Saturday, September 30, 2006

Liar Liar, pants on fire!

Ephesians 4:25 “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.”

Why do so many Christians lie? I guess the better question might be, why do so many Christians justify lying? Besides the obvious reason: sin. Why blog about this today? Well, it’s on my mind so, here goes. If you are somebody who actually cares about reading my blog today I encourage you to get a snickers bar and a coffee to last you through this one. You'll need it!

My sister is getting married in a few weeks. Yesterday I was talking to her about everything from her gown, to her guest list. When going over the guest list we discussed that someone very important to us is not coming. The gave a whole bunch of reasons…timing not good…money, etc. but the real fact is, none of that is true. The reason they are not coming is that there will be certain people at the wedding they are not comfortable with. They would rather not attend because those people will be there. But they did not want to say that. So they made up a bunch of excuses, which hurt my sister worse than if they would have just stated the truth. It’s hard because this is coming from a person who has been saved for many years. And I understand why she is hurt.

I can’t think of anything more fundamental that we Christians need to focus on than being honest. I mean, even the world says, “honesty is the best policy.” Then why don’t so many veteran Christians make a point to be honest? I’m not talking about those who are new, still learning the ropes of Christianity – I’m speaking of those who have been in this thing for a while! I believe most Christians do think there are such a thing as “little white lies” and they don’t think they are any big deal, especially if they feel they had a “reason” to lie. I will give a few examples here that stand out in my mind - all names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Case one. Years ago in a church we pastored, we sensed a family was unhappy with the church. Their attendance started flagging. But they were not honest about it. They told untruths about the issue at every turn, although these folks had been saved and even active in church ministry for quite some time. One week I gave the wife a call and asked how things were going and asked where they were the previous Sunday. She told me their little boy, Bart, was sick. I got a strange feeling right there in my spirit that Bart was not sick, but didn’t argue the point. The next Sunday morning came and they were in church. The moment they walked through the doors, I threw my arms around little Bart and said, “Bart!!! It’s so good to see you! Are you feeling okay? I’m so sorry you were sick! I missed you!” He looked at me like I was a martian from outer space and said, “Pastor Deanna, I wasn’t sick. What are you talking about?” To which his Mom looked like she had just swallowed a cat.

Case two. A woman who was in my previous women’s ministries group, Mary, began to get critical of the women’s ministry. She had been involved previously in various areas of leadership, but was influenced negatively by someone and began to have a terrible attitude. When some ladies approached her about helping at our upcoming Princess Luncheon outreach which was our most important of the year, she said, “I can’t come that day or help. I have a yard sale at the house.” Again, I knew in my spirit that wasn’t true. She was no longer supportive of the ministry and this was the reason she would not be there, however, I left it at that. Saturday was the outreach. Sunday morning came and I approached Mary’s next door neighbor who also attended the church, and I said, “How did Mary’s yard sale go yesterday? Did she sell a lot?” The neighbor said, “What are you talking about? Mary hasn’t had a yard sale in years!”

Case three. Years ago, my husband once had a staff member tell him that they were so incredibly happy in ministry with us, they thought they would be with us forever. They said, “I’m so committed to you, Pastor. I’m with you for the long haul. I’ve got your heart.” Not even a month later, they resigned. They gave some mumbo jumbo about God speaking to them about finding out who they really were. They felt they needed to leave and “find themselves.” Okay, that sounded like something off of Oprah or Dr. Phil. No, actually even those two wouldn’t believe that bunk. But anyway, the bottom line was, the decision had nothing to do with the staff member. I could have saved him all the trouble of making this trip to find out who he was. I would have been glad to tell him, “You are a hen-pecked man.” You see, his wife made the entire decision for him. But he didn’t want to come into the office and tell my husband, “My wife just made me resign.”

Case four. Every year we ministers in the A/G fill out and sign a credential renewal form in which we are asked if we still believe and proclaim certain doctrinal truths. We are also asked if we have tithed the full amount the previous year. (Note – tithing doesn’t mean giving a regular offering, it means 10% of your income. While the average person may not know this, I assure you, ministers do have this knowledge.) I have no problem filling mine out and signing it. I am definitely 100% in agreement with the doctrines of the A/G, I proclaim them from the pulpit, and I definitely tithe. But I know others who don’t. They fill the thing out, sign it and do not disclose things they have issue with that they discuss secretly among themselves but do not admit to the leadership they are accountable to. Why do they do it? To keep a job. To remain in the same ministerial network they have been in for years. And probably for many other reasons I can’t even think of, being that I’ve never been in this situation. But the fact remains, it’s wrong. They should do the honorable thing, make it right, come into agreement, or turn in their license.

What’s my point of all of this? Well, we find Christians lying to each other about practically anything large or small. It could be something as simple as whether a friend looks good in a dress or not, or who you went to the movies with. The funny thing is, many things people lie about are so stupid…it’s not really a big deal, so why even feel you have to lie about it? I know, some of you are thinking, “this is an issue for the deliverance ministry…” and perhaps you are right.

Well, I’ve taken my own informal poll among some Christian friends I really respect and they tell me they think one reason so many Christians do these type of things is because they are uncomfortable…they are afraid to state the truth. They are scared to be open about how they really feel. They are afraid of what people think. They don’t want to face your response when they tell you the truth. In some cases it would affect their income if they told the truth. They don’t know how to come clean with their issues, large or small. They are not good communicators, etc. etc. But no matter how many of these excuses I hear, I never find any of them in the Bible. They are just that – fleshly excuses. They don’t have any justification in the Bible.

So, what are you saying, Deanna…that you never lie? No. Of course I’ve told a lie before, several of them in fact! We all have. (We’d be lying to say we haven’t!) But what I am telling you is that God has put a fire and a passion inside me since becoming a sold out Christian, that I should endeavor to always be truthful – even when it hurts. Gently truthful as much as possible, lovingly truthful, nevertheless, truthful. And when I am not – to go to the person I lied to, even if it’s a small thing – to apologize, to ask for forgiveness. Most of all to ask the Lord to forgive me. If we aren’t honest…if people can’t trust our word, just what can they trust? Absolutely nothing about us, that’s the answer.

It’s just like when we had a president in office who was getting busy with someone besides his wife in his office. I’m sure you all remember that stern finger wagging at the screen at all of us, proclaiming strongly, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…” How ridiculous it seems now in light of the fact that we know the truth. If we can’t trust a president to tell the truth about that – we really can’t trust any other word that comes out of his mouth. Some say, “well, it was none of people’s business!” Perhaps they are right, but he could have just said, “I have no comment on this matter.” If you don’t want to answer a question, you always have that option. No one “HAS” to lie. They DECIDE to lie.

I will agree, it is sometimes extremely hard not to lie. I myself am faced on a daily basis with decisions as to whether I am going to lie or be truthful. I believe when we are faced with such, we either need to not comment at all, or think of something we can say that is neutral, yet truthful. To illustrate…

Someone approaches me wearing an absolutely hideous dress. They say, “how do you like my new dress?” I don’t like it, but I don’t want to hurt their feelings, so I say, “Wow. That is perhaps one of the most unique things I have ever seen.” Or… “Thank God, every day is another day to shop!” Or, “Where in the world did you ever find that?” If they press me on the issue, I just say something like this, “Well, to be perfectly honest, it’s not my favorite. It doesn’t accent your most beautiful features. But I sure do love the blue one you wore last week!”

