Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sunday's Spark Notes

We continued our series, Vision 2015, this week. Wesley’s message was all about obedience. Getting nervous?

Let’s look at Acts 7:54-8:1 and Acts 9:1-22

Acts 7 we see Stephen addressing the Sanhedrin (Jewish leaders-ruling class), calling them out for rebelling like their forefathers, killing messengers that God sent (including JESUS!), and idolizing the temple rather than focusing on worshipping God. The Sanhedrin were enraged (didn’t see that coming) and they stoned Stephen to death. We are then introduced to Saul of Tarsus, who approved of Stephen’s death.

Let’s fast forward to Acts 9. Jesus knocks Saul off his horse while riding to Damascus and says “you’re done doing what you’ve been doing. Now you’re going to get with what I’ve been doing.” Whoa (talk about subtle). Saul also loses his sight during this encounter. We are then introduced to a man name Ananias. Jesus tells Ananias to go find Saul, heal him, clothe him, board him, and help Saul regain his strength. WHAT?! The Lord wants Ananias to help the man who tried to wipe out followers of Jesus. Christians. Genocide. Ananias. Saul. Obedience.

Ananias obeyed The Lord (not without reservation). By verse 22 we see Saul proclaiming Jesus’ name! How does this happen? Saul is killing Christians and then 3 days later he is proclaiming Jesus’ name!? Again, how does this happen? The obedience of the people of God.

Saul was able to see how God’s people lived, loved, and opened their arms to the worst kind of sinner. That kind of love is transforming. Because of Ananias’ obedience to God we see the transformation from Saul to Paul. Ananias’ obedience was much more than just caring for a sick man.

Wesley stressed that our obedience in the hands of a sovereign God can change the world.  Obedience looks a lot like us opening our arms to those we wouldn’t normally “roll” with- the worst kind of sinner. I know it is uncomfortable, but if we don’t engage the darkest of sinners, we are not being obedient. There is a group of people dying because the Church is too lazy to engage those around us. Surrendering to God’s Lordship like that can go global!
So, one question remains.  How does God get His people to obey Him?
God gets His people to obey Him by casting a vision of what He will do with our obedience.  Obey God and He will use that obedience to do amazing things in the lives around us, just like He used the obedience of Stephen and Ananias to shape Saul into the man who wrote the majority of the New Testament.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sunday's Spark Notes

Last week we started off the New Year by spending the month of January revealing how we believe God has called us to continue fulfilling our churches vision in 2015, things that are important to our church because they are important in the scriptures. It’s called… wait for it… Vision 2015! Catchy, right? Straight to the point, the way I like it!

Last week we talked about church membership and how important it is to be plugged into a local body of believers where we can pull together our resources to further God’s Kingdom here on Earth. To have community and accountability as we wait for Jesus’ second coming.

Yesterday we talked about prayer (Luke 11:1-13). What if we’ve been praying all wrong?! Then how do we pray if we have been praying all wrong? Luke 11 tells us how.
In Luke 11:1 have you ever noticed how odd it is that Jesus’ disciples wanted Jesus to show them how to pray. These are men who have been raised to KNOW the first five books of the Bible by heart. This was their schooling, it wasn’t an extracurricular class. Prayer is something they should know a little bit about. Who am I kidding? They should know A LOT about prayer. If their confidence in prayer was shaken because they heard and saw Jesus pray, shouldn’t we take a second look into our prayers and how we are praying?
Luke 11:2-4 Jesus shows us how to pray. Yep. You got it! It’s the Lord ’s Prayer. Prayer is supposed to be theocentric. God centered. Not me and my stuff. Let’s dissect verses 2-4. This is going to be fun!
And He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.

(Your Glory- May Your kingdom come- May You be made much of!)
Give us each day our daily bread,

(Give me everything I need today to hallow Your name- rather than running back to my sinful desires!)
and forgive us our sins,

(God forgives sins for His namesake- that men will worship Him for His goodness!) 
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.

