Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Love of a Child

Chan gives this really great visual of a child's love for their parent:

"Sometimes when I come home from work, my little girl greets me by running out to the driveway and jumping into my arms before I can even get out of the car. As you can imagine, arriving home had become one of my favorite moments of the day." p. 55

For the past two years, my husband had a job that required long hours away from his family. So, by the time he walked through the door at night, he was always greeted by cheering children. They would literally fight their way to him and then tackle him to the ground. On more than one occasion, he would say, "It's nice to be loved."

So... this leaves me to ponder the question of whether I've EVER had that type of exhuberant joy and love for God. The type of love you can't contain inside yourself. The answer... honestly... not that I can remember. In fact, spending time with Him is seen more as a chore than a joy. I used to blame this predicament on the fact that I have a jam-packed schedule and that fitting in a sizeable amount of "quality" time with God just wasn't feasible. But, let me tell you a secret... that was just a really lame excuse. You see, this past week, I had all the free time I could have ever wanted. My husband took the kids to his parents for the week, which meant I was home alone. Now...I had the BEST of intentions. I asked a friend to pick out a Book from the Bible for me to focus on for the week. I planned to spend at least an hour each day in meditation. Yep...GREAT INTENTIONS. But... after two days of Proverbs, I was done. I tried moving to better. Last ditch effort...James...MY FAVORITE...nothin'! Blasphemous... I KNOW! But here's the thing: I think God allowed me to be restless and frustrated, because, you see, it would have been really easy for me to find respite in His Word last week, rejuvination, encouragment. But then reality would hit again when my family returned... thus "confirming" my FALSE conclusions, leaving me to ultimately blame them for my inability to find the time for God. I have responsibilities... mother, wife, cook, chauffeur, teacher, volunteer, housekeeper. In my mind, these responsibilities come first. They are tangible needs that require an immediate response...leaving, like always, my leftovers for God.

I want to be excited about God. I want that excitement to show. This past week, I realized that I can no longer use other people, other responsibilities, other things, as an excuse for my unwillingness to make God a priority...EVERYDAY. As hard as it is for me to admit... I lack discipline... this coming from a woman who gets up at 4:52 in the morning to go to the gym for an hour and a half...even when it's -5 degrees and snowing outside. I'm fully capable of discipline and prioritizing... I just haven't been willing to when it comes to God. I'm thinking that it's time for that to change!


Another Chan video. This is a good one...but it's also another "gut-check." Have fun!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Head v. The Heart

Even though Chan says that the relationship with his dad had an adverse affect on his relationship with God, he readily admits that things began to change when he became a father himself.

"After my oldest daughter was born, I began to see how wrong I was in my thinking about God. For the first time I got a taste of what I believe God feels toward us. I thought about my daughter often. I prayed for her while she slept at night. I showed her picture to anyone who would look. I wanted to give her the world." p.55

I understand what Chan is saying here. I've even felt the same way with my own three children. However, I never made a direct correlation between these realizations and my misconstrued perception of God. If anything, it was more about overcompensating for the mistakes my father made with me. For instance, my father was not one for saying, "I love you" and showing physical affection. I, on the other hand, tell my kids I love them at least 10 times a day and they have to tell me to stop with the hugs and kisses. So... I don't really buy it. It's just not that easy. And to take it a step farther, what does it mean for people that had lousy dads and then never had kids of their own? Or what about those people that had kids, only to realize that they didn't really want to be parents? Those people... they exist. I know people like this... and parenthood has not redeemed the misconception of God in their minds. Chan never opens that Pandora's Box. But, I will... or, at least, I can point those people where to go.

Everything goes back to Scripture. I get what Chan is saying, but the problem with his rationale is that it's really based on emotion. I get it...I do. The other night, my son was asleep in his bed and I crawled in next to him. Laying there, watching him sleep, I couldn't help but feel this overwhelming sense of adoration and love. I prayed over him. I thanked God for him. So, yes, I get it. But, that's a matter of the heart. And, for most, that might be all it takes to reconcile our conflicting thoughts. But, we live in a society of rational thinkers... okay, maybe not everyone, but you know what I mean! Issues are not resolved and decisions are not made with the heart. They're made with the head. And that's why we look to Scripture.

