Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Thought Counts - But the Gifts Matter

In our Journey for Two article in December's Austin Faith & Family magazine we share a few of our successes and failures when it comes to exchanging gifts. Some years we do better than others. If you are wondering what to give your spouse this year, click on the link and turn to Page 6.

So sorry, Blogger is behaving badly today - You'll have to copy this link into your browser:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Need a Jump-start?

We had to jump start my van three times in one week. Grrr. After the third time I knew we had to get it looked at.

So, I was on my way to Autozone and honestly I was thinking, this errand fits under the “things your husband should do” column. I was on the verge of getting grumpy. Thankfully reality kicked in, because - hello - it’s not like I’m the only one cooking and cleaning and doing laundry at our house. I started thinking about all the things my husband does to help run our household and by the time I got to Autozone I was truly grateful.

Come to find out, my battery was still under warranty so they replaced it for free. It was awesome. They took out the old battery and put the new one in while I waited -such great customer service. I always appreciate that.

Thankfulness kept on rolling in my heart and I thought isn’t it great that whoever designed cars did it in a way that allows for a jump start? Seriously, isn’t that a wonderful feature?

How many tow trucks have you avoided because all you needed was a jump start and you had a friend or even a kind stranger who showed up to help?

I think faith can be that way. We get discouraged. We ask questions. We wonder, where is God in this? Then along comes a friend with a just the boost we need.

Fourteen years ago I was in labor with our first son. We were up all night and this baby was stuck. He wasn’t coming out. (There is a reason why they call it LABOR!) After hours of pushing, my doctor decided that he was going to have to be delivered by cesarean. The hospital staff sent my husband downstairs to the OR to get suited up and they were prepping me for the procedure when we lost the baby’s heartbeat. I was exhausted. I’m not even sure I fully realized what was happening but thankfully my friend Christy was with me. She grabbed my hand and began to pray. Christy was full of the Word of God. She said "Thank you Father that this baby will live and declare the works of the Lord, You will satisfy him with LONG life and show him Your salvation, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead will quicken his little body."

A few minutes later our baby boy was born - all 9 lbs of him!

Is there anyone else who knows what I’m talking about? You were feeling tired or worn out and a friend came along with a scripture or a story or song that lifted you & provided a jump start for your faith? Or maybe you are reading this today and your battery is drained. You feel stuck on the side of the road of life and you don’t know how you are going to keep going.

I got my jumper cables right here!

I want you to know God is faithful. He promised to never leave you. He is right in the middle of whatever is draining you. He is strong and He is loving. He is FULL of compassion. He is a Healer, Redeemer, Savior. He is God With Us. You are never alone!

Praying a little boost of His power will jumpstart your faith right now!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Deserve to Suffer

I have no self control when it comes to potato chips. I crave them. Ruffles. Lays. Target brand Archer Farms Maui Onion Kettle Chips...oh my! That being said, I did it....AGAIN. I ate too many chips and now my tummy hurts. Ugh. I knew when I was eating them that I should stop, but I didn't. I just kept munching on those deliciously salty and perfectly crunchy chips.


I deserve to lay here awake all night while my stomach gurgles and cramps in complaint of my weak character. (Click to Tweet)

That's what we tell ourselves, isn't it? We made another mistake and we are just getting what we deserve. We have to face the consequences. Sometimes, there is no way around it. We do suffer for our poor decisions.

Wondrously, our salvation/our redemption stands in stark contrast to the "way things go." Through Christ we don't get what we know we deserve. We get MERCY. But it doesn't stop there, because we also get what we could never deserve. We get GRACE, unmerited favor and blessing.

We deserve to suffer. But today is a new day! We have fresh, new merciful love, and all-sufficient grace that is more than we could ever need.

8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:8-12

Monday, November 28, 2011

Do Not Fret

Do not fret—it only causes harm. Ps 37:8 NKJV

I was convicted by this verse today. Do you fret? Do you ever feel or express worry, annoyance or discontent? I do. It's interesting that this word is also used to describe corrosion. I've experienced the harm caused by my fretting. It has a corrosive effect on my insides and causes me to make frequent trips to the....well, you know.