(When we forgive those who have wronged us- who gets the credit/glory? GOD! He empowers us to forgive those who have wronged us!)
And lead us not into temptation.”

(We model Christ when we abstain from our temptations-gossiping, social media, neglecting marriages, lust, greed, etc- Who gets the credit from us abstaining from our temptations? GOD!)
There is so much more on Luke 11:1-13. I can’t fit it all into one post (I guess I could, but you probably would be sick of reading it!). I encourage you to go the REVO church website to hear more!
We’ll never pray theocentric prayers unless we develop a theocentric orientation and begin to love God above all things; and when we begin to desire others to love Him as well. Here are a few passages to meditate on that may help us see the glorious reality of who God is so that we may fall in love with Him.
Isaiah 40, Psalm 84 & 86
Our city will not know Jesus unless we pray theocentric prayers for 2015. That’s how we will spark a revolution of life change through Jesus!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Asking for Forgiveness

I am so blessed to be a parent. I learn something everyday! Not because I'm awesome and always get it right the first time, or that I apply all the knowledgeable information I read in parenting books. No. I learn so much from my 3 year old!

The other day Ava spilled her water on the floor in the living room, having an evening snack and movie. She quietly walked into the kitchen and with the biggest eyes and softest voice I heard...

"Daddy, do you forgive me?"

We were confused at first, and then she added the bit about the water spill.

Another instance (because there can never be just one), Ava had ripped the gas bill to shreds and stuffed it in a little box that she laid on the table (there really wasn't a need to freak out because of the internet these days and how everything is online, but I just like to hold paper in my hands while I still can). As soon as I opened the box I heard...

"Do you forgive me?"

My heart melted both times. I searched my memory bank trying to recall where she heard those sweet words. Where has she seen it? From whom did she learn it? Unfortunately, and regrettably, I am a poor teacher. I am still trying to say "I'm sorry." My "sorry's" are drawn out with no eye contact and maybe the words are being said through gritted teeth more often that not. Very rarely do I add, "Do you forgive me?"!

She learned all about asking forgiveness from her father. Not because he sat her down one day and said this is going to be our lesson for today. No. He taught her by the way he lives, the way he loves her mother, and the way he loves her. Her father is quick to say "I'm sorry" without gritting or looking away. She has a great model of the Gospel and Christ's love for us and others.

We are both so blessed to have such and amazing man of God in our lives. And you will be comforted to know that my "sorry's" aren't as torturous as they once were. Little children aren't the only ones who are teachable.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Grievig Italy

Wesley left for Italy on Monday. Surprisingly I am not as upset as I thought I would be, partly because I have already grieved over every scenario possible.

From the moment I found out Wesley would be going to Italy, I cried. I cried hard. Every. Day. I cried for the things that could happen to him (that probably wouldn’t). I cried for the places and people I wouldn’t see. I cried for the lack of control I had for his well-being (for some reason I felt I could make sure the pilot was as careful as he could be just by being a passenger. Hilarious, I know). I cried for the food I wouldn’t get to eat.

I grieved.

I grieved for a lost husband that I still could hold. I grieved for a little girl who wouldn’t know how great her father is. I grieved for the culture I wouldn’t see. I grieved for the people I wouldn’t get to hug (I love to hug and cuddle, and I hear Italy is the place to go if you love being close to people). I grieved for the History I wouldn’t see and feel with my hands. I grieved for ridiculous (some more than others) reasons.

I prayed.

I prayed Philippians 4 every day. I read Philippians 4 every day. I wanted that passage to be ingrained into my being. I wanted to only think about Jesus’ peace. I wanted only Jesus’ peace. I wanted Jesus’ strength. I needed Jesus’ strength.

When the time came to drop Wesley off at the airport I thought I would lose it. I thought I would need to pull over and cry because I wouldn’t be able to see the road. I thought I wouldn’t be able to breathe from snot bubbles bursting (this happens to you too!). I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat or enjoy anything this week.

I was wrong.