Two Scriptures come to mind: Colossians 3:21 and Ezekiel 18:20. I'm not going to tell you what they say. (That's your homework!) The first is a warning to parents. The latter is a reminder that parents and children are not held accountable for the sins of one another. And I'm sure there are many other Scriptures out there that speak to these relationships...and their disfunctions. But, they really don't speak about God...there are lots of other great Scriptures for that. So...if you want to use Chan's own parenting analogy as a rough guideline for understanding God's love for us, by all means go ahead. Just remember... and I'm sure most of you do... that there is no comparison!


Colossians 3:21 and Ezekiel 18:20... You know what to do.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

dad and DAD

As I mentioned in the last blog, Chan believes there are many reasons why we don't "receive, trust or see" God's love, citing that the reasons vary from person to person. For him, it was due to the relationship with his father. Chan explains that being wanted by his father was a foreign concept to him. He never carried on a meaningful conversation with his dad and, with only one exception, he experienced no phyical touch from his father, except for beatings. This relationship was boiled down to one single goal: not to annoy, or upset, his father. He goes on to say the following:

"The impact of this relationship affected me for years, and I think a lot of those emotions transferred to my relationship with God. For example, I tried hard not to annoy God with my sin or upset Him with my little problems. I had no aspirations of being wanted by God; I was just happy not to be hated or hurt by Him.
"Don't get me wrong. Not everything about my dad was bad. I really do thank God for him, because he taught me discipline, respect, fear and obedience. I also think he loved me. But I can't sugarcoat how my relationship with him negatively affected my view of God for many years." p. 55

"Soooo....Okay....(followed by a reflective, yet quizzical) Huh?" Those were the words that literally came out of my mouth when I first read this passage a few months ago. I have to admit that Chan almost lost me here. This concept takes me back to Psychology 101 in undergrad...a little too Freudian for me. But, the truth is that it hit a little too close to home.

My dad died 14 years ago...and I don't really think of him that much. To say we had a volatile relationship is an understatment. My father was an angry man and he could be physically violent...but he was a product of his own environment as a child. He had unrealistic expectations that I tried desperately to meet, but there were many times that I fell short. My father wasn't emotionally available and I ALWAYS felt that his love was conditional. I knew it wasn't, but I felt that it was...sound familiar? We're back to the "knowing vs. feeling" dilemma. Thankfully, we were able to mend our relationship when I was in college, but the lasting effects are always lingering in the crevices of my mind.

So, when I read this passage, it makes me a little sad...and a little angry. But, as with most things in life, I have a choice. I can wallow in the sadness and anger, allowing it to mold me into a bitter person, or... I can let it go. I've come to realize that letting go is really hard. Sometimes we hold on to these things, allowing them to define us. As horrible as it sounds, we find comfort in's just a lot easier. But, God doesn't want that for us. He wants us to define ourselves through our faith in Him. So, as I sit here and write, I realize... finally... that I have to just lay it down... the anger, the resentment, the bitterness and the sadness. Because, in the end, it isn't this dad that defines me. It's my other DAD.


Yeah...this could be a hard one for some of you. I totally get it. But, as much as I wanted to deny it, addressing this was so incredibly benefical to my growth. Spend some time thinking about your dad... your relationship with him and how it has positively and/or adversely affected your relationship with you other DAD.

His Faithful Servant~

Monday, May 24, 2010

"Jesus Loves Me... This I Know."