Someone approaches me after a service in which they ministered in music and it sounded terrible. They say, “Pastor Deanna, did you like my song?” Not wanting to hurt their feelings, but be truthful yet encouraging I say, “Wow!!! You look fantastic!!!” (provided they really do, if not…I go to something else such as…) “The bible does say to make a joyful noise!” (emphasis on the word “noise”) Or, “Wowweee! I think those are some of the highest notes I’ve ever heard…”

There are things I’m asked all the time that would be very easy to lie about and for quite some time I might even get away with it. But the Bible says that eventually my sins would find me out. When someone asks me something and it is a matter that I do not wish to comment on openly, I simply say with a very gently, “I do not feel I can answer that question right now.” No one to this point has ever held a gun to my head and forced me to answer. They may not be happy about it. But at least I lay my head down on the pillow at night and know I was truthful. I have even said before, “I am uncomfortable with your question,” if I feel people are asking what I feel is none of their business.

I’m not perfect and I struggle with this issue as anyone else does. Sometimes I am put in very uncomfortable situations. Oh how easy it is just to make up something real quick so as to not have to face the music. But I’m simply saying, let’s make every effort to completely live an honest life before the Lord and before others. Our witness depends on it. It disheartens me when I encounter long term believers who tell me a lie about something. I wrestle with ever being able to believe anything they say anymore even if it started with something as stupid as a yard sale. I know you must feel the same way. There are some people that if they tell me the sun is shining, I get my umbrella out. Surely you have had these kind of things happen to you. Honest is not only the best policy – it’s THE WORD. It takes years to build trust back with people after they have lied to you, even if it’s about dumb things.

When we were little kids, we would catch a friend in a lie, or perhaps our little brother or sister and we would yell, “Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!” Little did we know, we were shouting the Word of God. Prophetic words out of the mouths of babes…

Revelation 21:8 “…and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Proverbs 12: 22 The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.


God takes lying really seriously. My question is…when does it start? Is there such a thing as a small lie? A big lie? How many lies do we have to tell without repenting in order to face eternal damnation? I have to be honest with you, I do not want to find out. I want to stay as far away from the danger as possible. I believe a lie is a lie, is a lie. The Bible says Satan is the father of lies. Do you want even one shred of dishonesty in your life? Would you purchase a bottle of water to drink if it said, “98% pure spring water – 2% raw sewage”?

I believe God is calling His people to radical honesty. Do I believe lying can be forgiven by God? Of course, it’s like any other sin. I believe we should ask forgiveness for it as soon as possible, and make things right with both God and man. It’s important that we live clean lives. My husband always talks about the value of being able to lay your head down on the pillow and sleep peacefully at night, knowing you are living an honest life. If you live an honest life, you don’t have to keep up with what you’ve said, or who you’ve said it to, or what you’ve done – you’re just living free, and it feels great. Try it!

Honestly…I’m really hungry right now, so I’m going to get off of here and eat a piece of
chocolate. Honest to God…I have only eaten 6 weight watcher points today, so I can afford it.

Carded

This is so exciting! I got carded tonight! (Do I really still look THAT young?) This made my night!
The boys had Friday Night Live at the church tonight. Savanna spent the night at Molly's. Larry and T and I went to see a movie and then afterwards we went to the Green Iguana. When the guy asked for my I.D., I said, "ummm....you're joking, right?" He said, "no, I'm not." I could see he was serious and I said, "oh my gosh, I could just hug you right now!" He did not ask for Larry's I.D. (which I thought was humorous) but he did ask for Trinity's, but then again T is 10 (count 'em 10) years younger than me.

This is awesome, just awesome. What a perfect "night cap"! :-)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Obsession

Reading in my Utmost for His Highest today and it says... "Paul said, ". . . woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!" He had become aware of the call of God, and his compulsion to "preach the gospel" was so strong that nothing else was any longer even a competitor for his strength. If a man or woman is called of God, it doesn’t matter how difficult the circumstances may be. God orchestrates every force at work for His purpose in the end. If you will agree with God’s purpose, He will bring not only your conscious level but also all the deeper levels of your life, which you yourself cannot reach, into perfect harmony."

I am a woman obsessed.

How true. Unless someone has this call upon their life they cannot fathom the compulsion...the drive...the uneasiness during times it is not fulfilled. I like how Chambers makes the statement that it was..."so strong that nothing else was any longer even a competitor for his strength..." How well I understand that. There is nothing else that compares in my life, that I would rather expend my energy on. And no matter what difficulty comes my way, it is never a question as to whether I will continue. I think of what Mike Murdock says about the fact that nothing great in your life will be achieved until it becomes an obsession with you.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Vests, birthday cakes, goals, dreams, plans...letting go

Today Oswald's devo says: "Jesus’ primary consideration is my absolute annihilation of my right to myself and my identification with Him, which means having a relationship with Him in which there are no other relationships. Luke 14:26 has nothing to do with salvation or sanctification, but deals solely with unconditional identification with Jesus Christ. Very few of us truly know what is meant by the absolute "go" of unconditional identification with, and abandonment and surrender to, Jesus...One thing you lack . . . ." From Jesus Christ’s perspective, oneness with Him, with nothing between, is the only good thing..."  

Wow, how true this is. I am always forgetting that when I am really following Him I give up all rights to myself and abandon myself to whatever He is calling for at that moment. Sometimes I am ever aware of this and other times I am utterly clueness and need to be spiritually shaken and awakened. I have to stop and ask myself..."is there anything in between us?" Sometimes I am unaware of what I have allowed to creep in. Like taking weight off...getting something out is so much harder than it was to take it in. Breaking a bad habit is so much harder than forming a right one.

Speaking of weight, my eating has been horrible the past few days. I have just been in a funk, probably because of various stresses...none astronomical, but lots of little ones just nipping at my heels. And I haven't exercised the past 2 days like I should. I have been way too tired to set the alarm early (with working late a few nights) and then just caught up with various things. Tonight we took Dustin for his senior portraits. I was very irritated (but his Dad was more so) that he left his vest at Aaron's and we did not discover that til' 5 min. before departure. Larry was so angry because he thought, 'there's all the money for that down the drain" (he always thinks finances first). I always think, "there's that goal/dream down the drain" and he thinks, "there's that dollar sign down the drain..." Well, the thing is, it's just hard when you have something in mind, like an outfit, a "plan" for lack of a better phrase and then it doesn't come together just like you imagined. Dustin sees no big deal in it and of course he won't until he's a parent one day.

It's hard not to sweat things. I remember when I painstakingly made Jordan a beautiful birthday cake when he turned 2. Right before he opened gifts (at the beginning of the party) he walked up to the table and stuck his hand right in the middle of the cake. I was so upset, that "the plan" had been sidetracked (I wanted him to have a perfect cake) that I left the party...left Larry in charge...and went to the store and bought an absolutely PERFECT cake. I know Jordan didn't give a rip, but I did. So we had his ripped up cake, and we had his perfect cake and we both were happy I guess. How I got onto that stupid story I don't know...oh yeah...goals...plans...a dream...