I was wrong about everything. Jesus sent His peace. I took all of my worries and prayed about them. It was (and still is) the most amazing feeling. When I dropped him off I was fine. Fine. Not one single tear dropped from my eyes. It was amazing. It was freeing. It was peace. It was Jesus.
“6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus… 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:6-7, 13

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Luxuries: The (almost) impossible one for me to give up

I read an article the other day about how to cut your grocery budget in half. The article caught my interest and got me thinking about food luxuries. I never thought about cheese, honey, or good coffee being luxuries! These were always in stock at my parent’s house growing up so I never thought twice about these items when creating a grocery budget for my small family of three.

*Side Note*
Growing up I never learned how to create a budget; my parents were always there to give me what I needed. I had a small part time job but when I was going to school they paid for everything. I was extremely blessed to have such great parents! But I had no sense of a budget or how to go by one, so when I got married and started my own family with our own budget, it was a rude awakening for me.
*End Side Note*

This morning as I was eating my biscuit smothered in honey, I started thinking about that article (and the fact that I am running low on honey-shucks!). I was thinking about how hard it would be to give up honey. I was thinking about how sad that little bear’s face will be when I don’t get him out of the cupboard as much. I was thinking about how much I love honey. I was thinking, “is this a product I can stuff into my grocery budget?”

Having a budget has made me more conscience about how I spend money. For instance, when we go out to eat and spend $20+, was that Chinese take-out really worth it (okay let’s get real- Chinese take-out is always worth it!)? In all seriousness, there has been a time or two (or twenty) that I could’ve used that $20+ plus to get a week’s worth of breakfast or lunch food.

 Not only do I love honey, but I am rather fond of cheese and not just block cheese, all kinds of cheeses! [According to the article] Cheeses are also luxury items when it comes to groceries, so we cut back from buying five different cheeses to two (Colby and mozzarella) and the savings are substantial! I can use those cheeses for the things I cook the most. I encourage you to take an inventory of your groceries and see if there are any ways you can save! (I wasn’t able to find the article so I could post it for you- sorry!)

So, after much consideration and staring at that cute honey bear face, I have made the decision that honey is a luxury that will no longer be a luxury but a staple in our pantry.




Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mirror Mirror

Ava takes any chance she can to look at herself in a mirror (a little something she learned from her father).  The other day while sitting on the potty (with no success) she asks for my hand mirror. After a few minutes of talking to herself, she gets tired of holding the mirror and in slow motion I see the mirror fall to the floor. I unfortunately was too slow (shocking, I know) and the mirror shattered. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that is was 7 years bad luck, so I just told her 7 minutes (what child really has a concept of time anyway). Meanwhile I am still serving my 42 year-bad-luck sentence. If my parents were as brilliant as me… I would have been “free” 41 years 364 days 23 hours and 18 minutes ago.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

What have I married into?

A recent conversation Wesley and I had about his favorite holiday.

Me: “Are you going to plant a tree for Arbor Day?” If any of you knew Wesley is college, he was a non-showering-frisbee throwing-tree hugging-hippie. Jokingly, asking him if he was going to participate in the “hippie” holiday, as I like to call it.

To my surprise he responded,

“Yeah, I think I will. I like Arbor Day. I think I am going to plant a Japanese maple.” I don’t know why I was surprised.

Me: “Hey I love Japanese maples! They are so pretty!”

Wesley: “They look a lot like weed…”

Me: “NO they do not! They have a burgundy color and have pretty leaves… they don’t look like weed leaves.”

Wesley: “I know what a Japanese maple looks like, we had them in our backyard when we lived in Columbia.”

Me: “Then you should know that they don’t look like weed leaves!”

Wesley: “Have you ever seen a weed leaf?”

Me: “Well, no. Have you?”

Wesley: “Yeah, we had them in our backyard when we lived in Columbia.”

What have I married into? The drug Cartel family perhaps…

*Clearly, Wesley was joking and I don’t know anyone who is involved with the Cartel, and even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you… I might get shot…