When I was a kid, I thought that knowing this song by heart was a requisite for being a Christian. Forget stepping in front of a church full of people and having some strange man dunk you under water. If you wanted to be in "The Club," you had to know this song. Of course, I didn't really understand what it meant... what 4-year-old does? It had a catchy tune and it was easy to remember, that's pretty much all you need at that age. But, unfortunately, we can't use that excuse at 34... or 44, or whatever your age is. If you're over the age of 18 (and even that's an arbitrary number), you're on the hook! Chan uses this song as an example of understanding God's love for him. He states:
"If you've spent any time in church, you've heard expressed, in some form or another, the idea that God loves us. I believed this for years because, as the song puts it, 'the Bible tells us so.' The only problem is that it was a concept I was taught, not something I implicitly know to be true. For years I 'got' God's love in my head, checked the right answer on the 'what God is like' test, but didn't fully understand it with my heart." p. 53
I touched on this in my last entry. Several of you emailed and asked if I could give you an example of "knowing" God's love for me and "feeling" his love for me. I've thought a lot about it today and I'm not sure if this is a fair comparison, but it's all have at the moment: When I think about love, I can't help but think about my husband. I "know" my husband loves me. He tells me he loves me... but simply saying the words "I love you" is not enough to bridge the gap between "knowing" and "feeling." I "feel" his love when he takes a moment out of his day to check in on me, or when he simply gives me a hug... just because.
Yesterday, at the most obscure time, I had this overwhelming sense of God's love. It's unexplainable to me... except for the fact that I'm pretty sure many of you have been praying for me to experience His love ever since my last post... and I am eternally grateful! I was cleaning out the dishwasher and for the briefest of moments... I felt it. Indescribable...but undeniable. What a HUGE step!
Over the next week, we will be looking at what Chan believes to be our greatest obstacles in accepting and understanding God's love for us. I'll warn you now that some of it might be a little difficult. It was for me the first time I read through it. Spend the next day asking God to prepare your heart for the journey you're about to take. We have to break down some walls before we can make any strides.
His Faithful Servant~

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Knowing God's Love

The title of Chapter 3 is Crazy Love...sound familiar? By his own definition, Chan describes Crazy Love as this insane, unfathomable, indescribable love that God has for us...and that we should have for Him. But, I think for so many of us, it's seemingly impossible to comprehend this kind of love. I dare say that many, if not most of us, have never experienced this type of least not in a tangible way. For me, I classify this as the love of movies and fairytales, not just makes for a really good story (and unrealistic expectations). But, when we're talking about God and His love for us, it's suppose to be real. The problem, for me, is that it doesn't feel that way...or maybe it's just that I have absolutely no idea how it's suppose to feel. But, here's the key...the most important thing: I know that God loves me...I don't deny that...I just don't feel it. I don't have a sense of it. I don't understand what His love looks like, feels like.

So...this is the focus of Chapter 3...trying to wrap our heads around what God's love looks like. Trying our best to understand His love. I had a conversation with someone recently, talking about this exact same topic. And as she often does, she shook her head at me, smirking, as if to say, "Oh, you silly girl. When are you going to get it?" When she finally did say something, it confirmed my suspicion. She tried to explain to me that we aren't meant to understand His love, we're just to except it. Well...that didn't go over well. I'll be honest and tell you that this really ticked me off. And I don't know that it was necessarily what she said (but I will admit that HOW she said it definitely didn't win me over!). It just seems, to me at least, that I'm getting a lot of this lately. I get that God is omnipotent and that we are not meant to understand Him...that we're not even capable of understanding Him. But, I don't accept that this gives us the right to live in ignorance. And I'm definitely not going to pretend that I feel like God loves me...pretending to "get it" is what got me into this mess in the first place.

I WANT to "get it." I want to feel God's love for me...even if it's for a fleeting moment. Knowing His love and feeling His love are two completely different things. And, honestly, I don't care what anyone says, I believe that He wants me to experience both...that He wants all of us to experience both. In Chapter 3, Chan really tries to help us figure out the possible obstacles that are inhibiting us from experiencing God's love...His Crazy Love.