Sometimes you have a dream of something you want for your kids whether it be a birthday cake being perfect or an outfit for their picture being perfect and when something gets in the way it really bugs you as a parent. I guess when it comes to a cake or vest it's not really dangerous but when it comes to the plan of God I do realize you have to completely let go of your own goals, plans and dreams and allow God to completely have His way in their life. They need to abandon to Him just like I do. They need to completely "give up their rights to themselves" and turn everything over to the Lordship of Jesus, just like I need to. I guess God is not really upset with me about being a little anal over a cake or a vest, as long as I just keep completely turning my three gems over to him as far as the giving of their whole lives to Him in the grand scheme of things.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The benefits of spiritual surgery

Today's Oswald Chamber's Devo said: "The words of the Lord hurt and offend until there is nothing left to be hurt or offended. Jesus Christ had no tenderness whatsoever toward anything that was ultimately going to ruin a person in his service to God. Our Lord’s answers were not based on some whim or impulsive thought, but on the knowledge of "what was in man." If the Spirit of God brings to your mind a word of the Lord that hurts you, you can be sure that there is something in you that He wants to hurt to the point of its death." I can definitely relate to this. God is like a surgeon who does what needs to be done in your life, no matter how much it hurts and even if there is no anesthesia available at the time, he'll go ahead and do what's good for you. remember back when I had my miscarriage and it was a painful mess, not only emotionally but physically. It was clear that enough had happened that I had, indeed, miscarried. However, everything in it's entirety had not come out that needed to, and so they had to do an emergency D and C,with no time to put me out or even give me a sedative. So, I was awake the whole time. 

Although it was a long time ago now I can still remember that severe pain like it was yesterday. I remember Larry standing in the emergency room helplessly by, while I gripped the sides of the hospital bed with all my strength, enduring what was the worst pain of my life. The doctor couldn't worry about the fact that I was crying out in pain, that my knuckles were white from clinging ever so tightly to the bed, that every time he paused for a moment I writhed in pain back and forth. All he cared about was getting the procedure successfully completed so that I would ultimately be safe and healthy.

Perhaps the worst feeling was the intense "hollow" feeling that I felt in my soul when we prepared to leave the hospital. We left...just Larry and I...his arm around me, my face turned into his chest, feeling the cold night air on my head as we left the hospital. All I could think of is, "...all this pain...and what did I get for it? Nothing. I'm walking out of here with no baby...just me...Larry...and our empty arms. Our child was due on July 16. It's hard to believe if they would have lived, we would already have an adult child who would be graduated from high school. It's true that no matter how much time goes by, there is always a very special place in your heart for the child, and a tenderness when it comes to the loss in your life. With Jesus and time it gets much better, and even heals but never does one feel cavalier about it or like it's really not a big deal. You always realize the magnitude of it.

So yes, I know what it's like to have "surgery" without anesthesia, with seemingly no reward here on earth for going through all that hell. (I know we'll hold our child in heaven.) On the other hand, when I go through spiritual surgery, sometimes also without any pain killer, there is always a reward on some level. Because unlike a miscarriage, enduring a spiritual procedure always brings growth and progress in one's life.

Like Chambers points out, I too see that God will do whatever He has to do to bring you to the point of working out His will and way in your life. He's not so concerned about our comfort, our convenience, or even that we be pain free. It's about being what He wants, and doing what He wants, plain and simple. To Him, the end justifies His means.

I am willing to go through the pain of growing spiritually. I want the bad habits to die. The wrong attitudes to be gone. The attributes He wants me to have made manifest in my life. The pain is so hard sometimes, but the benefit so worth it. The road to the next level is...always uphill. But I'm willing to do it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Recap of Friend's Day Weekend

Okay, now that I got it out of my system about my let down this week, I want to re-cap what's right about this week...our Friend's Day at church. If people missed it, they really missed it.

Lots of newcomers came to our guest reception at 10 am, and enjoyed a continental breakfast. After an exciting “countdown” in the sanctuary, the service started with great energy and excitement. The place filled up quickly -- there were not many empty seats at all even though we recently added 62 chairs to the sanctuary! The service featured special multi-media clips, drama, and much more. More than anything we are rejoicing that four people committed their lives to Christ! Our hospitality room was packed at the conclusion of the service. All of our guests received brand new New Living Translation Bibles as a gift from the church as well as bookmarks that gave all the info about the church to place in their Bibles and remind them of what’s happening at the most happening church in Tampa Bay! Most of the people in the hospitality room said, “WE LOVED IT! WE REALLY WANT TO MAKE THIS OUR CHURCH!”

One of our members sent us the following message in an e-mail: “My brother-in-law was touched by the worship, had tears in his eyes listening to the words of the songs. They loved the church and one of their comments was “Everyone is so friendly!!!” Great job by everyone!!!”

Sunday night Larry and I had newcomer's night at our home as we always do once a month now. We have a packed house each month. God has been so good to us. We also have the pastoral staff here to meet and greet people. This past week was a special newcomer's night indeed. Newcomer Antonio Torres asked if he could say something to those gathered. He then went on to tell his story. Antonio recently moved to Tampa. He did not have a relationship with Jesus. In fact he did not even have a friend here. Three weeks ago, he and his girlfriend Iluminada visited the church for the first time. In that service, Antonio gave his heart to Jesus.

He then said this, "When I came to Tampa 3 weeks ago, I did not have a relationship with Jesus. I did not have family here, nor friends. Now, I am a Christian and have a new family. That is you, my brothers and sisters here at at the church. As a family, there is something that I want to share with you." He then turned to his girlfriend, got down on one knee and said, "Iluminada, I know God brought us together for a purpose. I love you... will you marry me?" Although this was a surprise to those present, everyone began clapping and cheering. Pastor Aaron said, "Once the news of this gets out, all the singles will be coming to our newcomer's fellowships, thinking, 'am I next??!'" It was so awesome. We took a bunch of pictures of them to give to them to commemorate the occasion. They asked Larry and I to marry them and they want to get married on the beach.


What a grand weekend it was...there is so much to tell, I could go on forever about the goodness of God, but to sum it up: FANTASTIC WEEKEND AND WE'RE IN THE NEXT LEVEL!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Building Bridges

Today, Oswald says..."Our Lord’s teaching can be summed up in this: the relationship that He demands for us is an impossible one unless He has done a super-natural work in us. Jesus Christ demands that His disciple does not allow even the slightest trace of resentment in his heart when faced with tyranny and injustice. No amount of enthusiasm will ever stand up to the strain that Jesus Christ will put upon His servant. Only one thing will bear the strain, and that is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ Himself— a relationship that has been examined, purified, and tested until only one purpose remains and I can truly say, "I am here for God to send me where He will." Everything else may become blurred, but this relationship with Jesus Christ must never be." So true. It cannot happen other than through His supernatural power. Enthusiasm alone won't do it, someone else calling you (besides the divine call of God) won't do it, nothing else will do. I have learned that everything flows from my personal relationship with Him, and the moment I begin to rely on natural means, or begin to feel it depends on people - everything falls apart.

When you have a clear vision from God, and a drive to reach that vision, and a passion for excellence, I have learned it can also be a one way ticket for disappointment if you put all of your eggs into the people basket. But when I put all my eggs into the God-basket and look at the people as the extras that decorate the basket then I'm alright. It all comes down to -- there's nothing like Him. And you'll never get from people, what you get from Him.

