Monday, September 24, 2012

'fessing up

I did it again.
I let fear take the wheel.

It's no secret that our church has been going through some hard times. I have struggled with allowing those circumstances control my contentment.
I had the whole "Jesus + a healthy church = everything" attitude going.
The truth is Jeus + nothing= everything for a Christian.

Philippians 4:11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

This is what Paul is saying "nothing that happens around me can take away my joy and contentment if it is based on Jesus and what He has done for me".

All fine and dandy until you have to actually live it out.

When punch after punch comes to something you deeply care about. Just when it looks like something good may be coming, another deep cut comes.
And while the emotional blood is flowing and the fear is rising above your head, leaving you gasping for air, can you embrace the "+ nothing"?

Not easily.

For me when that spike of fear hit, I panicked. I spoke words of exasperation. I spoke words that sounded like blame. So and so is doing such and such and it's freaking me out.

The only thing that was "freaking me out" was my own lack of faith.

I was really saying "oh, Jesus you are great and all, but I need people to get on board with what you have asked me to do".
I need human helpers and human approval. Need, need, needy, need it.

What can be done for me, that Jesus hasn't already done?!!!!!?

Think about that one for a minute.

Think about it.

What has Jesus left undone, incomplete for me?
What emotional discomfort is too much for what Jesus has already completed in me?

Wake up call.

God was telling me "What Jesus are you talking about because, My Jesus, has done all the work that can ever and will ever be done on your behalf, so what need do you have that He has not already met (past, present and future all at the same time)?".

God was saying to me "Wake up to the truth".

How could Esther say "I will do as God is leading me and if I perish, I perish?
Or Daniel and his Jewish brothers say the same?

But we say, surely God would never ask me to stay in a circumstance that hurts or does not meet my needs. Sure He would never leave me in such deep pain.

No, He would not leave us in an emotionally empty place, a lie would. 
Oh Yes, He can ask us to stay. Mainly He can ask it because a circumstance was never intended to meet your needs, only He was.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Jumping the gun

Having only gotten to chapter 2 of this book, I feel kind of silly making this recommendation but I make it none the less.
Jesus + Nothing = Everything
Tullian Tchividjian
(grandson of Billy Graham)

Here are some quotes to wet your whistle:

"We habitually look to something or someone smaller than Jesus for the things we crave and need. And none of it is ever large enough to fill the void"
He points out that John Calvin said our hearts are idol-making factories from the start. Christian, non-Christian, we just long to identify with something or someone but we also ask it to satisfy us.

"An idol is anything or anyone that you conclude in your heart, you must have in order for your life to be meaningful, valuable, secure, exciting, or free."

That one is a whopper. This does not mean only negative things like cheeseburgers, cigarette or alcohol. This means political reformation, kids, a spouse, a house, good treatment, a growing church, no debt, social reform, homeschooling, etc... basically everything on the face of the Earth.

If you decided you must have something that doesn't go by the name of Jesus Christ savior of the world to be satisfied in this life, then you have added something to the equation and now you have Jesus + that thing.

You are essentially saying Jesus is not enough.

Ouch cubed.

That doesn't mean you cannot have any of those things in your life, it just means you have to be at peace with God if they are taken away.

Any time you feel stress or anxiety it's the indicator you have one.

I have been longing, pleading, begging God to make our Church strong, amazing, changing the world for Him. I feel anxious when it does not happen. I NEED it to happen. I have a hard time staying calm when I talk about it. It's not a bad desire, it's a godly one.

But I have asked it to make me feel satisfied. God, if you would just do this everything would be okay. It's an idol.

Talk about rocking my world and making me feel like Alice in the looking glass. I need to just obey God daily, feel His peace, soak up all the Jesus through scripture I can and release all that longing to Him. If my church never becomes all those amazing things that does not diminish my obedience at all.

My faithfulness is to Jesus, not an idea or outcome. If He leads me to do something, I do it. The end. If He stops me, reroutes me, moves me, or radically changes me, so be it. He's enough.