It's time for another video. Check out the introduction to Chapter 3.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Closing Out Chapter Two

People always ask me: "Why are you such a big fan of Chan's?" Well, if you know me, the answer should be pretty obvious. I'm a very direct person. I don't sugar-coat my opinions and I have very little patience for those that "beat-around-the-bush," so to speak. Life is way too short. That's why I like Chan. He says things that most of us might be thinking, but would never dare say. There seems to be little fear, if any, of what others might think, because he understands the bigger picture. He cuts to the heart of the matter because there is little time to waste. His candor and honesty are refreshing...that's why I like him. I'm going to close out Chapter Two with passages from the end of the book.

"Sadly, many people die while living selfishly. Their funerals are filled by individuals who stretch the truth in order to create a semblance of a meaningful life. Nobody would dare say an unkind word at the funeral; there is an unspoken obligation to come up with something nice to say about the person who dies. But sometimes we secretly think the same thing:
He really wasn't that great of a person." p. 49's that for honesty? It's a little harsh...but, I don't doubt that there's some truth in these words. The only problem here; however, is the slippery slope we can often find ourselves on. We shouldn't base the meaning of our lives on what others will say about us when we are dead...because, then it's all about us again and not about God. (I'm starting to feel like a broken record: It's not about me! It's not about me!) But, the truth is that God isn't concerned with the subjective opinions of fickle men (and women). Chan goes on to say:

"When we face the holy God 'nice' isn't what we will be concerned with, and it definitely isn't what He will be thinking about. Any compliments you received on earth will be gone; all that will be left for you is truth." p. 50

So, this leaves me with Chan's final remarks in Chapter 2:

"A friend of mine has a particularly wise perspective on this subject. He was asked if he weren't spending too much of his time serving and giving too much away. His gentle but honest response was, 'I wonder if you'll say that after we're dead.' Friends, we need to stop living selfish lives, forgetful of our God." p.51


I know that thinking about our own demise is rather morbid, but that's what I want you to do. Specifically, think about what might be said about you at your funeral...but remember, it's not about the opinions of men. Will you be remembered as a follower of Christ? Do your ACTIONS bare witness to your faith?
I also want you to think about how you live your life...specifically questioning whether your actions are the result of the expectations of man...or of God. Be honest! The only way we're ever going to change is if we start being honest.

His Faithful Servant~


Monday, May 17, 2010

The Faith of a Child

Today we're going to take a look at the second story Chan shares with us. It's about a fourteen-year-old girl named Brook Bronkowski. Here's an excerpt from the book that gives a glimpse at how amazing this young lady was.

"When she was in junior high, she started a Bible study on her campus. She spent her babysitting money on Bibles so she could give them out to her unsaved friends. Youth pastors who heard about this brought her boxes of Bibles to give away." p. 47

Chan includes an incredible essay that was written by Brooke. In it, she poignantly declares,"You see, I'll be one of those people who will live to be history makers at a young age." p. 48

He goes on to explain that Brooke was killed in a car accident her freshman year of high school. Her memorial service was attended by nearly 1500 people. Some from her school read poems that Brooke had written about her love for God and "everyone spoke of her example and of her joy." Chan goes on to tell that he shared the gospel that day, inviting those that wanted to know Jesus to give their lives to Him. At least two hundred students gave their lives to Christ that day and each of them was given a of the Bibles that Brooke was hoping to give to her unsaved friends.

When I first read this passage, I thought about kids I personally know that have a tenacious love for God, just like Brooke. There seems to be this obvious anointing upon their lives and an undescribable love for God. It's infectious...and I dare say, it's not learned. I even have one of those kids myself. My middle child has this AMAZING sense of who God is...more importantly, he understands His rightful place in our lives. The other night, we sat down for dinner and forgot to pray. Our son quickly scolded us and told us to grab hands. He then lead us in prayer, which went like this (I kid you not!): Dear God, Thank you for God and Jesus. I love God and Jesus. Thank you for my mom, dad and sisters and this food. I love you, God. Amen." My husband I were snickering throughout the whole prayer...but for two completely different reasons. I was laughing because I think it's so cool that my son loves Jesus as much as he does. My husband was laughing because he can't believe that one of his kids could be so demonstrative in their love for Christ. Either way, we were blown away by the experience.

