Sunday, August 28, 2005

Be Anxious For Nothing

I have a rather strange attraction toward TV Preachers. I am quick to follow that up with a clarification of which type etc etc. Like it makes a difference. But nevertheless it makes me feel better if I can stand on my soapbox and say, "No, of course not Benny Hinn, Reihnhard Bonke, and a whole lot of other TBN specials." But, sheepishly I admit to loving a good sermon from Paula White, The Bishop (TD Jakes) etc etc. Now that this is in print, its a little creepy....gosh!

Now that we have that out there, I was listening to Paula White preach this past week and it really spoke to me. She was in Phil. 4:6-7 and her words had such power. I know the verse but I do not live it well. I love her enthusiasm for scripture and her knowledge of the word. It seeps out of every pore even when she isn't trying. I keep hearing her being incredulous that we do not believe God when he says, Be Anxious For Nothing! I feel like I spend my life being "pre-anxious" so that I can be prepared to be "anxious" in the most appropriate way. What am I doing....

So, from scripture here is my focus for today and the rest of my days...
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God that transcends our thinking, will guard our hearts and mind in Christ.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


I am not the girliest girl ever and that is just fine with me. I am make-up less more days than I am made up...I don't get my nails done...I do not get a buzz from Women's Retreats....I usually mke friends with guys easier than with girls....

However, today I am thankful for my friend Missy. She has made life here in Amarillo so much easier for me. We think alike on many things and we enjoy hanging out. So this is not meant to sound like something from a "chick flick" heralding the merits of girlfriends. But I just wanted to pay tribute to a friendship between two non-girlie girls!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Nephew Goes to College

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This weekend my nephew left for college. He is tall, handsome, 18 and ready. The rest of us are not. While talking to my brother over this past weekend, driving away from the school with their child still there was one of the hardest things they have ever done. I can hardly even imagine it at this life stage.

Josh, here's to you and your new life! We love you, man!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Who Started This?

I am not a graduate of Harding University and I do not pretend to understand the culture of the college. But....I have read the passionate blogs of many who do know and am so frustrated right now I am blogging about it. It appears that Harding has invited one very politically conservative speaker to their campus as part of a series. I don't get this....Who came up with the idea that Christian and Conservative go together. My reading of Jesus shows him to be a wildly- fly-in- the-face-of-current-thinking kinda' guy. He challenged the establishment and always took up on the side of the marginal and poor. Wow - which part of that did we miss. The speaker they have invited is known for making statements that reflect an ethno-centric, egotistical world view with less compassion than a snake. Why would they do this?

Places of higher learning should stand for that - higher learning. Learning means knowing and understanding the issues from both sides. I am not holding my breath waiting to see if they bring in a balanced speaker from the other side. What do you think?

Isn't it funny that conservative political spin doctors they will welcome but the likes of Mike Cope and Jeff Walling can not speak there. Hello...does anyone see a problem here?????

Monday, August 15, 2005

Accidental Mentor/Model/Impressive Older Person

My intention was never to use this blog to blog on about my kids, but I am discovering that so much of what I learn and am shaped by is because of them. So here we go again.
Each summer we have about 3 youth interns here at Central. This summer they were all awesome - really great kids.

Different to the past years though, is that we also had a Worship Intern. Our Worship Minister left and moved before the summer and so short of using our people week in and week out until someone new came, we had to get creative. During the month of May we had an interim and then we came up with the idea of a young intern for the summer and beyond till we employed someone. His name is John Paul and today becomes an elementary music teacher in the Lubbock school system. John Paul has a beautiful voice - truly riveting to my ears. He is warm, so respectful and just an all round good guy. He had several duties while here and one was VBS. This is where my kids come in. They had seen him lead on Sunday a few times and seemed to like him enough, but then VBS hit and he rose to superstar status. He transformed the worship time at VBS into something incredible. He oozed energy and connection to kids. Every time we would go to the building to see David or work on something the kids would make their way to John Paul's office. They would find him after church. It made their month when he and his wife came over to dinner.

