Friday, January 31, 2014

I forgot that we'd prayed

"Do you ever feel like God is saying, 'Did you see that?"' -- Lee


I don't completely understand it.

But last year, God powerfully answered a prayer that I forgot I'd even prayed.

In late September, our church joined up with another large church in the area, and together, over a thousand voices worshiped and prayed for our city, especially the first responders.

As a fire fighter, Lee was surrounded and prayed for by the people around us, and he had two requests:
  1. Safety: At work and home.
  2. His Job: The city was talking about letting go of even more fire fighters by the end of the year. Lee would have been one of the positions cut.

  1. Safety: Lee was miraculously rescued from what should have been a fatal motorcycle accident.
  2. His Job: Funds were "found" and Lee's position was secure.

The thing is, with all the chaos around the accident, we forgot. We forgot that we'd prayed. I forgot that I stood next to Lee, holding his hand, surrounded by people who loved us and complete strangers who loved Jesus.

Until a friend sent us this photo from that night:

There we are, being prayed over, a week before the accident.

And God whispers to me through my tears, "Look. Remember. Pray. Trust."

So I humbly bow my head in thanks to the great Creator whose ways are unsearchable and whose love never fails.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"You feed them."

I recently had a mental freak out moment during the sermon. I read ahead a bit in the manuscript so I could take a break from listening in order to dump what was in my busy brain, freeing me up to focus on the rest of the message. Here's just a sample of what I wrote in about 2 minutes:

"Feeling overwhelmed. Maybe it's the extra coffee. But I want to reach the world for Jesus. I need to do wheel barrel exercises with Nathan to strengthen his hands. Memorize James. Wake up early to read and write. Read the Gospel Primer with the kids. Attend the missionary prayer services. Go move to a church plant? Sell the house and live in an RV? Use our resources and time and money for others. Counsel more. Spread the gospel. Write another book. Work on my MOPS speech. Motivate my kids to move forward with a purpose. What am I going to do about high school classes? Visit the sick in the hospital. Make meals for people. Gotta get the freezer fixed. Eat clean shakes and food. Exercise."

We laughed about this with my family over lunch. Oh, my random brain! Then my brother reminded me of the story of Jesus and the hungry crowd.

The crowds of thousands surrounded Jesus. They were hungry. They were pressing in. What did Jesus tell his disciples to do?

“You give them something to eat.”

What do you think they probably did? One guy checked his bank account and pessimistically re-ran the budget numbers. Someone I'm sure was asking Siri where the nearest Walmart was. A few probably rolled their eyes or crossed their arms and stormed off. We do know that Andrew started looking around at the resources he currently had. It wasn't much. Just a boy with a small brown bag lunch.

Jesus first asked them to feed the people.

That's so often where I stop. I feel like God has placed the "five thousand" in front of me, be it in the form of responsibilities or the tasks that line my day. Sometimes the pressure of performing is so great it feels like a heavy storm that is rolling in.

"God, I want to serve you! But I can't! I just can't! There's too much!"

I get distracted the by the endless to-do list. Good things. Important things. But sometimes, my eyes are wide and my hands are up and I'm asking, "But how, God?"

But the story doesn't end there.

They go back to Jesus. They ask for His help. He of course has resources that are unlimited. He feeds everyone. And then he asks the disciples to collect the leftovers.

12 baskets.

1 for each of them.

A basket of food to remind them who is the One really supplying their needs.

So I go to Jesus. I say, "My '5000' looks like this. I know I can't do it on my own. I'm weak. So weak. But you can, Jesus. You can. So please, help me. Multiply my time. My creativity. My resources. My strengths. Help me in my failures, my falls. Please, I need you."

"Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted."

So I go to Jesus, give thanks, and then listen to his instructions.

I can't. But He can.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Feeling like I'm on a tight rope

A cold, narrow wire. My bare toes, trying to grip it, arms stretched out, wobbling, balancing, whoa! Easy, there! Don't fall!  

A tight rope that hovers over the pit of sin. A selfish thought, a rebuke spoken harshly, thoughts of despair - they all send me toppling. I fall to my knees, gripping the cable with all four of my limbs, clinging tightly. In my sinful flesh, I fear I'm always just a moment away from falling head-first into a wasteland of self-centered living. What would make me happy? "I just want to be happy." Or peaceful. Or right. Or liked. Or secure. Or have whatever it is that I want at that very moment.

As I doodled this thought process, it started coming into focus. If life were a tight rope (follow along with me here,) then I have a secure belt around my waist called "Jesus's righteousness." Righteousness is simply: right thinking, feeling, and acting. Jesus was always perfect in all of this. I am not. But my belief in Him affixed this belt permanently around my torso and now, He has me.

Then, there's the tether. A rope, crafted of love and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, that belays me and keeps me from spiraling down. It has threads of the Word of God, Worship Music, Church, Thankfulness, The Promises of God, Other Believers.

And God Himself is holding the other end of the rope.

"The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again." Proverbs 24:16

"The Lord directs the steps of the godly, He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand."
Psalm 37:23-24

It's good, I think, for me to realize how weak I am in myself. My heart is only made new by the love of Jesus.

Our time of worship on Sunday was like the rope tugging me back up, standing me straight again. "His love never fails and never gives up... and on, and on, and on, and on it goes..."  (One Thing Remains)

So I can walk in faith, and not fear. In love, and not selfishness. In confidence, and not despair. 

Have you ever thought of life in these terms? What has God used to give you a gentle tug so you can stand straight and walk in love again?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014



just start.

no fixed plan.
enjoying the moment.
living here. now.
not always there. then.

give thanks.