Jesus’ Watch: Small Groups :)

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One of my all time favorite platforms to recognize Jesus is in small groups, Bible studies & prayer groups. And it seems logical that this would be true based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:20 when He says, “Where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there in their midst.” Some of the things I love about these settings are:

  • Robust conversations about Jesus from various points of view. Different perspectives help me see & experience Jesus in fresh & new ways.
  • Prayer support in the group.
  • Recognizing Jesus words, presence, power, wisdom & loads more, like when Jesus walked along the Emmaus’ road & talked with His followers even though they didn’t recognize Him in those moments.
  • Seeing the Fruits of the Spirit in first person experience because there’s always some kind of conflict or rub whenever you bring people together πŸ™‚

Let’s be sure to keep some fellowship with other followers of Jesus as part of our essentials routines!

Who’s Missing???

Every year, I make the Christmas season super fun by posting pictures & writing blogs about finding Jesus. I do this because I think it’s far too easy to lose track of why we celebrate Christmas with all of the festivities, hustle & bustle of the season. So I’m continuing my tradition this year & hopefully, these blogs will help you look for Jesus in places & times you’d not normally think of.
Let’s be sure to find Jesus everyday of this Christmas season no matter how busy we get or the responsibilities that we carry! Looking for Jesus in quotidian living!

Jesus Comes in All Sizes :)

I saw a mini-Jesus today & it was a nice reminder that Jesus isn’t limited to any size. Sometimes in the Christmas season we see Jesus as a baby in a manger & we can think that He’s small. On Good Friday, we see Jesus hanging on a cross & dying. Let’s remember that Jesus rose from the dead & His presence fills the earth, regardless of His humble birth.

Here are some possible applications for us today:
There’s no situation in our lives that Jesus cannot resolve
There’s no lack that Jesus cannot fill
There’s no death that Jesus cannot resurrect

Jesus comes in all sizes, so let’s not allow our expectations to limit His engagement throughout our lives!

Merry Christmas!!

  
Today, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, when humanity began a new trajectory with God’s love expressed to us through Jesus’ life. It always takes my breath away when I consider that God became flesh & started His journey like every single human, as a newborn baby. Furthermore, despite being the Son of God, Jesus’ first bed was an animal feeding trough & His mom was a teenage girl, unwed & common, except for her trust & faith in God. 
I pray that your day is overflowing with God’s love & Jesus’ presence! Merry Christmas to you, a Savior is born to us today!

Hot Topic: Final Countdown

  
We are on the homestretch with this lovely Christmas season & this makes me happy, today. There have been years when I found myself wrapping packages at 11:30pm on Christmas Eve, on the verge of an emotional meltdown, feeling overwhelmed with the work I still had to do and no time. Sometimes I can struggle with some procrastination challenges – hmmmmmm
Final countdown modes can help us be hyper-productive. But I think there’s better value in steady and consistent work than massive bursts of energy with stress and pressure. 

Here are some things to think about for steady and consistent:

  • Let’s be consistent with love, particularly with the people who get on our nerves
  • Let’s be steady with healthy daily routines: eating, working out, drinking water, etc
  • Let’s stay consistent with growing and improving ourselves in wisdom
  • The most important thing for our consistency is maintaining our daily Bible & prayer time – nothing keeps us from drowning or being a victim to devotion than this discipline 

Have an awesome Wednesday!

Keep Fresh ,)

There were a few years when my parents bought a fresh tree for Christmas. Unfortunately, we didn’t stick the stump in a bucket of water so it quickly became a fire hazard, a delight to my dad & me, since we were both pyromaniacs ,)
By the grace of God & only God, we never burned down our house, with a few close calls. 

So keeping things fresh is important & here are some suggestions:

  • Keep your mistakes fresh & new – stale & repeat mistakes aren’t helpful
  • Forgiveness needs to stay fresh – crusty forgiveness usually becomes brittle & broken
  • Love Jesus with fresh ideas – routines can help us be consistent but fresh & present love keeps us intimate with Jesus & sometimes the best way to love Jesus is to love people well
  • Fresh thinking is helpful for resolving old problems – consider reading some books that you don’t normally read
  • Fun friends – meeting new people can be challenging & rewarding; consider some extra listening & open heart to make fresh connections with new friends πŸ™‚

Let’s keep fresh & perky πŸ™‚

Jesus & Gladiators

  
During Christmas, we celebrate Jesus’ birth & we think of Him as a baby born in a manger. I don’t often think of Jesus as a warrior during Christmas, but He is very much a warrior. Consider a few ways that Jesus fights:

  • Prince of Peace – in a season that can be full of anxiety & pressure, let’s be sure that we embrace Jesus as our Prince of Peace
  • Intercessor – Paul says that Jesus intercedes for us (Rom 8:34), standing in the gap & fighting on our behalf
  • Triumphant over death – Rom 6:5
  • Passes along His victory to us – 1Cor 15:57

Jesus was most certainly a baby in a manger, but He’s also our victorious Gladiator πŸ™‚

Catcher’s Mask

  
You probably don’t think that Jesus would be behind a catcher’s mask – seems very random. However, there can be some fun parallels to think about as the Christmas season possibly heads into frenzy mode for some of us. 
A catcher’s mask is protective gear that a baseball catcher wears so he can safely catch whatever a pitcher throws – very helpful with wild pitches to be sure. 

  • No matter what we throw at Jesus, He doesn’t duck away in fear or shame

A catcher’s mask let’s the catcher keep focused on the ball without getting smashed in the face. 

  • I’m grateful that Jesus stays focused on what’s important in my life & can handle all kinds of pitches & prayers that I throw out to Him

Something interesting to think about, a catcher tells the pitcher what to throw, based on the batter at the plate. 

  • Let’s be sure to let Jesus guide our steps for each occasion & not just fall into mindless ruts & routines. A pitcher & catcher working in synch together can be an unbeatable combination. 

When we have to pitch, let’s be sure that Jesus is our catcher & guides what we do: sinker, slider, fastball, curve & change up ,)

Remote Control

  
When my husband & I watch tv together, it’s an interesting adventure. If he drives, it seems that we wind up watching nothing to a conclusion. If I drive, we see too many commercials. Thankfully, we both enjoy watching sports & this helps us find some middle ground that we both enjoy πŸ™‚
But before there were remote controls for changing the volume & channels on TV, we used to physically get up & turn the knob to adjust the volume or watch something different – a more tactile & active exercise than the modern remote control evolution. 

Let’s be sure, however, that we give Jesus “remote control” in our lives. Indeed, let’s allow Jesus to work in our lives so that we watch & focus on the things that are most pleasing to Him. Let’s allow Jesus to drive ,)

Jesus Take the Wheel

  
I’ve been saving this picture because it’s one of my favorites! Whenever I see this picture, I chuckle because it’s funny to me that Jesus would take over the steering wheel & start driving – which in reality would be the best case scenario for me & everyone in my life. 
It’s in my best interest for Jesus to have control of my life, full stop. 

What this looks like practically is:

  • Asking for God’s direction / input when I’m making decisions
  • Letting God control the pace of my life – not being driven to achieve & not stalling to be obedient
  • Being intentional throughout each day to walk in cadence with the Holy Spirit so I don’t give into fleshy challenges

Let’s make sure that we let Jesus take the wheel!

I Got the Power!

 
Currently in Denver we are having a blizzard & some people have lost power in their house. Thankfully, Jesus always has power available to us! 

There are always times & seasons in our lives where we are weak, frail, tired, frazzled & infirm. These times & areas aren’t really shocking because these things go with being human. When we integrate Jesus into our daily living, we integrate supernatural power, strength & help!  

Jesus gives us power to go through challenges & live in victory & not weakness or frailty!

Jesus & MaintenanceΒ 

 
There are lots of things that need regular maintenance: changing oil in the car, laundry, tooth brushing, cleaning the kitchen etc. I also think there’s good value in thinking of our spiritual life with a mindset of regular maintenance. What I love about keeping our spiritual life well oiled is that the dividends always exceed the investment. Whatever time, energy & presence I give to God is always returned to me with supernatural generosity. 

  • God’s presence is always more satisfying than the presence I give to God – praying is super essential!
  • Spending time in the Bible is beneficial in our hearts & souls, helping our thoughts , emotions & decisions
  • Experiencing God in community pays huge rewards, helping us to sense God in fresh & challenging ways

Heating Up or Chilling Out??

  
   Since we talked yesterday about Jesus putting out fires in our lives, it seems fitting today that we would talk about staying chilled & frosty. Various times of the year seem to have lots of stress & pressure – December frequently far exceeding my red zone capacity. So seeing Jesus chillin’ in a freezer by a gallon of ice cream helps me to remember to offload some steam & it reminds me to make choices about stress & worry. 

Some helpful things to remember that Jesus said:

“Come to Me all you who are heavy laden & I will give you rest”

“My peace I leave you, not as the world gives”

“In this world you will have tribulations but I have overcome the world”

Heating Up or Chilling Out??