The longer I am in ministry the longer I see that people see words as just that - mere words, and not a covenant. Promising something is dependent upon their circumstances, not upon their absolute word. Bad circumstances? Unique situations? Perhaps. Maybe they are in a terrible fix. Somebody completely messed me up this week...they had given me their absolute word on something that quite honestly really costs me (or should I say my ministry area) a whole lot. But now that they are in a fix, they think it means that word is somehow absolved, that it doesn't matter. I think what hurt the most is - they weren't even sorry for it. They just looked at it like breaking their word should be completely understandable under the circumstances. I have to say, because I've never lived that way... I don't understand. I guess we as individuals look at things different based on what our weaknesses are. I have many weaknesses...many. But one of them has never been breaking my word or my commitments. So with those who do, it's quite honestly very puzzling to me. 

When somebody reneges on something I don't understand it because I would go to the wall...move heaven and earth...jump off a cliff if that's what it took to keep my word. Growing up I would have gotten my butt beaten from here to Japan if I would have backed out on a commitment to something. It was just ingrained in me: be faithful. Keep your commitments. Be where you say you'll be. Pay what you say you'll pay. Do what you say you'll do. Be responsible. My responsibilities and commitments are ever before me. I wake up thinking about them and go to sleep thinking about them. So how do some people live so differently without it eating them alive? How do they walk around so casually like it's okay? 
Matthew 24:35 says, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." It is THE ONLY WORD we can be sure of. Oswald is right...the only way one can bear the strain of 99% of what goes on in our Christian life is to have His supernatural power at work within us, and let it go...and be free. I know I can't be resentful over things like this. It's fresh in my mind right now and I'm still dealing with it, but I need to "build a bridge and get over it!" I think pastors basically double as general contractors. We are forever building bridges. And sometimes we get tired. I'm tired but I thank God I have some great general contractors beside me to encourage and help. God is so good.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The rocket took off

The rocket took off. Wow, did it ever! I am so tired. I will be asleep by 9 pm. Savanna is spending the night at Morgan's, so that will be possible. Thank heavens for small blessings like that, that made my day easier.
My whole day was spent at the church, weeding, cleaning, prepping for Friends Day. Bugs love me. They just LOVE me. I got about 20 bites on my legs, so many I can't wear a dress tomorrow. It will look awful. I feel like when I used to be on my grandmother's farm and all the mosquitoes would bite me up and I would have big red welts on my legs all the time. Pastor T says I need some special vitamin in my system that I'm missing that makes bugs go after me. I also encountered a 4 foot (at least) snake today as I was gardening. I was trimming bushes at the church...all of a sudden I notice I am about to cut a snake. I started screaming to the top of my lungs. It got up and hissed at me. I was going bonkers. Sean was laughing and said, "what is it?" I yollered, "it's a snake!!!!!!!!! He said, "how big?" I motioned about 2 ft. long. I couldn't tell the way it was curled up. Well anyway, it slithered away and I was going crazy so he tried to find it to get rid of it. Finally he chased it down and lo and behold upon getting ahold of it he discovered it's at least 4 ft. long. I was FREAKED OUT. I hate, and I do mean hate, snakes. It was not poisonous thank God, but it doesn't matter, I just don't like them. Anyhoo...somebody else took over the bushes after that. I started dusting inside. I dont' want to be a wimp but at snakes, I draw the line.

It's going to be a great day tomorrow. It's finally here! I got home early evening from Friends Day, swung by a store to get Dustin some flowers to give his date (not the original corsage, but a nice bouquet) got the clothes all ironed and ready and everything lined up for in the am, and also everything ready for newcomer's fellowship tomorrow night. By now my legs feel like they are going to fall off. Just so much to do. Monday is going to feel like an awesome break. Jenn invited me to a new Zumba class starting up Monday. I really want to go and try it out but I don't know if I will be able to have the energy to make it.

I have some schedule/calendar decisions to make right now and it's really stressing me out. It shouldn't. I just need to pray about the will of the Lord in the matter. I truly don't know what it is. Very few things I don't have a solid feeling about and this is one of them.

Well today the rocket took off with a start, or should I say accelerrated from last night, BUT - it's a fun ride, no complaints, just waiting for the harvest.

Resting before the rocket takes off

The ministry rocket is taking off for the weekend. Today is normally our day off and we try to make it 24 hours of rest, but today it was a 3/4 day off. I eeeked every bit out of this time that I could, being that it's all I have for the week. This morning I got up and was so zonked when that alarm rang. So tired from a busy week. I did not want to get up but had to, to get Savanna off to school. So I did. Then although exhausted, I decided to get a few things done. So I ate breakfast and headed off to do something just for me - nails, make a stop at K-mart to get candles, make a stop at florist to take care of finalizing getting money back for Dustin's flower order. Came home by lunch and by the time I was done with lunch I was so tired. You know I'm tired when it's noon and I am still sleepy because normally even when I get up tired, my day takes off like a rocket everyday and I'm good to go especially after a few cups of coffee. Not today. The bed was beckoning me to come back. Larry was in it, but still...that wasn't it. I truly wanted to sleep. So I did...for several hours.

Finally it was time to get going with the rest of our day but neither of us wanted to get out of bed. So we didn't, for a while. Just had fun. What could be more important? So while we were having all this fun, the phone rang...first our home phone, then our cells, everything. Ring, ring, ring, just like always. The cycle is so interesting. This is how Fridays (our day off) goes...first you hear our home phone. Then I say, "Uh, Larry, your pants (usually on the floor) are going to start ringing in just a second as soon as they are done ringing the house phone." Sure enough, there is goes. Then when his phone is done buzzing on the floor, I say, "listen close, you are about to hear my phone out on the dining room table!" Sure enough five seconds later, you hear the theme song from Wonder Woman playing out on the dining room table. It never ends, and 95% of the time it is never about somebody having a heart attack, or something like that. It's usually, "hey, do you have this person in the church's phone number?" Or..."can you tell me what time the youth activity is tonight?" Or, "can you let so and so know that I won't be there Sunday and will need someone else to help out with _________ ?" And you know what? I said, "let them ring." It's Friday and if it isn't an emergency, it's just going to ring. This was our only time off, not even 8 hours, for the next week and you know...I just absolutely committed to peace for that moment. 

The staff knows how to get ahold of us if it's really crucial in the event of the 5% of people who are really calling with an emergency on our day off, or usually in a true emergency people leave a message to that effect and we return it right away. So, that's all that matters. Being in bed with Larry was THE most important thing of my afternoon. Finally we had to get up and get ready for our young adult gathering at the house. We sprang into action to finish cleaning, cooking, etc. and getting ready for them. The busy ministry weekend took off like a rocket. Not complaining at all about it...I love it! There is nothing greater than serving God and serving people. But every week we've got to have just a few moments peace and concentrate on each other and our relationship to be rejuvenated for the rocket to take off so we can give our all to the rest.

Dustin was going to go to homecoming with his friends and even had everything arranged, but now he found a girl who is a friend --not a girlfriend, (at least yet) but just a new friend who is a girl, to go with that he is really happy about. And, that makes me happy.  I made sure I have fresh batteries in the camera tomorrow to take his picture.

I didn't read Oswald Chambers today but instead read some of Stormie Omartian's Just Enough Light for the Step I'm On. That's one of my top 10 books of all time. I enjoy it so much and refer to it time and again. So many good nuggets, so many great parts of the Word to refer to that I never saw in the same way before. Tonight I'm going to read some more in the Word, read the Tampa Tribune, and hit the sack for as much sleep as possible before the rocket takes off tomorrow. It's going to be a good weekend!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Random thoughts about me

Random thoughts about me ... 

