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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Exhaustion - It's the American Way

This morning as my head pounded, primarily from sheer exhaustion, I realized that this is the American way of life. Every person, especially every woman that I know, is exhausted. We wake up early, stay up late, and push ourselves hard every minute of every day. We are irritable, grumpy, and short-tempered with the people around us. We drink coffee and energy drinks just to function.

As I was spending time in God's word this morning, I was researching how worship is an exclusive event - belonging only to God. However, every verse I referenced was somewhere on the same page as verses about keeping the Sabbath. I have to say that this is probably the command that we as Americans dismiss the most - well that and maybe coveting.

I try to excuse my busy life with "But God, it's ministry." Every part of my life - teaching, Bible study, working out, blogging, twitter, facebook... it's all in some way connected to growing our church plant and furthering the God's kingdom. But this morning as I reread the verses and tried to argue my point that I need the weekends to clean and to connect with people for ministry opportunities, I saw something new. Every place that I read about keeping the Sabbath, God answered my argument. "For on the 7th day God Himself rested." Hmmm...... maybe if rest is so important that God Himself took time out to rest, maybe, just maybe, I should consider this Sabbath deal again.

I wonder how Christianity would look if we loved as Jesus loved, passionately pursued God, and if we were a rested, unstressed people. That sounds like a faith worth living.

Pray about this. I don't know how on Earth to fit resting into my schedule.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The purple robe

My alarm buzzes at 4:45. That's way too early for me to be up. I am not a morning person. Groggily my feet hit the ground and I stumble to the bathroom.

I throw on my very ugly purple robe and stagger into the kitchen where I fumble in the cabinet for a cup. I sniff the coffee pot first, then pour my cup full to the brim. A few sips, and I can focus my eyes on the task at hand.

The purple robe is an interesting item in my wardrobe. Let me say that it is ugly and I hate it. I have owned it since the dawn of time, and it was ugly then. My mom bought it on clearance for me when I was a teenager. I hated it so much that I cried. But it is warm. That's the only nice thing I have to say about it. I have never gotten around to replacing it.

However, this morning as I sat reading my Bible and writing, I let my mind wander a bit. I remember our first apartment, waking up early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons together, me in that ugly purple robe.

I remember walking the floor night after night with my colicky firstborn, in the ugly purple robe. I remember nighttime feedings, and early morning rockings with all my babies, in the ugly purple robe.

I remember breakfasts made for my husband and kids, mornings snuggling on the couch drinking coffee and spending time in God's Word with Shawn. All wearing that ugly purple robe.

And currently I am wearing it as I approach my very first writing attempt, and as I am studying and learning about who God is.

I have memories from each of our homes, from every stage in our lives, all tied to that ugly robe. The longer I remembered, the more beautiful the robe became. Maybe I am not so anxious to replace it after all.

Monday Morning Update 1.11.10

What a cold morning! This week during set up it was about 12 degrees. That's pretty darn cold. I was dreading unloading in the cold. I had to run down to my classroom to grab a couple of pieces of paper to make sign-ups for small groups, and by the time I returned to help unload the truck, there was a whole herd of people helping. I love The Crossroads. 12 degrees and nobody thought, "It's cold, I'm not going to help out this morning."

We had 115 people this week. With 80 chairs and 74 adults, it looks like next week we will have to set up more chairs. It is exciting to watch the growth happening at an exponential rate. Children's church is booming. We will soon need to add additional workers to be able to effectively teach our kids about Jesus. I know that this week in the nursery, my daughter Grace said it was really hard to manage that many children with only two people.

Shawn recast the vision this week, as he typically does every January. It is important to him that we never forget who we are and why we exist. I love the single minded focus that he encourages. We will love God, love people and rock (reach) the world. Our lives must be driven by those forces. As long as we keep our focus pure as a church, it becomes difficult to be apathetic, disgruntled, and lazy.

I am excited about the next couple of topics coming up. The rest of January, Shawn will be preaching about money matters. He will be talking about how to use your finances in a way that brings God honor and glory. I am hoping that he will give me an opportunity to share about consumerism and fair trade, about using our money in a way that encourages justice and fair treatment of those less fortunate than ourselves. In February, he is toying with the idea of a marriage series called "hot and spicy" where the two of us will share the stage to tell our story of a broken marriage and how God redeemed it. How God brought beauty from ashes. He would like for us to share how we make our marriage work by keeping God first and to allow our congregation the opportunity to ask us questions about marriage.

I enjoyed worship this week. I liked using scripture interwoven among the songs. I think it allows God to speak through His word to our people. I am excited about our growth as a worship team. We will soon begin a bible study time together. I think that will create a bond that will carry over onto the stage.

I loved having the opportunity to visit with several of our new members after church at a birthday party. It is cool to see friendships growing and new leaders rising up among the new members.

Last night we took time to sit down and evaluate our last mission trip and discuss our next trip. I am excited about where God is taking us and how He will be using us to fulfill the great commission.