The NIV puts it even stronger "do not fret—it leads only to evil." Whoa. Fretting leads to evil? Who knew?

When we fret we take the remote control in our minds and press play/rewind.....play/rewind.....play/rewind. We relive the scenario through the lens of "what if". Then we fast forward all that fear into the future. The worry snowballs. It DOES cause harm. Insomnia. Stomach cramps. A frantic desire to be in control. It's time to push the stop button!

How do we do that? Back up just a few verses and give this a try: Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Psalm 37:3-6

|| PAUSE, and let that soak in for a while.

Is there an event in your life that frequently replays in your mind?
How would trusting in the Lord help you push the stop button?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sincere and Humble Thanks

Thanksgiving can get lost between Halloween and Christmas. I wonder what will become of it now that the Lone Star Showdown is no more. What other football game will rise to that sacred place?
George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789 set aside this day "to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks".
It's a day to reflect on the goodness of God.
Take some time today to reflect on God's goodness in your life.
Every Thanksgiving I pass around a small piece of paper and ask each person to write down what they are thankful for. I keep them all in a special scrapbook. Each year I look for something new to express gratitude for. I would hate to be redundant.
In 2008, while busy crafting my "exquisite" thanks; I noticed my son's paper. He had drawn simple pictures of food, water, a house and a bed. It was beautiful – sincere thanks for humble things. I don't think he realized before that year, that those were things to be grateful for.
Traditionally our boys would say they were thankful for toys, friends and family but something shifted when we began serving at our Shoreline East outreach campus. Our perspective changed.
Our lives are filled with so much. It's easy to take it all for granted. We realize the abundance in our home when we come face to face with those who have no home. Serving has cultivated a culture of thanksgiving. I think that's exactly what George Washington was hoping for.

Join us Saturday November 16th, 2013  for the Shoreline East Thanksgiving Feast

Friday, November 18, 2011

Competent Communication Counts

I had the privilege of visiting TMHP Toastmasters club this morning, and hearing guest speaker Michael Notaro, President of Toastmasters International.

He spoke on Three Ways Toastmasters Can Help. Here are my notes:

1. Toastmasters can help you find your authentic/resonant voice

We each have a unique voice - a way to connect with others that is personally and powerfully our own. Often we don't discover that voice without practice. Toastmasters communication manuals provide the tools we need to discover the gift that already resides inside. Your "voice" as President Notaro put it, is the confluence of your head, heart and spirit. How would your influence grow if you could communicate out of that place?

2. Toastmasters will help you focus your message

There are a lot of speeches nobody cares about, answering questions no one is asking. In Toastmasters we learn to speak to an audience, not at them. What have you learned in your life experience? How can you share what you've learned in a way that brings life and hope to others? Learn to be strategic in your focus and refine your message through peer lead practice and evaluation.

3. Toastmasters can help fulfill your destiny

Partner effective communication with leadership training and you are well positioned for promotion. The tools available to you through Toastmasters will bring your innate talents and abilities to the surface. You may not realize what potential lies dormant inside of you if you don't grant yourself the opportunity of expression.

I want to invite you to visit Shoreline Toastmasters the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month. Clear the clutter out of your communication. Picture yourself behind the podium.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Confident Contentment

Is anybody else's grocery budget eating them alive? Or is it just because I have two growing boys at my house? I rarely leave the grocery store without dropping a hundred dollars. My trips are more frequent and I leave with less food.

Now, don't worry about us. No one around here is going hungry but we certainly are crunching numbers and wrestling with this thing called contentment. That is not a happy, rally the troops, let's all shout kind of word. Would you buy a book on contentment? Not sure I would. We like books about more, not books about less. Why does contentment sound like less? Listen to what Paul had to say:

....I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Phil 4:11-13

Contentment has little to do with the balance of our checkbook. It's a struggle for everyone whether living in plenty or living in want. Sometimes I think its even harder for those of us who live in plenty. Our "plenty" works to stir up that desire for more. Still, Paul says he learned the secret. Ah...a secret!