I am crazy about books, especially non-fiction. 

My new favorite thing is Zumba. 

I really like coffee and tea. 

I like passionate people. Even if I don't like their views, I would rather be with someone intense than someone phlegmatic. Eeuk! 

I thank Jesus every day for caller ID. 

Sitting in my jacuzzi is my favorite nighttime pastime, except being with Larry. 

I don't know what it's like to not be creative. 

I like wearing colored nail polish because I think it's bolder. 

I believe in making a statement in everything we do, even if we don't say a word. 

I love suddenly feeling the anointing. 

You Alone is probably the worship song that has been so much a favorite of mine for so long.
I love listening to James Taylor and rarely get tired of him. Tonight I was listening to Your Smiling Face in the car and it still...gives me a smile on my face. :-) 

I love that every day is a brand new day to discover more about God's love, grace and beauty.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Kaleidoscope of things...

Today was colored with purpose, projects, mundane things, important things, all kinds of stuff. Blending together to make as good a day as any. First, I love it when a message comes together. Mine did today, for 2 Sundays from now. I'm preaching a message on Sunday, October 1 called, "Don't let anyone talk you out of it!" It's about Ruth. It's going to be power packed. The more I study it, the more I hone it, the more I go over it, the more it is like a FIRE shut up in my bones. I am ready to quit studying it because honestly I keep getting more things the deeper I dig into it, and it could be a 2 hour long message if I keep going and looking for every single angle in this text, so I need to stop I guess and just pray. I have had the message churning for a long time but it just came out on paper today. A powerful day...we are in for a powerful day. But lest I skip ahead........

This Sunday will be a blockbuster. It's our friends day. We have been working hard on it. Today we finished taping the video announcements and Pastor T edited them. They turned out great. We watched them a few times and laughed our heads off. I did a lot of stuff for Friends Day yesterday and spent most of today working on messages and then we went to lunch with the Deal's. In between all that I had to run over to Careview and get my yearly mammogram. It's not a major deal to me, I don't freak like some people but it's not the most enjoyable thing, let's put it that way. And unfortunately a little piece of dust got on the film of the most uncomfortable x-ray and they said, "come back in and redo it..." That's all I wanted...to get my breast flattened like a pancake again and smushed in between two plastic things that feel like they just came out of the freezer.

"...it's cold," the tech says.

"Well then why don't you keep it warmer in here?" I'm thinking. Maybe if this room didn't feel like the arctic, the plastic thingy wouldn't feel like one of the plates they give you to eat your salad off of at the Olive Garden.

Just a thought. If I ever gave people mammograms, I would put a fireplace in the x-ray room...

I worked late tonight and then went straight to Zumba. Probably 10 people I know from church were there tonight. It's a lot of fun, it really is. A hard workout. Worth 8 weight watcher points. That's what I love most. I can come home and eat some light chocolate brownie ice cream. :-) 

I was ready to crash after Zumba but decided to do all the grocery shopping on my way home, for the weekend, for our young adults gathering, newcomer's night, and then some side things for my family. I have just a few hours off this week (tomorrow morning/afternoon) so I want to make the most of them. Jordan cleaned the house tonight so I have little to do in that regard. He wanted to go surfing tomorrow so he did whatever we needed him to do. Larry wants to watch The Sentinel but I am way too tired and just want to get in the hot tub and then go to sleep. Not too tired to spend time with him in bed...but too tired for a 2 hour movie. I know I'd fall to sleep.

Time to get in the tub and get in the most comfortable bed in the world...mine. I haven't even read Oswald Chambers yet, so now's my time.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Problems and Pumpkins


Today, Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest writes, "We have to get into the habit of carefully listening to God about everything, forming the habit of finding out what He says and heeding it. If, when a crisis comes, we instinctively turn to God, we will know that the habit has been formed in us. We have to take the initiative where we are, not where we have not yet been."


I guess I'm where I should be in one regard, that I do instinctively and immediately turn to God when I feel any confusion or crisis of any sort. I guess I have lived long enough on the planet to know that NOTHING else satisfies, NOTHING else will help me get through, bring joy back to my heart, or rectify the problem in any way. God and God alone - that's the bottom line.

Today was a mixture of a day - a real blend. Good things going on with staff, and planning the service for Sunday, and I have also done well this week with my weight and gone down some more...steady, slow but sure! I'm only a few pounds away from goal. GLORY TO GOD! I could not take this for one minute longer (and I've been doing it over 2 years now) without His grace upon my life every day. Truly I do turn to Him for help in this matter on a constant basis. Some days are easier than others. Wednesdays are typically easier because it's my weigh in day. And that usually motivates me either way. If I lost, I feel the victory and want to lose more. If I gained, I'm disgusted about it and moved to do something. I am trying to form His habits in me. The other day I was reading the Word where it says that Jesus went to the synagogue, as was His custom. That jumped out and I thought, "what are my customs?" Jesus had habits...customs. I have to be careful that my customs line up with His.

Today was stressful on the other hand for two reasons -- Larry and I had a tiff (shock of all shocks, we are NOT perfect...) and...Dustin was hurt with a situation hat we were helping him through.

Life just got interesting a moment ago. Jordan tells me he has a paper due...tomorrow. And says, "Mom, what should I do it on? Can you help me?" Uh, okay, I'm going to try to not hit the ceiling............uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...c'ya!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

God engineers our circumstances

Today in My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers said, "We have the idea that we ought to shield ourselves from some of the things God brings around us. May it never be! It is God who engineers our circumstances, and whatever they may be we must see that we face them while continually abiding with Him in His temptations. They are His temptations, not temptations to us, but temptations to the life of the Son of God in us. Jesus Christ’s honor is at stake in our bodily lives. Are we remaining faithful to the Son of God in everything that attacks His life in us?"


I do realize that everything that happens in my life has been through God's approval. There is no circumstance I'm in that He didn't say, "alright, let it happen." So, He knows what is happening and how I'm going to come through it. It seems like all I have been doing lately is taking the kids for check ups, taking myself for check ups, going for dentist appointments, getting cavities filled, making doctor's appointments for Larry (that he doesn't want to go to of course, but I make him for his own good), and all that kind of stuff. By mid October we should be all caught up if everything is alright.

Today was such a busy day for me. It's my day that I try to work from home, because I get so much more done. I started doing it a year ago on Tuesdays because that way I do all my serious computer work for church, without interruption. No one can walk in my office and interrupt me...being that I'm 20 minutes away. I realize I'm inaccessible at the office that day, but quite honestly if I'm not inaccessible one day, things aren't ready for the weekend nor the month at church. Somebody walks in my office every 2 seconds it seems...so working from a different location one day a week gives me time to bang out a bunch of work. I got so much done today...two major projects. It is amazing to me that usually in one day on Tuesday I many times get more done than the entire rest of the work week combined! I think sometimes people think we do nothing at the church office and just sit around waiting for them to "drop in." I love it when people volunteer for us and they get educated about what goes on at a church office. But I digress...uh, wait a minute, how can you digress on a blog? Isn't a blog many times just a bunch of digression? (is that a word?) Moving right along...

