddos could use some handy wipes for those last minutes dirty faces, kleenex for runny noses and tears from the falls, yeah…we greeters just need our own aprons with “stuff” in them. Ok, so I want one to wear, lol!
I also have some lively kiddos that like to “high-five” and do the secret hand shake kind of thing. So, I’m working on something. I’m not cool like that, but I think I can manage to get my kiddos to teach me a thing or two about cool hand shakes.
Greeting is NOT just about connecting with the adults that walk through the door. It’s about connecting with the FAMILIES that walk through our doors. The young, the old, and the ages in between are who we connect with. And the first person they run into should be the one who can relate to all of God’s children whether or not they have a skinned-knee, a frazzled and bad haired morning (yes, I’ll have hair spray and a mirror in my belt), or know the double secret, high-five, cootie-free handshake.
THAT is what I like about being a Greeter.
It means you get the worst seat in the house (most are gone by the time you get in), but who wants to sit through church services anyways? Being part of the church as it is in action is awesome. I plan on getting more of that as connect with God and His people.
I love our family get togethers. I love spending the holidays together. I love that we can find excuses on the weekends to gather, cook, and sit around the table. Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt 1, Aunt 2, Me, and my Kids 1, 2, and 3. (And no, I don’t use my kid’s names online for the world to view. Internet safety.) For Mother’s Day, Grandpa took us out for mexican on Saturday evening. And Dad grilled burgers Sunday evening. Moms in our family got to eat and celebrate two nights in a row! Major bonus points, guys! There need not be a birthday, holiday, or anything else that brings us together. We naturally come together as if our family had a magnetic field that could only stay apart for just so long before we all come crashing toward each other. Hmmm…yet another thought process of mine…
So, what do we do that is so magnetizing that we do it again, and again, and again?
We gather around the dinner/picnic table.
We talk about recipes, current events, and non-essential happenings.
We share updates on how long distance family is doing.
And then it magically happens.
We start talking about the family business.
The business I am referring to has nothing to do with a retail store or industry that’s been in our family. Instead I’m referring to the “stories” of the days gone by. I learn about relatives that lived BEFORE me. My kids learn about the relatives that they were too young to remember that are no longer with us. We learn about the careers, jokes, pranks, triumphs, tragedies, and all out funny things that Great, Great, Grandma did that would otherwise be lost to our remaining and future generations.
Here’s a prime example:
Tonight I learned about meat curing. My Great Grandfather was a butcher who ran his own shop. My Grandfather and my dad helped in his store. So, I know that my Grandfather has part of the tip of his finger missing from working in that shop. But, I also know a little more about how meat is cured, preserved, tenderized, and packaged. Is it necessarily important? Not really. What is important to me is that my children and I know as much about him as possible. He is not around any longer. Years before I was born he was killed when he crossed at a rail road crossing and didn’t hear the train coming. If not for the conversations, I would know nothing or very little about my Great Grandfather.
More important than that, we got to hear some REALLY funny stories about my dad and his dad at the butcher shop. All of this led to other conversations about many family members from the days gone by that I don’t know. These are stories that I couldn’t tell my kids, because they all happened BEFORE me! And during the snowball conversation about the family and the collections of funny and memorable stories, I end up learning about dairy cows.
I know you have to be thinking, “So, what about dairy cows?” Well, I thought dairy cows produced milk ALL the time. I didn’t know they had to have a calf to produce milk and that it was a temporary state resulting from a pregnancy. I thought the term, “dairy cow” meant that they just freely produced milk from birth to death. “Hello, my name is Christine, and I am an airhead.” (No, I was raised in the country/then city, but never near cows or on a farm. So, how would I know?)
I got to be the entertainment at dinner. Everyone laughed over that. And no matter how sad it is that I thought dairy cows produced milk just ’cause they are dairy cows and that’s all dairy cows do (right???), we now have another memory to laugh about. Oh, and trust me….this story will go for many, many generations. It was really funny. I think the laughter we shared at the dinner table along with the stories about traditions of long ago, the family that some never knew, the funny things that granny did (our Grandma did THAT?!), is magnetic.