Here's the thing. I watch my kids become enamored by the youth interns, the worship intern, their teenage vbs crew leaders, their kids own worship small group leaders, etc etc and then it hits me how important our example is. It seems like a trite lesson but it is not. Bottom line, someone is looking to you to be their "hero" and sometimes you never know it. So far, my kids have not been let down....what a testament to the kind of interns, young adults and teens we are surrounded by. In fact, one of our families best friends is a family called the Kelleys. Their oldest son drives a Jeep and yesterday my 4 year old said, "when I grow up, I want to get a Jeep so I can match Barry." Pretty cool!

Now, I am left with the commission to begin teaching my 9 year old daughter about how she treats the 4 and 5 year old little people who look to her as the "big kid."

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Experience tells me that I should only blog my thoughts once they are semi-sorted in my mind, but I am ignoring that and will probably ramble on. But, this is my blog and I can ramble if I want to.

Both of our kids have rythym (I know that is spelled incorrectly), a keen sense of movement and a love of music. Our 9 year old daughter is a talented singer and has a sharp ear for pitch. Our son is only 4 and so the jury is still out but we can see the signs already. All that to say - they are drawn to music in a very powerful way. The VBS Cd and DVD is played months after the event. The moves and choreography is done and redone to perfection. We listen to Christian radio, they play CD's, we all go to concerts - this is their life. So, I am so thankful that our church had a music camp during the first week of August. The elementary kids went from 9-3 all week. They learned the music and dances and voila! on Friday they perfomed an incredible show. The reason this thrills my heart is that in their minds, praise and exuberance go hand in hand. They know nothing else. Don't you love that!

I believe it is vital to raise our kids with their christian identity being "Jesus Follower." I do not want them to know church of Christ stuff, I pray they never have to deal with it. I want them to be as comfortable at a Saturday night service at a local community church as they are on a Sunday morning at a cofc.

Some may recoil in horror and say I have bad ecclesiology. Not so. This is not a permissive response to what I do not like in our fellowship. It is an intentional attempt to raise my kids with their only core being: God is God; the Spirit indwells and empowers; Jesus is the way to the Father and following Him requires a life transformed daily to look like Him; People are always more important than things; We are created to Praise; God is more concerned with our shaping than our happiness; To be like Him we need to see people with His eyes.....You get the picture - it is not about church identity markers for me. Sure, they need to ask questions when they see things that are different in the church world. And yes, I will engage those discussions with passion but quite honestly I pray they will look only for the Spirit and when they see His work, they will know that God abides in that place.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Dream a Better Dream

Last night I saw the motion picture epic, "Shark Boy and Lava Girl." 9 years ago I never dreamed I would be frequenting such shows but weird things happen to you once you have kids. Jokes aside and bad reviews considered, I really loved this movie. The basic premise was retaining the ability to dream, with your eyes open, and in doing so creating a better life. I loved the images of darkness being chased away by the light of a positive life. For those of you who are thinking I am on the brink of scientology, kaballah or new age - do not fear. It is was it is and I did not see any savior figues in these characters!!! It was an incredible lesson for kids and big kids like me. I guess the line I will quote for a while is "Dream a better dream."

Monday, August 08, 2005

The church grass is not always greener....

On Saturday night David and I went to the 5:30 service at the "trendy, up and coming church in town." I secretly imagine that everyone who goes to these churches is having the greatest worship, teaching, fellowship and discipleship experiences in the world and my cofc church experience just does not measure up.

Part of me knows better but a part of me always thinks the grass is greener in the community church world. Well, sure - the building is way cool, the people were all really pretty and everything ran like clockwork. But, I left feeling very unmoved and touched in my spirit. I have not wanted to admit that and I don't know why.

Part of the lesson was just bad theology and it left an awful taste in my mouth. The topic, I need a drumroll here, was Money! The pastor says at one point, "if your finances are in the gutter, it may be because Jesus is in the middle of it and he doesn't feel you can handle blessings financially. He then proceeds to say that God wants great things for us to enjoy here on earth." Just can't take that. How do you believe that and address the starving masses in Africa, the starving here who are also faithful? How do you reconcile suffering? Does God really want us to have things to enjoy on earth - or is that our spin on life? I believe that God is more concerned about shaping us into what he desires than our happiness. That usually means growing us through struggle. I do not mean to say that life as a Jesus follower is all suffering and misery - just the opposite. But, I do believe it is a life of real joy regardless of what we have in this life.

