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Friday, October 17, 2008

Being good and obedience are not the same thing

God used a kid in my classroom to talk to me today. This particular child is always in trouble for disobedience. Today for example: I say, "sit down, pick up your pencil, it's time for your spelling test." He cleans up the marker board center instead. Very nice....but not obedient. Another day he dawdled lining up for P.E. I finally left him since it is illegal to drag a child down the hall by his ear. When I came back, he had placed every student's backpack on their desk. Very kind thought....but not obedient. This is an eternal battle with this child.

So God said to me today, "Look at him. Being good and obedience are not the same thing." I thought about that long and hard. I think I often make good choices, seek to do nice things for other people, try to be righteous. But sometimes all the good that I'm doing keeps me from having the time and energy to be obedient. Sometimes God is asking me to do something and I am too busy doing a good thing to obey. So that's my thought for the day....I want to seek obedience more than goodness. Sometimes what I think is the best choice is not what God thinks is best.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I want to see

Matthew 20:29-34 Two blind men were begging beside the road. They heard a large procession coming. When they were told it was Jesus they began to yell out for Jesus to have mercy on them. vs. 32, "Jesus stopped and called over, 'What do you want from me?' They said, 'Master, we want our eyes opened. We want to see!' Deeply moved, Jesus touched their eyes. They had their sight back that very instant, and joined the procession."

I am so blind. It seems that I often stumble through life without paying attention to where I'm going, or that I miss out on where God is headed until He's already moved on without me. But I love the attitude of the blind men. They pleaded with Jesus for mercy until he heard them and stopped. That's where I want to live my life...pleading with God for mercy and seeking God's hand in my life and not giving up until he stops and lets me join him. "Deeply moved, Jesus touched their eyes." Isn't it awesome that Jesus is deeply moved when we want him and are seeking him and when we are in need and are burdened! Then the healed guys joined the procession that was following Jesus. That's my prayer. That I will be able to see where God is headed so that I can follow along closely behind. I don't want to be blind and miss it.

A random blurb or two:
James, now in middle school is cracking me up. I was hanging out with him this afternoon listening to him tell me all about band. He's learning to play the sax. Definite progress there! But what was really funny was listening to the rivalry between the clarinets and the saxes. He was telling me that their class is called the trucks and the mice. Because the saxes are big and loud and the clarinets sound like squeaky mice. Then he was talking about a boy, and said with slight disdain, "He's my friend, even though he plays the clarinet."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Where'd last night's blog go?

I noticed that my blog from last night did not upload. Not sure why. Maybe for the best. I was just praying really hard for several of my friends with heavy burdens who are in deep crisis. I was even intentionally vague so that identities would remain secret. However, must have been that God wanted those prayers to be just between me and Him. But you might want to know...very of my friends that I was praying for got a very unexpected and incredible relief from her crisis early this morning. She said today that it was as if a car had been lifted off her chest. Another friend has a pretty clear answer about her future as well. So apparently God answered some of the prayers, even though they didn't make the blog for you to pray along with me.

Spiritual moment: Matthew 20:17-28. Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem when James and John's mom waylaid him. Imagining him to soon be king, she tries to secure her sons a place in Jesus's kingdom. I've met moms like that. The ones that push their children and try to finagle favors for them. Jesus talked to her about kingdom priorities...that being great means becoming small....and that Jesus came to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage. I was thinking about what a good description this is of life. Held hostage....and then Jesus makes us free. That's pretty stinkin' awesome! Sometimes I forget that I've been set free. I wander in darkness as if I am still a hostage to sin. It seems to be a learned behavior to walk every day like I've been set free.

Random blurbs about life: While I was freaking out about my flu shot today, I was reconsidering getting a tattoo. I have my design picked out, planning to get inked maybe for my birthday, but I really don't like needles and I don't do pain. I don't even tweeze my eyebrows 'cuz it hurts.

What do you buy your wife who's not very girly, but who's a facebook junkie and a bloggin' fool? high-speed internet and unlimited texting. Major brownie points for the husband! After I sent out a mass message that my texting is back, I had over 30 messages in my inbox in about an hour. So excited to be reconnected to the world. Seriously...having to have real conversations with people....what's up with that?

Too bad about the missing was a very spiritual moment.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Couple more things from Worship Leader

Here's a couple more things I enjoyed from the September Worship Leader...not too cheesy.

song story "God of This City"

In our pre-launch phase of church planting, "God of This City" sort of became our theme song. Shawn heard it at a church planting conference and was moved as the names of the cities across the U.S. where church plants were starting up this year scrolled across the screen. We've used it many times over the last year, but I was very moved when I read the story of its origins.