What's the secret? Well, I think its in that word "through." I find this place of contentment through my relationship with Jesus. I live in peace through the strength that he freely gives. I can face the future with confidence knowing He is with me through it all. That's what I call confident contentment.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What's in your hands?

God did not send a laser from the heavens to carve his words on our planet. He could have. Instead, he revealed his word to man and used the hearts, minds and hands of humanity to communicate his message. I don't often reflect on that when I'm reading the Bible, do you?

Last weekend, as I read Ephesians 3 in the Message Bible I felt a new connection with the author. Not THE Author, but the man who held the reed pen in his hands.

7-8This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God's way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities.

I felt a camaraderie with Paul as a writer. Could this be part of MY life work? I share his desire to spread the Message, and I am challenged to trust God to equip me. I also identify with his feelings of inadequacy. I really love the part about God handling all the details!

When I was a child, a travelling minister visited our church. After the service, he prayed for me and said something about God using my hands. My mom often reminds me of his words. Would God use my hands as a pianist? Would it be as a biomedical research assistant? Or could it be in the words I type as my hands cradle a keyboard?

What's in your hands? What is your reed pen?

How do you see God handling the details?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Called to Hope

"God, where are You? I need to see you in this situation!"

I found myself in a bit of a funk. Wrestling with God over the struggles of a dear friend. I wanted to pray but felt like I didn't know what to say or even how to say it. The long term nature of the struggle and the dark reality of what was happening had popped the cork of my faith and drained me of hope.

As I searched for words, I remembered Paul's prayers for the Ephesians and I was grateful to have a template to follow. I echoed his prayer over my friend's life and inserted their name in the text:

Father, I pray that the eyes of _______'s heart may be enlightened in order that ________ may know the hope to which you have called them... (Ephesians 1:18) Lord, Let them know there IS hope...you've called them to HOPE!

Called to hope? I believe this passage indicates that God has a hopeful future for each one of us. I got that part. But when I landed on those words I felt God calling me to BE hopeful! Calling me to hope, not only in wishing for a distant future place but as an action for the moment.

Maybe hope is not something we hold, something we keep bottled up inside. Maybe it's meant to be poured out over the circumstances of our lives and the lives of those we love.

How do you hear the call to hope?

If you ever find yourself not knowing how to pray, try using Paul's words:

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Way back when God created the world, He called it good. The stars were good. The flowers were good. The animals were good. But then He said something a little different. He said "It is not good for the man to be alone. Let us make a helper suitable for him." So God made woman. Girls, we are the answer to the first problem on the planet! I enjoy that role. I am my husband's helper. He needs me!

I’m also a mom. Like my mother before me I am now The-Finder-of-Lost-Things in our home. The boys will come to me and ask, "Mom, have you seen my ipod?" I follow that up with questions of my own. "Have you looked in the van? Did you check by the computer?" And this classic Mom question, "When was the last time you had it?" I don't know why I bother to ask, because most of the time all I have to do is get up and look and I find whatever was lost! I enjoy helping my boys, and I must say I am pretty good at 5th grade homework!

But there are a few things I know about me…

-I am not all-knowing or all-powerful.

-As much as I have my families best interest at heart, I fall short every day.

-My mercies? They are not new every morning.

-I can’t be the only source of help for my family.

Lately I've been thinking about this passage from Psalm 121:1-2

I lift up my eyes to the hills where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Our help comes from the Lord who created each one of us, who created this world we live in. That Creator-God is our Helper! I need a little help in my life right now….I need to hear this! I have family members who are hurting. There are health needs, financial concerns and strained relationships.

So I tell myself Lift up your eyes Lynn! Stop looking to your job, your family, the doctors or yourself to be the source of life and joy and peace.

Lift up your eyes and remember that your help comes from the Lord.

