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Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Hike

We ventured out on our first journey group hike today. Several friends from the Crossroads joined us on the Cross Timbers trail up north of Whitesboro. People hike for a variety of reasons. Some people enjoy the exercise. Others love the outdoors. A few hike because it's cool. But for me, hiking is a profoundly spiritual experience.

I have not had the opportunity to hike often in the last three years because of our toddler, Abby. She is just now big enough to walk very far without whining. Today she made a little over a mile before she wanted to be carried. That's pretty good for a short dayhike now and then.

Finding my hiking boots was a chore this morning. It's been such a long time since I needed them. I think the last time was some kind of safari theme day at school. As I slipped them on and worked the laces into the various loops and twists that I have to do for the ideal fit, I noticed that they felt stiff. It's been such a long time since I used them that they felt weird on my feet. It can be that way with God....when I get out of the habit of spending time with Him it can feel strange to try to get back into spending time with Him every day.

Abby has been on about 3 hikes that I can recall in her lifetime. Her first hike was on spring break 2 years ago. She was an infant, not toddling yet. We wanted to hike with the kids in the Ozark Mountains, but did not have our baby backpack with us. So I said, "It's fine, I'll just carry her in my arms." And I did. Up and down the hills, around the curves, and through the trees. I carefully examined every place that I put my foot. I tested my weight carefully before I scaled any heights. I watched out closely for tree branches and thorns. I had to be extra careful not to fall because if I did, I would drop and injure our baby. It was at times awkward and very challenging. That's when I realized how important it is to watch our footsteps when we are discipling young Christians. We have to guard more carefully against falling down, so that our young friends are not injured by our bad choices.

Today, God reminded me of some of the same lessons. Abby walked the path on her own, but I had to be content to keep a slower pace than what I am used to. My friends and family were far ahead of us as we meandered through the woods. I showed Abby thorns and how to avoid them, or at least how to step on top of the thorny vines with her shoes so her leg wouldn't get scraped. That's what we do when mentoring new believers. We show them the thorns and give them tools to avoid them.

I also showed Abby a beautiful cedar tree and let her smell the branches. Then she wanted to smell every cedar tree on the trail. We smelled every flower, touched every berry, examined lots of rocks, and tried out digging in sand and mud. We watched waves crash along the shore and saw ducks diving for fish. Even though it took me four times as long to hike with Abby, today she showed me every beautiful thing in the woods. Walking with a new believer is like that. They remind you how beautiful our faith is.

Several times (like maybe 50) I had to remind Abby to stay on the trail. She would wander off to smell flowers or examine mysterious objects more closely. Once she nearly fell off the bluff while trying to look at the water. Fortunately, I was standing right behind her with my hands on her shoulders. This is what God does with me. He has to continually remind me to get back on the trail. Not to be distracted by other things in my life.

So today, I wandered slowly through the woods with Abby and listened to God's heart about loving and growing people in their faith. I am so very thankful for the people in my life who have been content to travel alongside me as I have learned how to walk on this journey.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Break

Spring Break - It is not all about bikinis, wild partying, and drunkenness at the beach.

It's way more fun than that! I've had a great time hanging out with the family. Sleeping late is awesome! Asleep or not, I'm staying in bed every morning until at least 8. Just because I can. I haven't made it all day yet in my p.j.'s but not getting dressed till noon is pretty cool.

I finished plastering my dining room walls that I'm redoing for my son to have a bedrooom. Today as I was standing on a stool, leaning out farther than I should, I heard a little voice. Abby said, "This whipping cream is yucky!" I turned around to see her face covered in wall texture. I guess she tried eating it. Hopefully it's not too toxic!

My funnest (is that a word) thing I've done over Spring Break is work on learning to play the bass. It's been cool to play something different for a change. I'm certainly not good yet...and my fingers are very sore....but I'm having a great time imagining that I'm an awesome rock star! Even tried singing karoke on the wii with the kids. According to my scores, I should stick with playing instruments.

We've had extra kids visiting and lots of Crossroads company hanging out. It's been tons of fun being able to hang out with friends and not be stressed about getting my school stuff done. Although I did spend one day at work, and still will need to work a couple more hours this weekend to get ready for next week.

Maybe this doesn't sound as much fun as the college Spring Break...but it's an awesome life. I am blessed with great kids and an awesome husband and fun friends. I'll take that over crazy parties any day.

We're headed out of town for a couple of days. Backwoods internet....see you again for Monday Morning Update!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Monday Morning Update 3.16.09

Moving away from the Pillow Talk series into a message about finances was a huge shift this week. It was a great sermon, but I missed the old eighties songs and all the fun from the weeks before. Finances are not really my favorite topic anyway. Not nearly as fun as sex and I’m not nearly as good at them, either. However, Shawn made several great points in his sermon which will be available in the next day or two online at One of the points that left me thinking hard was this, “You can be a person who chases treasure or you can be a person who is a treasure.” It is so incredibly easy to get sidetracked into chasing after stuff and to neglect becoming a person of great worth and character. I have a hard time trying to make the shift out of the American mindset of acquisition and into the Biblical mindset of giving your stuff away.

How could we change the world if we applied this? As Americans we totally have the resources to eradicate world hunger and poverty if we can shift into a global mindset. This verse was especially convicting to me today: Is. 58: 6-7, “This is the kind of worship I’m after, to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families.” ……Shawn shared this verse and I am so convicted that I tend to expect other people and organizations to do this for me. I think that because I give money regularly to good causes that I have done my part. As a woman with a heart for worship, I found it interesting that these verses describe helping the needy as worship. Jesus said it this way in the New Testament, “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.” Is that not worship? To minister to our God? Tonight I read the rest of Is 58 in The Message translation. Maybe this will speak to you like it did me.

Is. 58:1-3, “……They’re busy, busy, busy at worship, and love studying all about me. To all appearances they’re a nation or right-living people- law-abiding, God-honoring…..” (This describes me pretty well) Then read vs. 6-7, “This is the kind of worship I’m after, to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families.” Now skip down to vs. 9, “Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and He’ll say, “Here I am.”

My worship is not truly worship until it includes actions. Adoration without application is inadequate.

Worship set today:
Opener: Never Let Go
Middle Set: Forever Starts Today (an original by Worship Dude)
Here I am to Worship
Close: Not sure of this title – it’s that song about being hungry for God’s presence. Can tell you the chord progressions….just not the title….that’s an instrumentalist for you right there!

Thought the set came off pretty well. I really missed our guitar player who was out this week. I am so accustomed to him playing lead and me finding fill around his chords that it’s much harder for me to figure out what to play without him. I do agree with Grrr, the bass player, about Worship Dude’s new song, I asked him privately how he liked the new song, and his reply was, “Does he seriously not realize that he could have a number one hit single?”

So another awesome week at The Crossroads. I’m looking forward to some time off this week on Spring Break!