After finishing work, I went with Dustin to get his pants altered for Homecoming. They can't be altered. They are too big. So, we have to go exchange them. I just hope we can accomplish it successfully by Saturday. Time is running out. We have to find something...no matter what. I went with him and ordered Whitney's corsage today. He doesn't know anything about corsages nor was he overly concerned about it...he saw no difference in any of them, really. Of course he thought I was making too much of the situation, but it was important to me that it be right...so I walked him through it. Next week he gets his senior portraits taken. Yesterday he got his clothes for senior portraits. He needed a dressy outfit and a casual one. He looks great in them both. Larry took him to get his hair cut too. This is amazing. It seems like just yesterday that I was laying beside him his first night before kindergarten...after he went to sleep...crying that "my baby" was going to school. Now he's graduating. And I couldn't be prouder of him. He's such a wonderful son and a beautiful person. I think everyone around him (at least anyone with any sense!) has always recognized his sensitivity and his tenderness.

I am concerned and in prayer right now over something with Larry's health. I try not to worry about him...but sometimes I do! I have to force him to go to the Dr.'s right now...again..., and it's not fun. I don't like being his "mother"....I much prefer being his wife. My friend Tana tells me most men are this way and we've just gotta do what we gotta do and press through it with them. Sometimes I just want to rap him on the head and say, "Wake up! We love you and need you, so by golly, take care of this already!!" I have to believe that God sees my circumstances and is in control. I say my circumstances because when something is happening to Larry, it's happening to me. His body is my body, and when something is wrong with it, something's wrong with me. I just have to keep the focus that God is in control, and He has engineered the circumstances.

At First Sight not worth a glance...

 Larry got the latest Nicholas Sparks book, "At First Sight" it for me (and how sweet of him) while we were away. I was looking forward to delving into it and devouring it. He knows I love most anything by Sparks. I don't normally read too much fiction. Only a few select authors. Most of it is not worth my time and quite honestly I've found truth is stranger (and much more interesting) than fiction.

Well, I read the book in 2 days and I was sorely disappointed. What a  crappo ending.!!! Please people, spare yourselves the time and do not read At First Sight. It will needlessly jerk you around for all 277 pages and then leave you with a horrible bang at the end. You just don't need it, trust me.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I just have to believe...

"The LORD came to him the second time, even as he appeared to him in Gibeon. And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, which you have made before me: and I have hallowed this house, which you have built, to put my name there for ever; and my eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually." (1Ki 9:2-3).

Here the Bible is referring to the prayer of dedication of Solomon. When the Temple was ready, he prayed this prayer of dedication, asking God to keep watch over the house all the time. If the people would get into crisis, when plagues would come, if in battle, or whatever would happen, they would just seek the Lord in the house and He would meet their needs. And so God said, "yes, I'll do that."

I just have to believe God will do that for me too. I just have to believe if He did it for Solomon, He can still do it for me. I am realizing more and more, things happen on a regular basis - things I see coming, things I don't. This past week, I did see coming a crisis in one of our church families lives and a transfer imminent that they nor we are happy about! Goodbyes are never fun. Oh how I hate them. But I have to believe God has a purpose in it. Well, I saw this one coming in the spirit as much as I didn't want to face it. On the other hand, a medical problem with one of my family members totally blindsided me. I just wasn't expecting it. Now I have to pull down the strongholds and pray this problem out. I asked myself -- could I have seen this coming or have done anything to prevent it? No. It's out of my control. Prayer is the only recourse but thankfully the most powerful. I'm grateful, His eye is on everything whether I can see something coming or not.

Father, I thank you that your eyes and heart are upon my household perpetually. Oh how I need you. How much I love you and rely on you moment by moment.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Good day!

We spoke at Keith and Joy's church this morning for their pastor appreciation day. What a good day. They have such a great church with great people and no surprise there -- it's a product of them, a true reflection.

 We spoke about being people of honor and how to honor your pastor and their family. Basically saying everything every pastor would like to say, but usually can't...(at their own church.) They seemed to be very appreciative of it. Even Joshua and Kaleb told Larry, "wow -- that was awesome." I think it meant a lot to the kids to hear us tell the congregation what PK's sometimes go through and what they need. Although they have a very honoring church and always have been, a refresher is always in order, and new ideas a good thing. Sherri did such a great job of organizing the whole thing as she has for the past 16 years. They just went to two services, so we did both services, then went to lunch with them at an Italian place that was really good...then visited at their house for a while. What special people they are. It was very heart warming for me to hear the special testimonies honoring them and realizing when somebody is being honored for having that true "pastor's heart"...well, I really understand that. So I could relate to what the people were saying and knew exactly what Keith and Joy really mean to those people who testified and the memories made.

I never realized until this weekend how much Larry and I needed some time together. We go to cohort every other month and I'm always thinking, "well, we go away together..." Yes, we do but the thing is, cohort is the least relaxing thing...it's work. Yes, very energizing work in talking with the others in our group and thoroughly enjoyed, however it does nothing for our marriage. The last thing we are talking about at co-horts is each other, nor spending any intimate time together. In fact we are usually doing our homework and then crashing to get a few hours sleep before waking up for early morning prayer. What a wonderful thing this weekend was. I feel like a different person as a result of it. There are times your marriage needs a serious tune up. Well, this was a good maintenance weekend. Things went very well at our church as expected, and so it was a win/win weekend for everybody! How much I needed this weekend away............no one will ever realize. Thank God for it.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Renouncing Hidden Things

I was reading in Chambers My Utmost For His Highest today and he says... "Have you "renounced the hidden things of shame" in your life— the things that your sense of honor or pride will not allow to come into the light? You can easily hide them. Is there a thought in your heart about anyone that you would not like to be brought into the light? Then renounce it as soon as it comes to mind— renounce everything in its entirety until there is no hidden dishonesty or craftiness about you at all. Envy, jealousy, and strife don’t necessarily arise from your old nature of sin, but from the flesh which was used for these kinds of things in the past (see Romans 6:19 and 1 Peter 4:1-3 ). You must maintain continual watchfulness so that nothing arises in your life that would cause you shame."

I can honestly say at this moment in my life, I have no feeling of bitterness or hate for anyone in the world, no jealousy or strife beyond breaking up the sibling rivalry with my kids. And honestly, not a thought of lust toward anyone but the person I'm married to. (and I'm not sure I would even call it lust, but a proper sexual attraction or whatever...) But if there is something that is in my heart that I probably need to renounce, it's hurt from various rejection situations. As much as I try, and as much as I've improved on the issue of rejection, it is still difficult for me. I manage to keep myself under control, but underneath sometimes I'm really going through a healing process of things that are just hard to get beyond.

Second, I know I need to renounce my resentment with people who chip away at what precious little time I do have for myself. It is hard for me to not allow my resentment to come to light...I am always "on the edge" when I sense someone ready to block my time out for them that I was so looking forward to renewing myself with. I know that to really be used of God, one has to be prepared to be inconvenienced a lot. I feel like I can roll with most punches on that issue, but sometimes when I'm just really spent and so looking forward to doing something I want to do...it's hard not to at least get an edge to my voice. I know God has to work this out of me.

Part of me needs to get bolder with what things I can change. Things that I truly don't "have" to do. For instance, I know Joy really wanted us to come to lunch today. That would have made her so happy and I would have enjoyed it too. But later a part of me would have resented not having time to ourselves as a couple. So I made the right choice. We said no and had our day. And it is wonderful!!!

