Archive for December, 2009

I-D-L-E

I was reading in 2 Thessalonians this morning when this scripture stuck out to me:

“Stay away from all believers who live idle lives…”

The word that struck me was idle.

We hear all the time to stay away from sin, and remove sin from our lives: “Don’t do this, this, this, or this.” But what about the sin of not doing anything?

Idle–(Adjective) Not working or active. Habitually doing nothing or avoiding work; lazy.

Out of all my 23 years of living I’m convinced the enemy’s greatest strategy on the believer is not to lure us into sin, but to keep us from moving at all. As believers, we know about sin. We are well versed in how to confess it, renounce it, stay away from those who live in it and walk blameless lives living under the grace of our Savior, thinking we’ve made it. But deception still lurks in dark corners, keeping us blind to our inactive behavior.

Being a beliver doesn’t just mean we’re forgiven of our sins. Being a believer should mean we’ve surrendered to a glorious relationship that is so wonderful we can’t help but remain active in our excitement. But unfortunately that is not the case for so many of us. I feel as if Christianity has been reduced to a “get-out-of-hell-free” card. We accept Christ’s salvation and then that’s it, like a pail of water sitting stagnant all summer long, stinky, unmoving, ineffective.

I’m guilty of this myself. The reason the scripture above stuck out to me was because it hit me square in the face. I’ve become idle. I’ve allowed the deception to blind me, thinking that if I just don’t sin than I’m a good Christian. But my prayer for myself and others who may see themselves in this is that we won’t allow laziness to to creep into our walk with Christ. That we will allow our fervor and love for Christ to move us forward, not in legalistic duty, but in passionate desire to please our God.

The Kindness of a Stranger

Oh, Mondays! The day when half of you is still stuck in the weekend. When you’re really only half focused at work and your boss doesn’t care, because he’s feeling the same way too.

Well, while you’re getting yourself situated, and maybe pouring that second cup of coffee, let me tell you about what happened over my weekend. This is the story of all stories!

It all started when my husband went to let the dog in. Usually, our little miniature Schnauzer is chomping at the bit to get inside, but this particular time he didn’t come crashing through the door once it opened. He didn’t come when we called him either. My husband looked at me sort of funny, (I imagine he was thinking about yesterday when our dog, Titus, got into the chocolate chips. I could just hear his thoughts as he looked at me. Maybe the chocolate killed him.

Grabbing a flashlight my husband cautiously stepped outside. He looked all around the sad excuse we call our backyard, but no Titus. I got involved at that point, because we all know women are better lookers than men… I looked around, in the back and in the front, calling his name, but nothing happened. No bark, no whimper, no Titus.

So we got in the car and for the next 45 minutes we went searching for our little lost puppy. Driving up and down each street, winding through near by stores and parking lots, calling his name and shining a flashlight in the dark corners all we found were three cats and two kids making out in their car. (We didn’t really find two kids making out, but it makes the story sound better.)

Now, not being a pet “lover” I wasn’t too concerned. My rational thought was: He’ll show up sooner or later… let’s just wait till tomorrow and see if he comes back. But my husband had other plans.

“Let’s make signs.”

See, my husband is usually the calm, rational one, completely in control (he would even say void of) emotion. Where I tend to be the dramatic. Emotion is my middle name. This time however, our usual roles were reversed.

He paced the floor while I made the sign, calling on my mother-in-law for a good picture of Titus. Why does she have the best picture of Titus? Because she’s a dog lover. Which should’ve been my first clue to NOT tell her that Titus was missing. When we called her back to ask if we could come print the flyers at her house, it was evident she had been crying. Now, here’s where a funny comparison comes in: I called MY mother to tell her our little dog was gone and what does she do? NOTHING. She didn’t even answer. Didn’t even call me back!

We picked up the flyers and they looked pretty good:

Lost Dog

So we go to hang them up, using one of those handy dandy staple guns. We got the first one up, drove until we saw another light post and went to hang the second one. But before we could get the second sign hung we saw this:

Found

Does anything about this sign strike you as odd?

“That’s our dog! That’s our dog!” This excited exclamation came from… me. Back to our usual behaviors.

My husband called the number and a sweet old man answered. We gave a description of Titus and confirmed that he had found him just that afternoon. We drove to his house, just a few blocks away, and picked up our little puppy. The kindness of a stranger saved the day and my husband was back to his normal, composed self, with a little smile tugging at the corners.

The Goal of Student Ministry

Below is a letter a student gave me a couple weeks back. I shared it with our adult leaders last night, showing all of us that this should be our goal for each student:

I am found and loved.

Always known by God.

And there is somebody to tell me it’s okay and to give me a hug.

And there is somebody who is here for me and cares about how I feel and God is that somebody.

I feel free to tell anyone what I feel. I know I have the strength to make it through the hard times in life.

I am quickly fading from who I used to be to the person I should be.

I am happy to have been born and having a chance to live a life.

And I could cry my heart out and I would have a shoulder to lean on.

(Student, 9th grade.)

“Rhythm”

Check out this video from “Stomp.” We’re talking about “Rhythm” at SWITCH tomorrow night. Are you in Rhythm with God?

Polar Bear Plunge in Minnesota

Polar BearHave you heard that annoying commercial on the radio about Christmas traditions? Ya knooo, the one where tha lady is talkin’ about the Polar Bear Plunge in Minnesooooota? Yeah, that one.

Well, it got me thinking, this will be Cody’s and my first Christmas as a married couple and I want to start a few family traditions. They probably won’t include polar bear plunging, but I’ve gotten a few ideas. 

I wanted to see if you could come up with anything we could start doing, or share some of your own family traditions.