But, that night, it left me thinking about my love for God. I'll be honest and admit that I was a little envious...of my five-year-old. I know, it's pretty pathetic...but it's also pretty incredible. That night, I prayed that God would allow my family to whole-heartedly follow my son's lead on this. He gives such a great example..not perfect, mind you, but his love is honest and genuine...and undeniable. Even in his mistakes, my son's first response is to think about Jesus and what He would say about his poor choices. Think about how our lives would be different if this was our first response.


No homework today! Mostly because I'm neck deep in my own homework with Youth Mission Challenge and I'm having a really hard time thinking straight at this point. So...maybe, if you're really wanting an assignment ;) could pray for me! The next blog will be the last one for Chapter 2. We've been at this for almost two months. I truly hope God is revealing Himself to you in amazing ways. He's definitely at work in me!

His Faithful Servant~


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Overtaken by God

Towards the end of Chapter Two, Chan shares two stories. Here's part of the first one:

"As a pastor, I'm often called upon when life 'vanishes like a mist.' One of the most powerful examples I've seen of this is Stan Gerlach, a successful businessman who was well known in the community. Stan was giving a eulogy at a memorial service when he decided to share the gospel. At the end of the message, Stan told the mourners, 'You never know when God is going to take your life. At that moment, there is nothing you can do about it. Are you ready?' Then Stan sat down, fell over and died." p. 46.

Even as I sit here at my computer, I can't help but ask myself if I'm ready. I don't even know if I really understand what that means. Later on, Chan talked about an interaction between him and one of Stan's sons. His son asked Chan, 'Did you hear the story? Did you hear? I'm so proud of him. My dad died doing what he loved doing most. He was telling people about Jesus." p. 46.

If I'm really honest, I'll tell you that I'm sitting here crying as I read (and type) this. I hear stories like this and feel two conflicting emotions. I'm joyful...knowing that there are people out there, telling others about Jesus...but at the same time, I'm so incredibly sad that I'm not one of them. It's not that I don't talk about Jesus, I do...but not the way Stan did. For so long, I have struggled to know God. I have felt so distant...estranged, which leads to frustration and anger...not towards Him, it's all directed towards me. I ask myself questions like: What's wrong with me? Why don't I get it? What do I have to do to get closer to God? As hard as I try, in the end, I just feel like I'm treading water...waiting to be overtaken.

So, where does that leave I fervently believe that the only thing God wants to overtake us is His Holy Spirit. And, in the end, I have to trust...I guess it always comes back to trusting Him. I just wish that I knew, for the love of God, why it's so hard. For so long, I thought that if I went through the motions of being a "Good Christian," then I would become one..if I could outwardly love God then maybe, just maybe, I could learn how to truly love Him, with all of my heart, as much as I desperately want to. But, what I am painfully aware of...and what I've honestly known all that my heart has to be surrendered first. When that happens, everything else falls into place.


Today, I want you to listen to some music. For me, music is such a HUGE part of who I am. In fact, just this week I got stuck on something, a mental block...if you will, so I sat at the piano for about 30 minutes, just playing. There are times when I have a hard time expressing myself (I know some of you might find that hard to believe!). Music helps. This first song is what I was listening to while I wrote today's probably explains my fear a little fear of not truly finding that closeness to God that I'm in such desperate need of. It's a little melancholy... and it BY NO MEANS represents my mood... just my frustration with not "getting it":

The second song is an AMAZING song! I'm hoping that we'll sing it at church one day. I think it speaks to what every Christian wants when it comes to our relationship with God.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Living in Fear or Living for God