  
   Since we talked yesterday about Jesus putting out fires in our lives, it seems fitting today that we would talk about staying chilled & frosty. Various times of the year seem to have lots of stress & pressure – December frequently far exceeding my red zone capacity. So seeing Jesus chillin’ in a freezer by a gallon of ice cream helps me to remember to offload some steam & it reminds me to make choices about stress & worry. 

Some helpful things to remember that Jesus said:

“Come to Me all you who are heavy laden & I will give you rest”

“My peace I leave you, not as the world gives”

“In this world you will have tribulations but I have overcome the world”

Putting out Fires

  
Recently, I torched a pan of bacon: flames, smoke, noxious fumes, baking powder, etc. Of course I was absentmindedly sitting at the counter absorbed in my phone & eating breakfast when my astute & gentle son observed smoke coming from the oven. Long story made short, my husband bailed me out, for the umpteenth time & no one was hurt, except for the oven window getting shattered. My husband knew well enough to put out the fire by taking away its oxygen & not pouring water on a grease fire. 
Thankfully, Jesus knows how to put out the various fires in our lives. Sometimes relationship can nuke us, sometimes we get burned out from our workload & sometimes we can be fried from the demands & busyness of the Christmas season. 

I’m grateful that Jesus soothes my soul, sustains my heart, nurtures & waters the various purposes of my life. 

Wheels on the Bus

In preschool, my kids sang a song about the wheels on the bus going round & round; the horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep; the wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish . . . . I thought it was a stupid song because it was mundane & didn’t really have anything catchy about it.  But my kids are teenagers now & I’m still singing “the wheels on the bus”, so there must be something sticky to the song or I’d not be humming the tune mindlessly on any given day. 

And the truth be known, I find myself humming this tune when I get stressed out about a situation or get panicky about what the future might look like. This song reminds me that Jesus is incarnate & left us with the Holy Spirit who keeps the wheels on my bus spinning round & round so I can continue to move forward with God’s plan for my life. 

A schmaltzy tune & very mundane reminding me of God’s very daily & integrated presence into my earthy existence πŸ™‚

Giving Joy!!!

  

I remember when my first child was born & the total joy that infused all of my thoughts (after the birthing process, of course). Even though most of my kids are teenagers, I still find myself overflowing with joy when I think about them. 

In stark contrast, I’ve also been with parents who have lost their baby or toddler & the grief that I feel with them is intrusive & tangible, lingering in my thoughts & feelings to this day.

So I’m asking you to give the gift of joy this Christmas by helping us with our Christmas campaign for Saving Moses. We are taking on a special project to train community workers in rural Afghanistan to go into remote communities & teach safe delivery procedures for birthing babies. Easily 3/5 babies born in these areas die at birth, most from very easily preventable causes. One of the dads that was interviewed after receiving this training explained that he buried four of his own babies because he didn’t have this training. 

Even though we are seeing radical Muslims come into our nation with evil intent let’s counteract the evil by sending genuine love & joy to bring life into the world surrounded with love rather than hate πŸ™‚

Christmas Presence

  
If you look carefully at this picture, you’ll see that Jesus is inside a transparent “box”, made to look like a present. And it’s not a stretch for us to see Jesus as God’s present to us. John 3:16 comes to mind with God loving & giving Jesus to us. 
But let’s think about this in another way: perhaps Jesus modeled for us God’s core desire – presence equals present or gift. 

When we give God our presence, this is one the greatest presents we can give God. Of course money, serving & worship are vital gifts that we give to God, but giving God our presence is the expression of whole hearted love. Let’s be sure to make time in this busy season to be present with God πŸ™‚

Heavy Lifting

  
Ever feel like sometimes life can be too heavy or even overwhelming? I find that I go through various seasons & experiences that can exceed my wisdom, strength & capacity – I think that perhaps this could be divine design. At the end of the story, we aren’t created to do life effectively without God being integrated into our lives. 
So let’s be sure that we let Jesus carry our world because He absolutely has the whole world in His hands. So what are the burdens or weights in your life that you could put in Jesus’ hands? Let’s be very clear that nothing in your life is too heavy, complicated or overwhelming for Jesus!

Jesus Lays in the Chips

  
Chips are fun things to think about. Chips can be potatoe chips, game or gambling chips, wood chips & lots more. At the core meaning of the word “chip”, is the idea of part of a whole or a fragment. And Jesus is the glue that brings all of the fragments & pieces of our lives into a semblance of completion & whole. When I think about the pieces, parts & “chips” of my life, I can get discouraged & even overwhelmed. 
But I love what Paul says at the end of Col 1:17, in Him all things hold together! So let’s bring to Jesus all the broken pieces & chips in our lives so He can make us well & whole πŸ™‚

Looking for Jesus in this season!!