It’s a magnetic bond between people that just can’t be forgotten. We are a family. And we don’t stick together like glue. It’s more than glue. We stick together because there is something common that we share. There is something common that we all bring to the mix. There is a common interest. There is a common laughter. A common mix of memories. A common knowledge. There is something in all of that that draws us together.
If we didn’t share the knowledge about family history, the tales, and the stories, they would be lost. And with each passing generation, they would be harder to recover and eventually gone forever. But not with us. Each time we have an “excuse” to gather and cook out (or cook in-in the winter), we keep the family heritage alive.
It was today on Mother’s Day, I realized that the most amazing Mother’s Day gift I have ever received are those family stories. Even better than most amazing is the fact that it doesn’t stop with me. These old stories (and the new…the cows) will live on through my children. As I sat this Mother’s Day and again listened to the same stories that never grow old or that never lose their humorous impact, and as I heard new ones, I thought about the best gift a mom could have. I already have it. I have a dinner magnet. My hopes are that there will be a family dinner magnet for generations to come. I hope that it draws them near.
Most memorable stories:
Great Grandma falling through the out-house, a tow truck being called to lift her out, and no one wanting to sit next to her on the ride home. (I’m kind of glad I missed that!)
Great Grandma sleeping sitting in chair and grand kids wanting to know how her mouth could be open but her teeth closed (And we wonder why kiddos have nightmares???).
Mom walking through park with big banana spider falling out of tree on her head.
Aunt trying to get way from spider wheeling herself across lawn with one leg.
Other Aunt trying to aerate her lawn with spike shoe attachments that just sink into the soil and not being able to get them out of the ground therefore “sticking” to her lawn. (I told them to call me next time so I can run over with my flip camera! I’ll post on Youtube!)
Dad riding his motorcycle back in college through a cloud that turned out to be a swarm of bees.
The terantulas in Texas when I grew up there…lots of spider stories.
And this is just one side of the family….
They go on, and on, and on and on!!!
I was thinking this morning (umm…me thinking anytime is dangerous, much less before 8am) that living God’s calling for my life is much like being on a roller coaster at an amusement park.
I don’t know which direction it will turn all of the time.
I can’t always see the track.
If I look too far ahead it gets confusing for me, because God is still building that part of the track, but I can rest assured that it will be done by the time my cart gets there.
Sometimes I have to climb slowly and persistently to reach the top of a challenge before I can coast downhill for a while.
Some parts are scary and some are fun…I am asked to reach too high, go into tunnels and areas where there is no light, and put my hands into the air and not hold on.
But in the end, when my roller coaster finally stops, and I exit in Heaven, it will have been the most ultimate ride of a life time.
When stepping out to live the calling the Father has summoned you for, GO! Just remember who is in control of the roller coaster you are on and have faith. Things won’t seem so scary anymore.
I was on a way to a meeting this morning, when I grabbed my pen to write a thought down. I was driving and the only thing available was my hand. It read, “God is what separated the men from the monkeys.” I laughed, and then I realized that yes, this was the next t-shirt I was to design.
Only the God of our universe, the Author of all creation was able to separate the men from the monkeys. Not evolution, not science…only God had the creativity, plan, and imagination to create man and animal separately. Yet, science still believes in evolution and chance. If evolution were correct, monkeys wouldn’t exist any longer. Men would’ve become the new monkey and monkeys would be history…like the dinosaurs.
So, the next time someone says evolution is how monkeys became men…simply respond:
separated the men
from the monkeys
This thought from my head is now on a t-shirt (click the link or see below).
I dare you to order one and wear it. Please leave your comments on the conversations you have. I’d love to know if it helps to reach people by engaging them in conversation 😉
Don’t worry guys…it’s available in a white cotton t-shirt as well.