Do you ever spend time thinking about how fragile life is? I've been doing that a lot lately. Recently, a young man was killed in an automobile accident near our town. He was a senior in highschool, on his way to prom. In an instant, without warning, his life was lost. For me, it's led to a series of questions about what our time here, on Earth, is really about. And, more importantly, how to live out the remainder of that time, acknowledging the fragile nature of our existence. Here's Chan's take on the issue:

"Isn't life always fragile? It is never under control...Isn't the easiest thing at this point to start living in a guarded, safe, controlled way? To stop taking risks and to be ruled by our fears of what could happen? Turning inward is one way to respond; the other is to acknowledge our lack of control and reach out for God's help. If life were stable, I'd never need God's help. Since it's not, I reach out for Him regularly. I am thankful for the unknowns and that I don't have control, because it makes me run to God." p. 45.

For me, the thought of living the safest life possible is almost suffocating. I have an adventurous spirit. I want to try new things and go to new places...but that's really hard to do when you're deathly afraid of flying...which I am. But here's the thing, if I let my fear of flying keep me from doing the things I really want to I really experiencing life and all it has to offer? I truly believe that God blessed me with an incredible sense of adventure. He placed in me a desire to see the world and show my kids all that it has to offer, the good and the bad. But, would God create me with an insatiable desire to do these things, knowing that my fear could forever prevent me from living the life I was created to live?


God didn't create the fear...He created the desire. The fear is my choice. I can choose to live in a house there, raise my kids there..."safe," but fearful. People choose this ALL THE TIME! I'd even argue that we could live a "content" life being fearful...not stepping out of our comfort zone...not living by faith. When our lives come to an end and we look back on all that we have done...what will we see? I want my choices in life to be dictated by my desire to pursue God...NOT by my willingness to hide in fear...because choosing fear is acknowledging that we don't trust God.
I've come to realize that trusting God IS the adventure.


So, what fears are dictating your life at this moment? Take some time to think about how these fears indicate a lack of trust in God. In your quiet time, ask God to help you in these areas of your life. I also want you to watch the Balance Beam video again. It fits perfectly here...and we can all use the reminder!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Totally Obsessed With God?

In the book, Chan says the following:

"Maybe life's pretty good for you right now. God has given you this good stuff so that you can show the world a person who enjoys blessings, but who is still totally obsessed with God." p. 44

Well, now...that would be really great...if it were only true. For me, and I will only speak for myself, my life is really good. I have a roof over my head. My family is healthy. There is food on my table. But, when I compare the life I live, especially to those of the children I met in Nicaragua, I am nothing but ashamed. Ashamed of what I have, how I live...and how much I take the blessings of God for granted. But, most of all, ashamed to admit that I am not totally obsessed with God.

So, this prompts the question: What does it look like to be totally obsessed with God. I have to laugh because this question makes me think of my eldest child. She's one of those kids that doesn't drop anything. For instance, a few weeks ago, we watched the movie Lord of the Rings as a family. Afterwards, she ran upstairs and got the book off of her shelf, incessantly skimming the pages until bedtime. The next morning, all she could talk about was the movie, asking us endless questions about the trilogy. Finally, I had reached my level of tolerance and very calmly placed my hand on hers. I looked at her as sternly as I could...which wasn't very menacing because I could barely contain my laughter...and said, "Stop...obsessing." Her quizzical look indicated that she had absolutely no understanding of what I just said. So, my husband, trying not to undermine my unraveling authority with his laughter, said, "All you have done is eat, sleep and breathe Lord of the Rings. You need to take a break." She didn't understand the "eat, sleep and breathe" reference, which she asked me to explain later, but she did understand the word "break" and, thankfully, she took one.

So, I'm left wondering if my husband's interpretation is accurate...and if it is, how would it look to be obsessed with God?

There isn't just one answer for this...there are as many answers as there are people. For each of us, the first step is to think about a time when we have been obsessed over something...a situation in our lives, a new child, a new love...something that was impossible to "eat, sleep and breathe" without. What is it like to obsess about something to the point that we can't breathe without thinking of it...really try to sink your teeth into that. It might be unrealistic, but I'm willing to bet that each of us have experienced that level of obsession for something, at one point in our lives, even if it was for a fleeting moment.