Maybe part of what I am dealing with in my negative emotions with this is that all relationships in my life are not like my relationship with Joy. She wasn't the least bit upset that we didn't come for lunch today. She was looking forward to the possibility but when we said no she wasn't the slightest bit irritated about it. My fear of those who get irritated is what sometimes drives me to make poor decisions.

So I guess what God needs to get out of me right now is first of all, ANY fear of what someone might think or do, and second - resentment over anything I might have to inevitably end up doing when I was so longing to do something else. I know...in time...my time will come...just like it is right this moment.

Larry is watching one of his shows on ESPN right now and catching up with the sports world so that gives me a moment to write. I have a zillion projects in my briefcase and on my laptop...but I promised myself I wouldn't work while we're away.

Larry's show is almost up...so time to go. Tonight my prayer is that God would help me renounce anything in myself that I know he's not happy with. I love Him so much, I don't want anything to be between us, and if being even slightly irritated at somebody can affect my relationship with the Lord then it's something I need to work on.

"Us" time...finally

So Larry and I took the weekend off in Tampa and we are in Lakeland for the weekend. We are preaching at Keith and Joy's church on Sunday for their pastor appreciation service. We decided to make a whole weekend of it and get away together. So, we came to Courtyard Marriott to stay for a few days. Last night we met Keith and Joy for dinner at Carrabbas and hung out with them a little bit at the church and hotel. Today we are just taking the day for ourselves. Nothing to do but sleep, make love, shop, go to dinner, sit by the pool, get in the jacuzzi, watch movies, surf the net, and do all of it all over again. :-) Fun, fun, fun. I am enjoying this day so much. We decided not to get out of bed til' 11:30. Went to lunch, shopping for a little bit, then Larry wanted to sleep a few hours. I read an entire book sitting by the pool, then got in the pool about 1/2 hour, got out and dried off, then went in to the gym and worked out for 45 min. Wow, that felt good! Now he's STILL sleeping (that man can sleep!!! Maybe it's that I kept him up all night?!) and I am going to write a bit until he wakes up and decides where he's taking me next. I guess at some point we both need to go over our notes again tonight. Oh yeah...we DO have to preach tomorrow, even though we're "off." Keith and Joy invited us over for lunch today and as much as we love them...we just wanted the day to ourselves. So, here we are.

Larry saw the new book by Nicholas Sparks in the store today and he got it for me. He knows how much I love his books. I didn't even read it yet...I read another book that the Conley's gave me last night. It was really good in fact I needed a box of kleenex for my tears while I read it. Larry always says, "...and you find that FUN?"

I got a great inspiration for Christmas yesterday driving down the road...I know it's a "God thing." I love when that happens. It's for the Christmas service. Can't wait to pull it off.

Well, I think I'm going to read some more and then try to wake up Superman. If he resists me I may have to resort to drastic measures.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Christ Centered Activities

Okay, so I was driving down the street yesterday and I see a church sign that says, "Christ Centered Activities Here." And immediately I thought, "what in the heck does that mean?" Every single place I step into, there's a Christ centered activity going on. That's because I'm there, and "in Him I live and move and have my being."

When I'm sitting in my jacuzzi, it becomes a Christ centered activity. When I'm salsa dancing with a bunch of ladies from church, it's a Christ centered activity. When I'm working at the office it's a Christ centered activity. What goes on in my bedroom every night is a Christ centered activity. That's because I'm a Christian who is in love with Jesus Christ, and He is working in and through me no matter what I happen to be doing at that moment. Whatever I do, I do it to the glory and honor of God, whether something way serious, or something completely hilarious. God is the author and finisher of it all. He really is in everything.

How boring for some people that a Christ centered activity means they have to go to a certain building to have it.

I think maybe I'll put a sign in my yard that says, "Christ Centered Activities Here." Then again, maybe I won't. The homeowners association wouldn't like it and I would rather spend my money on shoes than a fine.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Zumba!

Wowwee! I tried something new tonight. It's called Zumba, and it's sooooooooo way fun. It's a dance/exercise class that combines salsa, merengue, hip hop, belly dancing, reggae and more. It's an hour and 15 min. of incredibly high intensity exercise. It's so cool, such an incredible work out, and so fun. There were like 10 people there that I knew, and it was a blast. To check out Zumba, and see what it's all about go to www.zumbaflava.com. One thing I did discover. The next time I go to Zumba I will have a new sports bra. Carmen Torres warned me 2 seconds before we started..."Uh, honey, I hope you have a very good bra on because if not, GET READY." She was right. :-) I have lost so much weight since the last one that I bought, it wasn't worth wearing it so I just wore a regular one...oh well, gives me an excuse to go shopping this weekend. Tonight I'm going to sit in the hot tub for a long time before I go to sleep because I'm thinking it might help me from being too achy tomorrow. Last week when Lindsay did her first Zumba class she almost couldn't move the next day she was hurting so much. Well, I can't wait for the next class! The teacher is so motivating. Sort of reminds me of my weight watcher leader, Ginger. Very high intensity -- just what I like and what I need.

I started my day with one of my least favorite things...my yearly OBGYN appointment. Oh joy! The only good thing about it is, my doctor is so nice. Such a kind man and always makes me laugh about something. So today before I even go into the office, I stop at the Dr.'s for the exam, and when Dr. Cazes walks in the room he says, "Oh my gosh, has it only been a year!" I said, "yep!" And he said, "Oh my gosh, time flies by when we're talking about pap smears!!!" Ha! Ha! You know, although I don't relish having that exam every year, it's important to me. I have learned from the bad example of so many women that I've seen who don't keep up with things - their annual physical, dentist appts., OBGYN appts., and then something happens and it's too late. They waited too long to address their problems. I have learned from ministering to so many women who face unnecessary tragedies that it just isn't worth putting things like this off. So, I do these appts. like clock work and keep up with them. 

Larry was hosting America's prayer meeting last night. I didn't watch the show last night while he was on....he tivo'd it and I will watch the whole thing this week. (it's a 3 hour show) Last night after church, Lindsay came over and we watched a movie and she spent the night. I ask her to do that when Larry's gone sometimes. We counted our WW points, ate a snack and watched the movie.

Today it was just Larry and  Pastor T and I for staff lunch and we went to Bombay Masala. I have not been there in so long. it was good. We taped a DVD to play for church while we'll be away to greet everybody. I got a lot of work done today although I had my appt and we had lunch together, I got a boatload of work done. Charted the course for next week and developed my initiatives.

The funniest thing just happened. I'm sitting here writing this blog and listening to Larry on TV. He just said, "In just a minute we're going to go to the phones and pray for Eunice and George." And I was doing two things at once and sort of didn't hear him right and I thought he said, "In just a minute we're going to go to the phones and pray for Curious George." Time to go. It's getting late, I need to get in the jacuzzi, spend some time with Superman, read my bible and go to sleep.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

WWJD?

Monday is my most tired day of the week (recovering from Sunday) and Wednesday is my busiest day of the week. I try to come home earlier, to have just a little time before church on Wed. night...sometimes it happens and sometimes not. Some days things are too crazy to even come home. Today I came home early to get a few things done, that otherwise wouldn't get done - since we are going away for a few days. Larry also has to do the America's Prayer Meeting show tonight so he needed to get some sleep before going. I need to go scrub down the bathrooms, and get dinner in order, but before I do, thought I would take a five minute breather and blog.