Paul got it. Peter got it. Do I? Maybe, I feel like I have some tough choices mentally to make about how I look at the world.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Fall" in love

A tiny crispness in the air for a few mornings and I am head over heels in love with fall.
Fall and Spring just feel like fresh starts.

Don't be fooled my yard looks nothing like this, these are just leaves downed by Hurricane Issac.

My yard actually looks like this:

The feeling of the sunshine has changed from blistering to warming and the air feels less like a woolly blanket and more like life giving vapor.

Fall means fresh starts. A new School year full of possibilities and free from failures. Freshly Sharpened pencils as Meg Ryan says in "You've Got Mail", the ultimate symbol of possibility. What will they write?

Remember how great a brand new crayon felt in your hand? How fabulous was the sharp tip and the wax smell.

Every day is like that.

Are you a slave to something in your life?

Are you feeling the future lays out before you grim and bleak? No Chance to break free from depression, poverty, anger, fear, longing, loss, need, weakness, etc...

It's fall baby!
It's a new day. You have the power to choose change.

Luke 15:20
And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.

He is the power to change and all He wants to do is throw His arms around you and kiss your face.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

City by the Bay and a Hurricane by the house

San Francisco is .... An amazing place to visit.
No wonder it's one of the world's top tourist destinations.

China town was fun!
A shoppers dream. We had a pretty good Chinese meal there as well.

The coastal hike from Land's end (the farthest point out to the Pacific) to the Golden Gate Bridge was AMAZING! It was a long hike but the weather was like outdoor AC with a ocean breeze blowing all day. I never broke a sweat and we were going up and down hills all day.

Beach that was our starting point. Hi, Pacific Ocean, nice to meet you. (Psst- don't tell anyone but I took a pebble from this beach home to Louisiana with me).

Here is the view of the Golden Gate Bridge from that beach.

Getting Closer.
Almost there.
Soaking it in.
Oh, and would you look at that, the America's Cup Sail boat races are taking place in the bay. Magical.

Monday night we went to Tartine's, which is an fantastic french bakery/sandwich shop in the Mission district. Their Tres Leche cake was a "do not miss". For a chocolate lover like me to fall for a vanilla dessert like that it had to be world class.

So by Monday the word had come from home that my parents and children were directly in the path of Hurricane Isaac. Not cool.
They battened down the hatches and kept in touch.
During the weekdays my hubby had to go to his conference- yeah the actual reason we were there. So I entertained myself at the Westfield Mall.
It was tres snazzy. These are the escalators for the upper floors. The shopping in the mall was a mix of too pricey and just right. On the street outside the mall I fell in love with H&M- we really need one in Baton Rouge.

Tuesday the storm hit and we ate Sushi. No connection.

Wednesday my parents lost electricity so we communicated by hit or miss cell phone calls. We ate at an Irish pub. Cottage pie is yummy, feel good food.

Thursday hubs had to work in the hotel room on disaster recovery issues for his company. We had lunch at Fisherman's wharf (pier 39).
Hubs you are adorable and sometimes I just cannot believe your are mine.

The seafood was wonderful. That evening we had steak at our hotel restaurant which was also very good.
Bad news was the water was very high over the road out from our home so my parents and kids were trapped in with no electricity. They had a generator for the basics but no AC.

Friday we headed to the airport only to be delayed an hour. We flew to Dallas and raced like mad to the gate and just squeezed into our connecting flight to Baton Rouge. It was the last flight in of the night to B R.
Stayed with my sister who had AC and regretted that the air here feels like a woolly blanket compared to the air in San Fran.

We met the kids in a boat Saturday and got more gasoline for Dad's generator. Here is the curve in our road where the water stopped but it went on for a eighth of a mile down the road.

We reunited at my wonderful sister and brother-in-law's house until we were able to return home the next day with a dry road and electricity.

We were very blessed that week, a wonderful trip and a safe happy family.