Sunday, June 22, 2008

I Will Search For You

We introduced a new song for worship today, somehow Israel Houghton managed to intertwine some of the most beautiful verses in the Bible into one song. Its amazing!

Ps 139
17How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand When I awake, I am still with You.

Jer 29
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

2 Cor 3
18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

I live to see Your face and be transformed!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's Hot in Texas!

Hello! It's only June and we are setting records here. 97, 98, 99, 100? When it gets that hot, does it really matter what the exact number is? And can you tell the difference between 98 and 99? Or 99 and 100? Hot is hot! One degree is actually just a slight shift, a small change.

There is a verse in 2 Corinthians 3:18 where Paul says we are being transformed from glory to glory to become more like Christ. Yes! I want to be more like Jesus....from glory to glory. Cool. But how does this transformation happen? How about a magical wave of some God-wand? Poof! You are like Jesus now! I like that idea! The amplified Bible says "from one degree of glory to another" Gee. From 97 to 98. Or from 71 to 72. Not so dramatic these one degree shifts.

I feel like God is telling me to be patient. He is patient. It seems he's after a slow and steady change. From one degree to another. I wonder if I even feel the significance of those changes in my life? Lord, help me to appreciate the slight shifts you are working in me! And remind me to look back over the seasons of my life. Winter to Spring.....Spring to Summer. You are transforming me.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Today, Pastor Rob's message was on the importance of living an example for our children. They may hear our instructions but are often more impacted by what they see in our lives. He shared several verses that communicate this idea of hearing AND seeing. Like Acts 4:20 "For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."

While I was listening, I thought of a few of the things I see in my husband's life:

Every time David mows our grass, he also mows our elderly neighbor's yard.
He loves to grill, and frequently the fajitas he is cooking up are a meal we deliver to another family in need.
David often adjusts his work schedule to be with the boys at school parties and field trips.
He rarely misses one of their games and is often on the sideline with video camera in hand.
Every night he snuggles with each boy and ends their day in prayer.
We have wild wrestling matches in the living room and when they were cowboys, Daddy was the livestock. He endured lots of carpet burned knees in those years!
David is a committed employee and very timely, he is never late unless he was waiting on us!
He serves the Austin community as we host events at Shoreline.
He takes the time to visit with and value our guests a Shoreline East.
He leads his volunteer staff with excellence and inspires people to embrace the responsibility and joy of serving.
He makes hospital visits and brings comfort and hope.
He is such a help at home, he changed lots of diapers, folds loads of laundry, washes dishes, grocery shops and even vacuums; which is a lot more fun with the new Kenmore that he researched and picked out!
He listens to books and podcasts on his ipod and loves learning.
He leads a small group in our home.
He visits other churches to help them with their technical systems and gives generously of his knowledge.
He cries least once a week when we all watch Extreme Home Makeover.
He knows how to really cut loose and have some fun!
He rose up with courage to slay a giant in his life and find freedom and lives with a passion to share that freedom with others.

This is their legacy. It's beautiful and growing more beautiful with each year. Our boys are blessed to hear lots of encouraging words. If they ever see something that doesn't line up with what they hear....they hear an apology. I am grateful for what they hear but even more grateful for what I see. I trust our boys see it too!

Happy Father's Day Honey! You are a great Daddy!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Climb the Mountain

Matt 14:22

With the crowd dispersed, he (Jesus) climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray.

How many times have I read this phrase 'Jesus climbed the mountain to pray" and thought, he went off alone to pray. Its a good example for us. But I don't think it was an accident that going off alone to pray involved a CLIMB. Have you been to Mt Bonnell lately? Or Enchanted Rock? Climbing a mountain requires effort, determination and hydration! When temperatures rise and life heats up that climb can be even more challenging.

I remember when I was pregnant with our first child, I thought, it's going to be great as a SAHM. I'll have so much time to read and study. (Echos of uncontrollable laughter from the mommy readers) Then I thought OK, so when both of my kiddos go off to school I will have daily opportunities to sit at my ideal quiet time spread: a journal, a handful of pre-sharpened pencils, a great book complete with study guide, at least two versions of the Bible and of course, a cup of coffee. Yum! Now I wonder if this pursuit will ever be less than the climb it seems to be. Some days I am more determined than others.

Thankfully, I'm learning to let go of the ideal. To reach for the glove box Bible when I'm waiting in the van. To say a simple "God I'm listening" when I take the boys to the pool. My boys are older now, and they both read so I've instituted a summer quiet time after lunch for all three of us. It's wonderful.

After a good climb, most of the time I just feel winded. Whew! But every once in a while there's a glimpse of something up there that takes my breath away, and it all seems completely effortless! So I keep climbing....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Who Prays Like This?

The Benediction of an old Priest, Larry Hines, as quoted by Brennan Manning:

May all your expectations be frustrated;
May all your plans be thwarted.
May all your desires be withered into nothingness
So that you may experience the poverty and powerlessness of a child...
And sing and dance in the great compassionate heart of God.

Can you imagine hearing a prayer like that today in a 21st century American church? No way! Would I dare to pray such a prayer?....probably not. But I do know that nothing throws me into God like brokenness.