It would seem that it originated with a band called Bluetree out of Belfast. This group was on mission in Thailand, in a city famous for being the most famous sex-tourist destination on the planet. The band, in looking for venues to play, had an open door at a bar. "The Climax Bar" can imagine what was sold there. As the band played a worship set and began praying over their location, and the neediness of the city, Aaron Boyd was moved to sing a new song on the spot, "You're the God of this city, You're the King of these people, You're the Lord of this nation, You Are."

Gives new perspective to the lyrics, huh? God is indeed God of that city, and my city, and your city. He desires to be King of us matter what our lifestyles.

Other article I was interested in: "Jonathan Stockstill, Catching the Gravity of Worship."

This was an interview with Jonathan Stockstill, front for Deluge Band. Here's what caught my attention. It's like God is saying the same stuff to him that he's been saying to me. "We tend to wander through different church growth strategies, without asking, what does God want us to do? If Jesus were here and was the pastor of this church, what would it look like? What would it be, you know? So many ministries can do church without God. They have marketing teams that have huge churches. They just pat themselves on the back and think it's amazing, but what they are doing hasn't required God's help to get there. It's just a huge social club. Just look at Oprah." "It's like we feel the need to build our own kingdoms within the kingdom. And it's good for us to dream, but it's easy to get caught trying to build our own dominions, instead of realizing we're just a part of the kingdom." This is what I've been saying, right? It's not about a's about Jesus. It is easy to stumble off into doing ministry in our own strength and wisdom, harder to walk in humility and surrender. Doing ministry in my own strength is not incredible and amazing. It is only in seeing what God can do that there is any awe.

Then here's this, "I think a lot of the time what we think is holiness is really purity. Holiness is what you do. It's not what you don't do....Holiness is the pursuit of God....Look at the Pharisees. They were always talking about abstaining. But they weren't holy." I pondered on this a lot today. About the difference between holiness and purity. I had never considered the difference in the two terms, but I think the kid may be right.

We focus hard on purity as a church. Don't........whatever. The rules are mind - boggling and discouraging. I can never manage to keep up with them all. I think purity is certainly a component of holiness. I do think that when we are living in purity, it is easier to find God than when we are swallowed up in deliberate sin. However, I think that as believers we seem to rarely move beyond the quest for purity. Holiness...the quest for God and being intimately connected with Him is a journey that I found on my own. It is a walk that is more about discovering God's character and living a life of obedience and love and seeking God's face than about all the "nots". When I focus on holiness, it seems that purity follows close behind. When I am intimately seeking God's face, and I am consumed with hunger and passion and desire for Him, I am not as interested in sin. It is when I am doing ministry in my own ability and being full of myself and focusing on other "stuff", instead of my God - relationship, that sin easily entangles me. It's like walking into a cobweb in the dark. Surprisingly sticky and hard to get out of.

That's my take on the September issue of Worship Leader. A little better than the August issue. I may even attempt to read the October issue that's been thrown under my bed since it arrived a couple of weeks ago. There were even a couple of "decent" songs on the CD. It was cool to see an old friend show up on the Song Discovery CD. Way to go Matt!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Monday Morning Updates

It was an awesome day at the Crossroads. God moved among his people and it was beautiful to see. Worship was awesome. I'm really diggin' playing with the band. We're going to miss Grrr - the bass player - he's leaving on Monday for the Air Force. I am praying hard that God will raise up the musicians that he needs for the band. That our needs will be met in the perfect way and at the perfect time. He has certainly done a great job so far. Hello - have you met worship dude? And then God pulling Jake back into the band has really firmed things up....and we've got this kid, Connor, playing electric, that has unbelievable raw talent....and Landon is really slammin' on the drums....and we've got these beautiful back-up babes for vocals. I am also praying for some other big stuff with music.'s a secret! Can't wait to see how God does on answering!

Loved the sermon! In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day is one of my all time favorite books. I am so pumped about this sermon series. It will be exciting to see how God changes lives. I am certainly ready to chase a lion....I just need to know which lion to chase. Of course, I do tend to get distracted easily when the pastor wears shorts. He has really awesome legs. I think he wears shorts just to flirt with me. (for those of you who don't know, I'm married to the pastor....not making inappropriate comments about just any minister) He did wear tennis at least he did not have on his flip-flops, or I would not have been able to pay attention at all. Seriously are doing an amazing job at this church planting thing. Wow!

We had a picnic at the new park in town after church. That was cool - to hang out with old friends and a couple of new friends. I'm praying hard for our house to sell so we can get into Anna and have Bible study in our home. I think it is a critical need for plugging people into the community of believers.

To all my friends from the Crossroads - thanks for such a great experience. When we first started to dream big dreams, my dreams were not even this good. God is already doing bigger and better things than I had planned. I can't imagine better people to serve God with, and I am so excited about where God is taking us. I am blessed to call you all family.

Happy Monday.