So, as I worshipped at Central on Sunday morning, I had a better appreciation for it. When I looked around, not everyone was pretty. In fact some come right off the streets. The building was way cool in 1982 - just not now! We did not start on time and nothing ran like clockwork. But, I was touched in my spirit and knew God was in that place.

I believe God was both places - fully alive on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Sometimes though it is easier for me to see him in cool trendy churches where accapella music does not abide. He grew me this weekend.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Things That Warm The Heart

I know the potential for this post to get cheesy very quickly. I'm risking it anyway. Let's say I am overcome today by things that warm my heart.

1. Our 9 year old daughter, Michaela, wrote her 4 year old brother the coolest letter this week. She told him that she prays for him, that she will always stand up for him. Wow - the stuff that makes me sob!

2.Through a project at church I have made some new friends. One of them, David Carnes - a minister in Michigan, I have only met by phone and email. Another in Indiana, and so forth. I just love the connection that we can feel to one another because of Jesus!


4.Drinking a cup of hot tea with my husband every night at 10pm

I could go on and on but I will leave it at that for today. What warms your heart today?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Finding Donna

Hey Donna
today's blog is dedicated to you. I have tried to email you twice and the messages keep being returned. I read your little comments here and there on this blog and then can never make contact back with you. Please email me so I can get your email address and respond, thanks!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

More Than You Need to Know

I had the first of the "big talks" with my 9 year old daughter yesterday. We figured we needed to at least give her the basic facts before she begins 4th grade. As we talked, not let me rephrase that. As I talked, and she stared back at me, I told her that this was the first of many talks like this we will have. She will be discovering things that she is going to need to ask about and we are going to be giving her more information as and when she is ready - before she needs it. It was altogether a really good experiece. I prayed with her afterwards and her Dad prayed with her later at bedtime about it too. 2 things struck me: My daughter is maturing - Wow! She knew nothing. That has really shocked me. I constantly hear people say that kids are talking about sex etc on the playground all the time. Well, not here. She truly knew squat and had no context for it either.
Now why am I broadcasting this for the world - or all 3 of the people who read this blog. Well, I feel different today. You know that feeling when you get your drivers licence, you get a child toilet trained and now this. I know this is the beginning and not the end, but there was a sense of relief for me.
That's all folks.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

God's Answer and Not Mine

I can not reveal a whole lot of details right now, but for the past 3-4 months I have been involved in a project at church. We have worked the process and given countless hours to it, not withstanding the emotional pull it has placed in our hearts. Well, this puppy is almost wrapped up and I don't know if I am ready. Let me put it this way:
I am ready to hear the answer that I want. Did you catch that big I! I know that God is in charge of this thing but I am having a hard time letting go. He knows my heart, he knows what is best for our church and I have to rest in that. But.....I keep thinking he needs my help to get the right answer. Hmmm...when will I learn. If the answer that comes is not what I had desired, I will live through it but boy how I wish.....

This brings me to another idea that has floated freely through the cavaties of my brain over the last couple of years. It has to do with the will of God. I have read books about this, I have prayed for discernment, I have seen open doors and closed windows. I have some first hand experience with these things, but I don't have answers. I think I now believe that God's will for our lives is for us to come to a more intimate understanding of Himself, to be just, pure, holy, worshipful, compassionate and open. As for all the rest, I am not sure. I am not sure if he so closely directs each step of every journey. I think I am beginning to think he accomplishes His will in us through life situations and circumstances. I just don't think the "detailed roadmap theology" fits anymore. I may be wrong. Has happened before. I know I do not believe in a distant uninvolved God - don't hear that. I love this quote and it seems to put it all in perspective:"This means the present is not meant primarily to be resolved, or even learned from, but to be written in a way that allows us to reveal God to others and to let him reveal himself to us."

So - all that said, if things don't turn out the way my heart is sure they should. God is still God. Process is still essential to good product. I Will survive, but It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want to!