He is a very present help in time of need!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mysterious Math

One day when Jesus was walking the Earth, some religious people came with a question about divorce designed to trip him up. (They did things like this.) Jesus answered by quoting our Creator. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh… So they are no longer two, but one...” (Matthew 19)

Two become one? Any first grader will tell you something is wrong with that arithmetic. But God’s math can be a bit mysterious. He is, after all, three in one. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are One God. 1+1+1=1. Try to define that algorithm. It’s a mystery!

0.5 + 0.5 = 1

We might try an equation like this: 0.5 + 0.5 =1. It seems more logical. Two halves come together to form one whole. Hollywood appears to lean toward this solution. In the famous words of Jerry Maquire, “You complete me”. It sounds romantic, but think about it. Do you really want to be the partial person endlessly searching for your missing half? Or would you prefer the responsibility of being another person’s “completer?” Couples who adhere to this equation are looking to their spouse to fulfill them. They are looking for a savior. Take it from someone who has tried that approach - humans make terrible saviors! They fail us. They disappoint us. They do not make our broken parts whole like we wish they could.

1 + 1 = 2

Here is some good sound math. 1+1=2. I think people settle on this equation in an effort to hold on to their individuality. They don’t want to lose their identity in any relationship. These couples light the unity candle at their wedding but don’t blow out their own candles. In some areas of our marriage, we feel like this equation is an accurate summation. We are two very distinct individuals. Sometimes I ask myself, what was God thinking when he put us together? Our twoness frequently overshadows areas of unity. We see our combined humanity in this equation: two selfish people, two prideful people, and two separate people. Although the product of this equation looks larger, the end result is emptier. It can feel more like 1+1=0.

1 + 1 = 1

So, how can 1 + 1 equal 1? It doesn’t compute. This is not your average equation. Something supernatural is happening here! With God’s math we are all we were meant to be. We don’t bring less than our full self in order to somehow balance the equation, and we are not two people living separate lives. When we reflect on God’s mysterious math, we are thankful that somehow in his kingdom two whole people join together to become one whole unit. This does not happen over night, not even on a wedding night. We believe marriage is a pursuit of this oneness.


We like formulas: add this, subtract that and voila! If only it were that simple. When we look at our journey, we see how our strongest areas of union have come through our most difficult trials. Is that encouraging? Maybe not on the surface, but if you look a little deeper we trust you’ll find hope. Doing the hard work, crunching the budget numbers, calling a marriage counselor – each time we choose to face a tough situation together and each time we choose to talk things out instead of pretending, we take another step toward oneness.

Maybe James was talking to couples when he said: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Persevere in your marriage. Know that in every conflict there is potential for growth. As we come together through our challenges we mature. We become complete, not lacking, whole. Mysteriously, two become one.

Try This

Is there a trial you faced together that brought maturity to your marriage? Take time to celebrate!

How do your numbers add up? Check out daveramsey.com/fpu for a Financial Peace University class near you. It is worth the investment in your finances and your marriage.

Plan a quiet evening to have an honest conversation about one area in which you feel more like two and less like one.

(Our September article for Austin Faith & Family received some deep cuts for space...so I've included the entire draft here)

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Family Universe

Our article for the August Edition of Austin Faith and Family magazine also appeared in Bell County Family! We are excited to share our hearts with a new community.

This month is all about The Family Universe. How are things in your home? Does it feel like life revolves around the children? Or is your marriage at the center? Check out this online issue of Bell County Family. We are on page 11.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Grace to Your Mountain!

Years go my husband and I were facing a mountain of debt. Now some people find themselves in that kind of situation when there has been a job loss, sickness or hospital bills...that was not the case with us. We made this mess ourselves with our own poor management. It was embarrassing and intimidating. Things were dark in the shadow of that mountain.

But we swallowed our pride and signed up for Financial Peace class. We started to chip away at that mountain. Honestly it feels like you’ve got a toothpick. For several years we were chipping at this giant mountain with our little tiny toothpicks wondering will it ever go away??

But one day…we got a check in the mail…a big one.

That check swept away what remained of our debt mountain like it was just a little pile of dirt.

It was amazing!

We did nothing to deserve that money…we didn’t earn that money…it was a gift.
It was God’s grace to our mountain!