What about the poverty and powerlessness of a child. When I first read that line I remembered Jesus' words in Matthew 18:3

...unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

I wondered if he could have been referring to this idea of powerlessness. Right smack dab in the middle of my wondering, my son walked over, put on my beaded flip flips and mocked me. I'm the only girl in family so this is not unusual. But he said in a high-pitch, sing-songy voice "I'm Lynn Cherry and I always say no to my children, well sometimes I say yes." Unbelievealbe! OK, so maybe my very own children do feel this poverty and powerlessness. This is the truth: we are at the pool with his friend. Playing for hours under the hot Texas sun. Obviously, I don't always say no! But I think he really does feel that way. Don't I feel that way about God sometimes? He always says no, well sometimes he says yes. Just like my decisions as a parent seem so unreasonable to my children...sometimes it feels like God is holding out on me.

I do say no. No, you can't have another Root Beer today. No, I'm not buying that sugar-filled, Red 40 dyed junk. No, we can't go to Disneyworld this afternoon. No technology until all your homework is done. I sound completely reasonable, don't I? Not in the ears of my child. I hope they'll remember by yeses. Sure, we can stop at the park on our way home. Yes, let's go to the pool today. You will eat ice cream tonight, we will all eat ice cream and I don't want to hear any fussing about it! :)

I want to sit and soak in all of God's yeses today. The sun on my face. The clouds floating by. The beautiful breeze in the trees. And two dripping wet boys who still want to sit next to me at the pool. I don't understand His nos but His yeses are lovely.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Clean Socks

Pastor Rob shared a beautiful message today on relationship. The main idea being that this Christian life is all about a love relationship with Jesus. We are always trying to dumb it down to a check list or formula. And when our current formula doesn't seem bring the pay off we are hungry for, we look for the next big thing.

One point that stayed with me is the idea that Jesus is not looking for a maid, he is looking for a bride. Truthfully, I feel better about myself as a wife and mother when my house is clean, dinner was made from scratch and everybody has clean socks. And I feel better about myself as a Christian when I'm reading my Bible, hosting a small group and scheduling worship time without an audience. All of that is good, it's GREAT...we all need clean socks! But.....I really don't want to be a maid. What my family wants, what Jesus longs for, and what I need is to live with passion. To engage my heart. Clean socks are nice....but a good toe-tickling is even better!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Why am I Blogging?

Good question. I've been thinking about it for a long time. I have an amazing friend who is an avid blogger. She inspires me. You can visit her here.

Last week, my husband was telling me about a podcast by Greg Boyd about living in the moment. Being more aware of God's presence. That same night when we were at the pool with the boys, David handed me his ipod "You've got to listen to this". I love my man! Something just clicked. God is speaking but I don't always notice or if I do, I forget too soon. The post-it notes become wallpaper. What can I do to entrench these thoughts or ideas or wonderings deeper into my psyche?

I remembered a brief email sent out a few weeks ago by Pastor Mike. He said he was challenged to start blogging again as a spiritual discipline. I had never thought of that before.

But, there you go - things that I take the time to write tend to stick a little longer.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wound Management

I love to read and when I can't get my hands on a book, just about anything will do. So, I read lots of labels, and the other day I read Mederma. Short, but thought provoking. One line stuck out "The LEADER in Scar Management" Scar management. That makes me sad. Not scar healing. Not even scar treatment. I have a whole collection of scars from a recent bicycle wreck. I wasn't planning on managing them.....I was hoping to vanish them! Surely there is another product whose label reads "The leader in the magical disappearance of scars" .....Kinda long.

So here is my Mederma theology as it applies, at least in my mind, to scars of the soul. Management is not the first step. The label clearly reads: Not intended for use on open wounds.

Step one - Wash. Oh the stinging!
Step two -Ward off infection, cover and protect.
Step three - Scab formation, hardening.
Step four - Realize I need help - call the Physician.
Step five - Follow Dr's orders. Care for wounds.
Step six - Management

According to the label, Mederma should be applied 3-4 times a day for 8 weeks on new scars, and 3-4 times a day for 3-6 months on existing scars. Three-four times a day. That is frequent care. There is a pretty short list of things that I choose to do 3-4 times a day. But a wound needs care. Lesson number two - the longer I wait to care for my wounds, the longer they take to heal.

Life leaves scars. Will they ever vanish completely? I doubt it. Jesus still has his.

I'm hoping there is a Step Seven....hmmm....what would that be? Peace? Blending-in? My scars say: I live life, I fall because I ride. I have carpet burns because I wrestle. I tackle....I make contact. But with proper care, hopefully my scars are not the first thing you see on me.

June Communion

It was Wednesday morning and I found myself waiting....just my minivan. So I pulled out my trusty glove box Bible and headed for Paul's epistles. Philippians 3 popped out...well...actually the whole page fell out...I read this amazing verse:

"For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh."

Tonight is our monthly all-worship communion service and with all my heart I want to "Worship by the Spirit!" Those three phrases rolled over and over in my mind: Worship by the Spirit....Glory in Jesus...No confidence in the flesh. Flesh is faulty. Confident? Insecure? I waiver.

So tonight I determine to put NO confidence in the flesh. In my ability OR inability. I will glory in Jesus and hopefully worship by the spirit will just flow....