So leave a comment and pass this along to your freinds by clicking that green Twitter button right over there————–>so they can share too!

Friday’s Free Fitness Fact

FitnessI got this message from a friend on facebook… There are many women who feel the same:

I’ve had two kids one is just 3 mos and I’m just so unhappy with my stomach and my hips and I just want to tone up a bit, I’m very limited on time and can’t afford a gym membership at all. I haaaate walking outside so much but we own a very nice treadmill. So I was wondering if you had any suggestions of what I could start with to work on my stomach and hips?

My suggestion:

  • START DOING SOMETHING.

Something is always better than nothing. You have a treadmill, or piece of exercise equipment, USE IT! Put it on a high incline and walk hard for five minutes. Squats are great for working hips and thighs. Do ten squats any time you get a free minute. You can even do squats while holding your little one.

A lot of people think they can’t work out because they don’t have an hour to spare. Don’t buy into that lie. Even if you’re doing five or ten minutes several times throughout the day, chances are that is more than you’re doing now. Just start!

Well, gotta run and pay my visit to the gym! What about you?

Circus Elephants Help Us Overcome Lies

circus-elephantI read this illustration in a book, so the credit cannot go to me. I think this principal is so important when it comes to overcoming lies and walking in truth:

“When young, {elephants} are attached by heavy chains to large stakes driven deep into the ground. They pull and yank and strain and struggle, but the chain is too strong, the stake too rooted. One day they give up, having learned that they cannot pull free, and from that day forward they can be “chained” with a slender rope. When this enormous animal feels any resistance, though it has the strength to pull the whole circus tent over, it stops trying. Because it believes it cannot, it cannot. “

This is the perfect illustration when it comes to believing lies. Though I would never compare anyone to an elephant, fearing they might take it the wrong way, so many of us are just like them! We believe a lie long enough that eventually we stop trying to break free. We give up, thinking “This is just the way my life is going to be.”

But I want us to understand the truth that we have the power to break free from the “chains” and “stakes” that are holding us down. With the Holy Spirit at work in our lives we have every power and authority to break the holds that are keeping us from moving forward.

So, ask yourself: What lies have I given up fighting against? What truths do I need to remind myself of, so that I do not end up like the elephant?

How to Most Effectively Influence Others

I was never good at math. Writing was always my better subject. But recently I’ve been thinking about compound interest.

The equation for compound interest is: P = C(1+ r/n)ntWhere:    P = future value    C = initial deposit    r = interest rate (expressed as a fraction: eg. 0.06 for 6%)    n = # of times per year interest is compounded    t = number of years invested

Get it, right? Ok, so maybe that is a little hard to understand. (Except for you really smart weirdos…)

Here is a better definition:

Compound interest is interest earned not only on an original investment, but on its accrued earnings as well.

So I started to think about ministry and leadership, and saw that not only can you compound INTEREST, but you can also compound INFLUENCE. God freed me from the thought that I had to lead, develop and pour into every person that came my way. He taught me how to compound my influence to be the most effective.

For me, since I work in student ministry, I started with a few adult leaders to pour my time into. A small group of  high-impact volunteers– those people volunteering who have the ministry instincts that others just don’t. They usually have great people skills and lead out of a natural ability. Second we started meeting with these leaders once a week, or twice a month to develop, cast vision, and give away leadership responsibilities. As they started to lead we saw our influence compound. Instead of directly leading 60 to 75 adult volunteers, we only lead 5 to 6. Which in turn lead teams of 10 to 12.

But what if you don’t work in ministry? What if you’re a mom? Think about your children as your little group of influencers. If you take the time, energy and intentionality to develop them into who God has made them to be, think about the compounded influence you will create. My parents had 7 children, and each of us has answered our own specific callings in life. My parents may not be directly influencing the people in our sphere, but because of their love, support and training, they are indirectly effecting hundreds if not thousands of individuals through the compounded influence of their children.

What about school teachers? You may never know how the life lessons, love., and acceptance you show to your class will effect them for the future.

What is your position in life? Everyone can influence someone. How can you compound your influence to be the most effective?

Are You Leaky?

LeakyAs we continue the talk of overcoming insecurity I have to make a statement.

Some of the women I meet with about the issue of overcoming insecurity think that once they’ve reached freedom, they’ve arrived. Once they’ve tasted what life is like without worrying what others think of them, or without believing the lies of the enemy than, in essence, they’re done. So they stop doing the things they did to get out of the pit of insecurity, thinking that the freedom they have found will carry them the rest of the way. But the sad truth is: we’re leaky. We forget the words that set us free, the truths that made us whole, and we slip, ever so slowly, back into our old habits and our old way of thinking. I want to give us a thought to remember when it comes to the continuity of overcoming insecurity.

Overcoming insecurity is NOT a destination we arrive at… it is an everyday journey, a daily practice of renewing our minds and thoughts.

Like any other sin, addiction, or struggle we want to overcome, we must continually pursue a life-style out of insecurity. This means different things for different people, but here are four things you can do when you feel yourself slipping back into those old self-degrading thoughts.

1. Check your God time–Inevitably, when we start to feel great about ourselves and who we are sometimes God gets the shaft! Make sure time with the Lord is at the highest priority. Otherwise it is a lot easier for those negative thoughts to find their way inside the mind.

2. Make others the focus–Remember, insecurity is a selfish sin. Continue to overcome it by focusing your thoughts and attention on others!

3. Don’t dwell on the negative–Insecurity is fueled by negative thinking. When you catch yourself popping a squat in the murky waters of negativity it’s time to give yourself a mental shake!

4. Truth trumps all–Remember that truth is truth no matter who believes it… might as well believe it!

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