Zechariah 4:7 says ‘What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the finishing stone with shouts of "Grace, grace to it!"'"

Zerubbabel was facing a mountain, he was trying to build a temple for the Lord and there were lots of obstacles, there was a lot of opposition…but Zechariah prophesied that mountain would be leveled…the temple would be completed and the people would shout GRACE!

What a great word to shout!

I know that many of us are facing challenges today, and maybe it’s even a mess you that made. You might be saying " I don't deserve help with this." That is what God's scandalous grace is all about.

Today I want to shout:

GRACE to your mountain of shame.
GRACE to your mountain of debt.
GRACE to your mountain of pain.

Grace to the obstacles and opposition you experience in pursing God’s plan.

You can finish…there is victory…there is freedom and hope!

We are saved and our lives are truly changed by God’s great grace!

Friday, April 22, 2011

By His Stripes

He was wounded for our transgressions;

he was bruised for our iniquities (our guilt and sin)

The punishment that brought us peace was upon him;

and by his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

Two weeks ago in our Easter production, The Thorn, there was a scene where Jesus was being beaten. At one point he fell from the whipping post and the devil was taunting him…"haven’t you taken enough?.....just walk away." But Jesus got back up to take the full punishment, all 39 stripes. It brought tears to my eyes. I remembered this verse, by his stripes we are healed.

I was in Jr high when this verse first came alive to me. I was outside and I can’t remember exactly how it happened but I sprained my ankle. I went hopping on one foot to find my Mom, thinkin' we are going to have to go to the doctor, I won't be able to stand for our choir concert, this is awful! Now our family was new to this whole idea that the Bible is for today, and something came over my Mom! She grabbed my arm and said Lynn, we are going to pray, we are going to believe what God’s word says and you are going to be healed.

So right there in the driveway she started praying.

I’m in some serious pain. I’m crying…thinking my mom has lost it! But she prayed this verse, "Jesus you were wounded for us, you were bruised for us…you carried our diseases, you bore our pain….and by your stripes Lynn is healed today." There we were…praying and crying and limping around…in the front yard…I’m thinking My Mom is crazy….we should at least be in the back yard!

But it was amazing…the pain left…my ankle was never swollen and we couldn’t wait till my Dad came home from work so we could tell him what happened.

Jesus is our Healer! If you need physical healing… by His stripes you are healed. Maybe you need healing in your mind, or in your relationships…by His stripes you are healed!

Our God is a healer. He is faithful. He is still active on the earth …healing people Body, Mind and Soul. Today on Good Friday, we remember he was beaten for US and by His stripes our wounds are made whole.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Resurrection Life

We are in the middle of rehearsals for The Thorn and honestly, my family is exhausted. Our boys are acting in the production, my husband is assisting with technical needs and I’m the taxi driver, which as any mom knows can be quite taxing!

What an amazing retelling of the timeless story of our redemption. As I watched the practice, tears welled in my eyes and gratefulness flooded my heart. I remembered this truth:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now life in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

"Death and Resurrection" is no longer a theological concept that I simply choose to believe. It is very real to me. I lived in a tomb of my own making for several years. The pain of betrayal and the loneliness of the secret I kept shrouded my life in darkness. If you would have seen me then, you may have never known I was walking around mostly dead - going through the motions of life but feeling very little emotion. God met me in that place with the warmth of His love. He softened my cold heart and planted a seed of faith.

When I see Jesus emerging from the tomb, I see me. I’m alive, because God breathed His life into me. I’m still standing because He strengthened me. I see those grave clothes falling from His arms and I know I am no longer bound. I’ve been set free! I’m moving forward with hope for the future.

Sometimes I just have to stop and take a Long, Slow, Deep Breath. And then another. And then another. It feels so good to be ALIVE!

How has God breathed His resurrection life into your life?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Space Between Us

Conflict visits every relationship like a salesperson at dinner time. Who wants that?

We share what we've learned about conflict in the March issue of Austin Faith & Family and talk about the SPACE between us.