You already know what the assignment is: Think about a time in your life when you obsessed about something...good or bad. How much time did you spend thinking about your obsession? Now, try thinking about God that much. Give yourself a limit, if that helps. Start with 10 or 15 minutes...don't talk to Him....just think about Him. Take a walk outside if you can. There are hundreds of ways to marvel at God but, sometimes, it helps when you're surrounded by His creation!

His Faithful Servant~

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Glorifiying God in ALL We Do.

I have a dear friend that uses the word "seasons" to describe the 'Ups and Downs' of life. When things seem to be getting me down, she'll encouragingly say, "It's just a season. It'll pass." And, she's right. But, for me, the problem isn't the ebb and flow of my "seasons"; it's that I don't glorify God consistently, the way I should, no matter the season....whether it be a season of joy, one of restlessness, or even one of sorrow. Glorifiying God during a season of joy is pretty easy. Most of us are thankful for the blessings that bring joy and we eagerly give our offering of thanks. But, what about when times aren't so joyful? When we lose a job? When a marriage unexpectably ends? When a loved one dies? What does it look like to glorify God during those times of sorrow and uncertainty?

Chan addresses this with the following:

"...[M]aybe life is tough right now, and everything feels like a struggle. God has allowed hard things in your life so you can show the world that your God is great and that knowing Him brings peace and joy, even when life is hard." p. 44

When I read this, I can't help but think about Jesus. He is the consummate role model when it comes to exemplifying the glory of God at the darkest of moments. And, maybe this goes back to the whole..."life isn't about you" argument. You see, we live in this world that is keenly crafted by the media. We can thank Disney (whom I'm a BIG fan of) for creating this unrealistic notion that young ladies will fall in love with a complete stranger at the age of sixteen, get married and live happily-ever-after. Or, the myriad of movies out there that have conditioned us to believe that in the end, all things will work out for the long as "the best" means the hero doesn't die, the main characters fall in love and they, again, ride off into the sunset...happily-ever-after. There aren't a lot of movies out there that portray the truth of life...that it can be really difficult...that we don't always get the fairy-tale leaset, not here.

Think about all that Jesus faced: mockery, persecution, physical violence, death. In all those horrible circumstances, he glorified God...without exception. He never once asked, "Why me?" or "Why this?" What I find so utterly humiliating is that WE constantly ask those questions when in actuality, our trials aren't remotely worthy of comparison. Christ IS the model that we're to follow.
I want to close with this directive from Chan:

"To be brutally honest, it doesn't really matter what place you find yourself in right now. Your part is to bring Him glory-whether eating a sandwich on a lunch break, drinking coffee at 12:04 a.m. so you can stay awake to study, or watching your four-month-old take a nap. The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His. It is His movie, His world, His gift." p. 45


Spend the next 48 hours trying your best to glorify God in all that you your attitude and your actions. You have no idea who'll be watching...waiting...for your reaction: a neighbor, a co-worker, a spouse, a child. Make the most of EVERY opportunity to glorify God. Also, check out this video. It's short, but thought provoking.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Finally Done!

So...Thanks to some great accountablilty partners (you know who you are!), I have FINALLY finished sorting all of my clothes. I went through my closet and eliminated 157 articles of clothing. And here's the proof. Last night, the missions team from Nicaragua got together for a potluck dinner at The Root Cellar. This is a great organization that serves the Portland area. You might remember me mentioning them in one of my earlier postings. They graciously gave us clothes to give to the boys and girls during camp. So, I donated 7 bags of my clothing to The Root Cellar. The rest of the clothes will be dropped off at a local consignment shop this week and any money I receive will be going to our church's upcoming move.