We worked at the church last night until about 11:30 pm if I recall, that was the last time I looked at the clock. The stage looks fantastic. By the time I got home and cleaned up a few things and went to bed, well let's just say that I never made it up for my early morning bike ride today. Getting out of bed was the last thing I wanted to do. But I had a full line up of things this morning, and went in and did them. Well now, Friday's coming! Yeah!

You know, I thought one was supposed to be so gutsy the older they got (and I have just gotten older...) :-) I thought this was time to do what I finally WANT and just let the chips fall where they may. I am not sure everyone got the memo on that about me. :-)

The thing is this...I'm not talking about work. I love work and give my 200% to it. No complaint there. I enjoy my work/ministry so much. I love what I do so much, I have a hard time even calling it, "work" but when you get down to it, it is. As much as I love to work, I love to also play. What a wonderful reward!

My play time is always threatened. When I have a few precious hours in the evening, or really anytime I manage to carve out that that is just "me time", somebody else tends to come along and fill that up. Sometimes without even asking! Yes, it's always with something fun and social, however it's usually not what I personally need to energize and fill back up again. In other words, it's good for the other person many times for that purpose, but not for me. Everybody's different in what they need to relax. I know people only mean well...they really do. They want me to slide over to this b'day party, or that shower, or this dinner out, this picnic, or you fill in the blank here ____________. But the fact is, when I don't get some solitude, when I don't have a moment to myself, or time just with the fam, I begin to feel like the walls are caving in on me. So when is it right to say, "No, I'm not coming over. I want this time to myself."??

I personally believe the time is now. I remind myself all the time that one of the reasons I used to be overweight was because I said yes to everyone and no to myself. I'd have a plan to work out, and then along comes somebody to say, "hey we'd like you to come to this b'day party..." Not that I don't love the one having these type of events, but quite honestly, that doesn't renew or energize me like I need. So, instead of sticking to my original plan and having the time to myself...I get a case of the guilts and I go...or, I feel that Larry wants me to go just as good PR. So, I suck it up and go. And then usually end up resenting that I did, because once more, something I needed stays on the shelf for another few days or even weeks. Well, that's exactly how I got overweight, putting things like good PR over the time I needed for me. Then I get snappy and everybody wonders why. It's a no brainer here folks, I have a lack of solitude and I begin to get edgy. Half an hour here, 45 minutes there, and it just chips away at my life until I feel like there's nothing left. Sometimes I just get the feeling that everybody around me is standing there gnawing on me. Larry says, "well honey, people just love you, and they want to be with you." Yes, I know that but if they really do love me, I'd like them to realize that I'm a lot better person when I get the alone time that I need to function right.

So what would Jesus do? Yes I know there were times he ministered to the multitudes for many hours, but then clearly...He left and went to the mountains, all by himself. He would steal away and pray. Just Him. One reason I don't feel out of line to want the alone time for myself is because I do give so many countless hours to other people, very generously. Most of the time, I am pouring myself out. I think if Jesus were right here in the flesh and invitations to come to things were beckoning and it was His time to pray, He'd probably still sneak off to the mountains. So I guess it's alright for me too.

One thing that is hard regarding a life in ministry is that for the person who is inviting, it's just one special event, one party, one gathering, one whatever. But for me, their invitation is only one of many invitations for the week that I've been invited to. Saying yes to everything really does leave me good for nothing. Saying yes to anything people ask me to do outside of work leaves me with zippo time to care for myself or my family. So, WWJD? I think he would do what I long to do - stay home and ride a bicycle...sit in the hot tub...lay on my bed and read...go for a long walk...watch a movie with the kids. Yes, I think that's what He would do. So maybe I should start.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

No way over it, no way around it

Today I was reading in Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, (my favorite devo) and he says, "There are times in your spiritual life when there is confusion, and the way out of it is not simply to say that you should not be confused. It is not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of God taking you through a way that you temporarily do not understand. And it is only by going through the spiritual confusion that you will come to the understanding of what God wants for you." 

I am learning more and more that we serve a God who takes us through. Years ago I used to pray that God would just keep anything negative or any confusion away from me completely. As Oswald says, that's really not a realistic prayer. It is true that where there is confusion there is every evil work, however...let's be real, there is evil work all around us. Ours is not to be exempt from having to face any of it, but on the contrary, having the power to go through it.

This morning I got up early for my morning bike ride down to route 54 and back, and while riding I was listening to Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood sing, "no way over it, no way around it, if you want it you've got to go through it..." and I thought about how true that is. With most things in life there really is no way around. The path we must take is through. And the only one that knows the way through is Jesus.

Despite our best attempts, sometimes we've just gotta go through stuff. Like this morning. I had to go get three (albeit small) cavities filled. I try my best to not get them, to not have to deal with them, but here I find myself going through it again. Last time I got a cavity filled I said, "I'm going to brush my teeth 10 times a day if that's what it takes to never face that again." Well I didn't quite make 10 times, but I do take care of my teeth. Despite the care, it happened again. Just goes to show, sometimes things are going to happen no matter what you do. And then you've just go to go through.
Today is a busy day. I had to take care of my fillings first and now I've got a day of a whopping amount of computer work to do. Tuesdays is when I get the bulk of everything and anything I have to write, done. In between all that I have to take both Jordan and Savanna for their dentist appointments, and also go do some work on arranging the church platform.

With all that, there's just some things I have to go through. I'm thankful Jesus is beside me every step of the way and I don't have to go through alone. I know that as I "walk through the waters they will not overflow me, and as I walk through the fire I will not be burned." As I drove back from my appt. today the song, "He will carry me" was on the radio. I always skip over it to be honest, when I hear it on the radio...it's just a song that never really did anything for me, but today it did. Thank you, Jesus, for carrying me through.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Here we go!

Many of you are probably familiar with Lifetime television for women. It's one of my favorite channels, and one of my husband's least favorites! He says that on Lifetime, "the guy is always wrong" but I don't think so. If he'd watch it more, he'd see that's really not true. On a day off, one of my favorite things to do when I'm a little stressed and just need to zone out, is to watch a little Lifetime TV. 
One of their signature shows is Intimate Portrait, a show that features a different famous woman every time. If you go to their website to see the show described, it says that the show "delves into the personal lives of the women being featured, showing their personal perspectives, their ups and downs, heartaches and happy endings." While I'm not exactly famous, (yet!) this blog is my intimate portrait. It's about my personal perspectives, my ups and downs, my heartaches and my happy endings. It's about what I'm currently learning, things God is showing me, things others have taught me, non-sensical stuff I'm thinking about, really life changing stuff I'm thinking about, and even sharing a little bit about things I haven't figured out yet and am not sure I ever will.

Many times I've been told, "you're too passionate..." or even "do you really think it's safe to be so outspoken?..."

Well, it's not always safe I will admit that. But my personal perspective is that everybody should be able to honestly express their thoughts and then "own their words." Whatever they say, they have to live with the ramifications. I've always been okay with that consequence for myself. When I feel strongly about something, I don't mind owning it at all. I enjoy living candidly, honestly, openly, yes...intimately. So the risk is worth it to me. Have I experienced people backing away because they can't handle my candor? Yes. But far more people come near rather than back away. So I enjoy living this way much more. Welcome to my Intimate Portrait.