Look for our Journey for Two article "The Space Between Us" on page 15

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Super Moon Tonight

March 19th, 2011 - TONIGHT - our moon will appear 14% bigger and 30% brighter than it has in 18 years. So get outside and look up.
Click to read more about this Perigee moon.


I was thinking last night, as I was enjoying the stars out on my patio, what would it feel like if the sky were empty. No moon, no stars....no clouds...just vast, dark emptiness.

How would that feel? (Lonely)

It made me wonder, perhaps, if those things are not painted across the sky simply to remind us that we are NOT alone.

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Is 40:26

There is something, Someone above us. Earth is wrapped in the beautiful, breath-taking blanket of the universe. And even though we have mapped out the stars, and charted the phases of the moon, this blanket is ever-changing. Our skies are predictable but never the same. Somethings are constant - Orion in Winter. and the Bear in Spring. Yet, no sunrise, no evening sky is ever the same. There is always new beauty to behold. Factor in the Hubble Space Telescope and there is seemingly no end the the glory ABOVE us.

I see a portrait of God when I look up. Constant and steady.....yet surprisingly NEW every morning. I think He painted the sky scape to help us wrap our minds around this improbable dichotomy. Don't miss it tonight!

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,

which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

human beings that you care for them? Psalm 8:3-4

Thank you Adrian Gutierrez for your gorgeous moon photo!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Baseball, America and You

I needed an escape the other night so I grabbed one of my boy's book and filled up the tub. The great thing about junior fiction is that it only takes a hour or so to finish a book and they are usually quite refreshing! In The Year Of The Boar And Jackie Robinson, by Bettte Bao Lord is the story of a young Chinese girl, who immigrated to the U.S. and found a sense of belonging through baseball. Her teacher Mrs Rappaport had this to say about the sport and her new home:

"In our national pastime, each player is a member of a team, but when he comes to bat, he stands alone. One man. Many opportunities. For no matter how far behind, how late in the game, he, by himself, can make a difference. He can change what has been. He can make it a new ball game.

"In the life of our nation, each man is a citizen of the United States, but he has the right to pursue his own happiness. For no matter what his race, religion or creed, be he pauper or president, he has the right to speak his mind, to live as he wishes within the law, to elect our officials and stand for office, to excel. To make a difference. To change what has been. To make a better America."

The main character, Shirley was so inspired by her teacher's speech. The author goes on to say "Shirley felt as if the walls of the classroom had vanished. In their stead was a frontier of doors to which she held the keys."

Each one of us holds a set of keys and there are doors that need unlocking. There in the tub with my pruney toes, I wondered if I am making the most of my turn at bat. I've always found comfort in the whole, in being part of the team. Standing out there all alone at the plate looks so scary. Mrs Rappaport inspired ME to see the opportunity and not the pressure. I'm on deck. Practicing my swing.

What will you do when it is your turn at bat? Do you believe that one individual can indeed make a difference?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What CAN You Expect?

Our February article for Austin Faith and Family Magazine is available online - just in time for Valentines day! We talk about diamonds & expectations. Our expectations are often unrealistic. They can be misplaced. But they can also be very healthy! So, what CAN you expect?

Click on the link and look for the Journey for Two column on page 16!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

In His Pasture - Finding Rest In Worship

So come, let us worship: bow before him, on your knees before God, who made us! Oh yes, he's our God, and we're the people he pastures, the flock he feeds. Psalm 95:6-7 MSG

Everyday, I drive by a small pasture filled with cattle. Everyday it's the same. The cows just walk and eat. Eat and walk. They seem pretty oblivious to all the humans rushing past on our way to somewhere. Everything they could think of needing is right there in the pasture.

I wonder what it looks like to be the "the people God pastures"? I bet we would move slower.