We're going to divert from the book a little today. Posting this update is important, for accountabilities sake. Also, I want to share with you what is going on in my life...which is appropriate given the topic of worry and stress.

Some of you know that my husband's job is coming to an end in one week. He was hired under a two-year contract. Now, as the two years come to an end, we are left wondering, "What's next?" For us, the answer is obvious; however, many think that our decision is crazy. You see, my husband and I are going to switch roles for a few weeks...maybe longer. He's going to stay at home with the kids (and tackle homeschooling!), while I go to work. Now, this might not seem like such an insane proposition, until I tell you that I'm NOT getting paid for the work I'll be doing. You see, I'm spending the next three weeks working full-time on Youth Mission Challenge...getting it ready for it's unofficial launch in June.

We have absolutely no idea what will happen after those three weeks. As of right now, my husband has no official leads. We have no idea what's in store for us. Many look at our situation and openly question, not only our sanity, but their ability to handle such "uncertain" circumstances, if our roles were reversed. What's so ironic, however, is that I have such complete peace about the situation. Something, I never would have thought possible a few years ago. There is an UNDENIABLE peace that comes when we trust God's will. Worry and stress can bear no stronghold on our minds, when we completely trust Him. I wish I could impart to you the profound peace that I feel. I wish I had trusted Him sooner...on other aspects of my life.


Think about those areas of your life where stress and worry have weasled their way in. See them for what they are: unbelief that God is in control. In your quiet time the next couple of days, give them over to God. I promise that He doesn't want you carrying that burden. It's yours to give it to Him.

In the Movie of Life, You are NOT the Star!

Today's posting will pick up where Saturday's left off. The last quote from Chan had him asking why we're so quick to forget God. Followed up by the bold question of "Who do we think we are?" He goes on to say:

"I find myself relearning this lesson often. Even though I glimpse God's holiness, I am still dumb enough to forget that life is all about God and not about me at all. It goes sort of like this...Suppose you are an extra in an upcoming movie. You will probably scrutinize that one scene when hundreds of people are milling around, just waiting for that two-fifths of a second when you can see the back of your head. Maybe your mom and your best friend get excited about that two-fifths of a second with you...maybe. But no one else will realize that it's you. Even if you tell them, they won't care." p. 42

I get what Chan is saying here, and I don't really disagree with him. I just think there's a conflicting concept that needs to be reconciled and he doesn't really approach the subject...So, I guess that I will.

I get that "THE MOVIE" Chan's referring to is all about God...from the creation of time to where we are at this precise moment. And, yes, in that context, our two-fifths of a second is nothing, definitely not worthy of a starring role credit. But, how do we reconcile this "insignificance" with what scripture says...that God knew us before we were born, that each of us was created for a specific purpose? If that is true, then we are not insignificant...granted, this doesn't merit starring role credentials, but hang with me.

Chan specifically states, "I'm still dumb enough to forget that life is all about God and not about me at all." My hang-up here is with the word all. That word, all, could apply to every human being throughout the existence of time. If none of us were of any significance, what kind of movie would that be? When would we see God glorified? How would we see examples of redemption? How and why would miracles exist? I will concede that our "role" in the movie will only last two-fifths of a second, if that. BUT, if we do our jobs right, if we glorify God in all we do, even if it's for that fractional moment in time, then our significance is justified. Without a doubt, God is the star, but we have an important part to play as well.

Here are some closing words from Chan on the subject:

"We have only our two-fifths-of-a-second-long scene to live. I don't know about you, but I want my two-fifths of a second to be about my making much of God. First Corinthians 10:31 says, 'So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.' That is what each of our two-fifths of a second is about. So what does that mean to you? Frankly, you need to get over yourself. It might sound harsh, but that's seriously what it means." p. 44


What will your two-fifths of a second look like? Today, I'd like you to watch this video. You'll hear of several examples of what this looks like to other people. However, what I really want you to focus on is the last 2 minutes of the video. How does it make you feel? More importantly, does it make you want to change anything you're currently going?