Saturday, December 31, 2011

A new year.

As this year closes and the new year begins, you'll find me at my kitchen table in the wee hours with this daily Bible -- Dr. Stanley's Life Principles Daily Bible. I love it. My Bible Study gals and I have been reading it this year and plan to just start over tomorrow morning. It's a long devotion in the same direction and we are loving it.

I hope you have a spot for quiet devotion to the One who Love you.

Grace and Peace to you.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A lovely surprise.

This morning, I opened my computer and saw that the Firefox browser was open to a search:

We must keep God in the center of our lives

It wasn't me. It was my middle school aged girlie. What a surprise. What was she looking for? A project for school perhaps? Or just a search. Regardless, it was a gift.

A lovely surprise.

And truly, we must. Today, I'm encouraged to keep my focus in the place it should be: the Center where my Lord stands.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

VBS. The Teacher Learns a Lesson.

I have just come off a brilliant week as a story leader at Vacation Bible School at church. I had the privilege of teaching Bible stories to 80+ 5th graders each day (they were actually in three separate groups). It was brilliant. We used a Son Surf Beach Bash curriculum from Gospel Light.* How can you go wrong with a giant beach shack, surfboards, skim boards and Jesus? We had a really good time. We covered lots of stories about Jesus' life, teaching kids that He is who He says He is and ultimately pointing them to the road that follows after Him. I love it. The kids were pretty engaged each day and many of them were really knowledgeable about the stories we shared. Not typical, but quite fun and a different kind of challenge. 

For me, VBS has a lot of super-naturalness to it. I've lead for years. Every year is different. Last year, God brought a huge group of unchurchy neighborhood kids who pushed me to make sandwiches for the homeless and then at the end of the week, demanded I, another teacher and my 11 year old help them into the kingdom. We prayed with some 20 kids that day. That never happened before. I learned a lot about God's open arms.

This year, I learned about love.

Earlier this summer I was pretty deeply involved in a Philippians Study. It was good. I had the opportunity to lead so I actually studied each chapter out loud twice a week -- with the other leaders (lots of pastors and interns included) and with my Tuesday night group. It was the highlight of my summer -- until now.

In the first chapter of Philippians, Paul tells this very dedicated church in Philippi, "
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God."

I spent a lot of time wondering about how love, abounding more and more would increase my knowledge and depth of insight. A lot. I pondered this, prayed this, talked about this with friends for days. And then VBS happened. 

Of course, in all of our groups there are kids who don't believe.  This is part of outreach and its a joy to be able to share Love and Jesus with them. But this year, there was at least one (and maybe more than one) child in my class who was from an atheist home. She came in each day with a "game face." I, of all people, know how hard it is to hear an idea that conflicts with what I've been taught. It's confusing, frustrating and personally, I've spent years having to let deeper Truth seep in.

The first couple of days, I was concerned with winning her over and having her like me. Then on Wednesday, when she wasn't there and I missed her, I heard God remind me, "She doesn't have to like you -- you just have to love her." It was a game changer for me. I certainly prayed about her, but when we were in class, I just loved her like I loved all the other engaged, kooky kiddos. And in that, I became just a little like our Jesus who loves her all the time. 

On Friday she talked to me for the first time, showing me the turtle costume she'd made. It meant a lot, especially because it meant I hadn't locked her out or dismissed her because she didn't like me or think like me.

Really, the idea of love in any circumstance is a game changer. And as is often the case, the teacher learned a huge, life lesson.

* Gospel Light was founded by Henrietta Cornelia Mears (October 23, 1890 – March 19, 1963), "Teacher" at Hollywood First Presbyterian Church who also founded Forest Home. I like to think of her as a spiritual "grandmother." I never met her, but through her teaching I have great love and affection for her and her work. I'd love to grow up to be like her. Hats and all.

Friday, July 22, 2011


I just finished a 6 week study on Philippians.
I think my life has changed.
Certainly my view of the "with God" life has changed.

I've always grappled with understanding "to live is Christ, to die is gain." And for moments as I've rather soaked in this scripture, I've seen it. Really seen it.

Our life in the Spirit of God, is not about ourselves alone or getting it right. It seems to be about discovering God and what He has for us each day as we grow in Him and in His kingdom now.

I'm feeling this paradigm shift, which I'm not accustomed to yet: I am to focus on YOUR transforming salvation in connection with mine.

Ah. There it is. We're all in this together. (Really? Words from a High School Musical song affirming my faith and direction? Really?)

I'm working on this concept.

Had you ever considered, in this American Christian culture, that what's good for your neighbor's faith might be more important than your own?

This is new. This is good.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Bible - Oswald Chambers

The Bible does not thrill; the Bible nourishes. Give time to the reading of the Bible and the recreating effect is as real as that of fresh air physically.

- Disciples Indeed

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Gifts and the Giver

In the last two years, I've read and re-read, pondering this truth from Exodus 31:2-5

See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.

I am thrilled to my very bone to consider how God fills us with the Spirit in wisdom, understanding, knowledge and art for His sake. It reminds me that He didn't create me to be a pastor or doctor, but a passionate leader with artistic leanings. As a connector and strategist and encourager, filled with ideas. He created me for His purposes, just as He created Bezalel to create - based on the Spirit's filling - for His great purposes.

Don't you love this?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A new year

This year, a few friends and I are spending our time in Dr. Stanley's Life Principles Daily Bible.

I'm excited. I love spending time everyday in the Word. And when I say love I mean love. (I'm very aware that we overuse the word love and I'm working to be aware of how I, specifically, use it.)

I was talking with Lori and Tami the other night and they were discussing how they felt a couple of experiences that seemed like the presence of the Holy Spirit. They'd been to a retreat in a city far away and had words of prophecy spoken over them and as they told about how each of them had felt, then and later, it seemed very familiar. I've had experiences where I've felt overwhelming joy and enthusiasm and a closeness to God's Holy Spirit. As they spoke, I was secretly, quietly, exploding with joy. This is what happens when I sit at my kitchen table and spend time intentionally with God in His word.

So here I am in the middle of January, playing a little catch-up, but falling right in to the daily practice of a cup of tea, (or java), this Bible, my book and pen and some pretty candles. It's a nice setting. And I have great anticipation.

Join in any time. Jump in in fact. And do share your thoughts and experiences in a comment or so.

We are so blessed to have the Word in our hands. What will our Father do with us as we go this year?
I, for one, can't wait to find out.

Dr. Stanley's Daily Devotional

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