The Psalmist continues: Drop everything and listen, listen as he speaks: "Don't turn a deaf ear as in the Bitter Uprising, As on the day of the Wilderness Test, when your ancestors turned and put me to the test. For forty years they watched me at work among them, as over and over they tried my patience. And I was provoked—oh, was I provoked! 'Can't they keep their minds on God for five minutes? Do they simply refuse to walk down my road?' Exasperated, I exploded, 'They'll never get where they're headed, never be able to sit down and rest.'" Psalm 95:7-11

I think of those Hebrew children, fresh out of Egypt and how their hearts had a longing to worship. So much so, that they fashioned a golden cow. We ARE worshippers. But we are worshippers with a choice. Are we going to bow before our Maker? Or chose to worship some shinier version of ourselves - the cow that finally made it with wealth, position and power?

There is no end to that worship. There are always greener pastures, right? Another cow across the fence who appears to be feasting on sweeter grass.

But....if we drop everything, drop everything and listen, come and bow before the Lord our Maker in worship...that is where we find blessed REST.

Come join us for worship, communion and REST....This Wednesday February 2nd at Shoreline Church in Austin, TX. You can also watch online at www.shoreline.net/live 7pm cst.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Under the Shadow - But Out of the Nest

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
Psalm 57:1

I've always pictured a mother hen with her little chicks tucked safely in the nest and under her wings when I read this passage. I know there is a hiding place we find in God. A refuge from the storms of life. That sounds like a stationary place, a singlular location. And frankly, I like the nest. It's warm and cozy. "Safe" is such a good feeling!

But as I was driving through the neighborhood this week, I noticed two large birds soaring over the pastureland and something shifted for me. With their great wings outstretched they cast quite a shadow on the grass below, and that shadow moved. It was not stationary at all, it was in constant motion.

Like birds hovering overhead, the LORD Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it. Isaiah 31:5

I see God hovering over me, shielding me....AS I MOVE. It's a little scary, but maybe it's time to leave the warmth of the nest. It's time to venture out into the world, trusting that we are still under His shadow.

Remember Genesis? "the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters..." It was with His Spirit in that hovering position that God began the process of creation. The nest is a place of recovery, but the hovering shadow is a place of creation. What is He creating in me?

And God said "Let there be....and it was so."

Where do you see yourself? Safely tucked in the nest? Or out under the hovering shadow?

(A special thank you to Wild Leek Photography for use of your picture "Mother's Wing".)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow Steps

It's 2 below today is Bismarck, ND; with a 60 percent chance of snow. Brrrr.

I grew up in those Dakota winters. Got up each morning (with the help of my father's voice booming down to my basement bedroom) to deliver the local newspaper door to door. I can picture myself trudging through the snow in my moon boots with The Bismarck Tribune on my back. It was manageable, aside from the Sunday edition which could get pretty hefty. This is probably the root cause of each of my spinal subluxations.

There is something so beautiful about freshly fallen snow, tiny crystals piled up like a sparkling white blanket to cover the dead frozen ground. It's breath-taking. When the temperatures really dip that happens - it will take your breath away! We were always careful to bundle up and breathe through a scarf. I miss the snow, but I sure don't miss the cold.

I remember a game we used to play in our backyard. My daddy would shuttle-step through the snow to create a giant wheel. Then he would add spokes to the wheel and in the center was the home-base hub. The game was called Fox and Goose and the "fox" would chase all the "geese" around the circle. Inside the hub was safety. The critical part was to stay in the snow path that Dad had created with his foot steps. Any steps outside the spokes were easy to spot and you were "caught".

It's much less work, especially when the snow is deep, to walk inside the snow steps that someone else has created. My parents did that for us. They plowed the way through the snow in the backyard and they plowed the way in knowing Christ, in trusting God, in living a life of faith.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,
And He delights in his way.
Psalm 27:23
Check out the pronouns in that second phrase "He" delights. That is a capital "H". God delights in our steps. The steps that He has ordered for our lives. Lovely, isn't it? God delights in laying out a path before us. He delights when we say "show me the way wherein I should walk". He delights when we create a path that others could follow in and find safety.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Commitment to Change..Together

Our second article for Austin Faith and Family magazine is now available!
Click on the January magazine cover to open the online version.
Our Journey For Two column is on page 18 - Commitment to Change...Together