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/ 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?