Christmas Shopping

Do you have people for whom it’s very difficult to buy gifts? What do you get the person who has everything? Or even more importantly, what do we give Jesus in this Christmas season?
Here are a few ideas:
Presents – the Wise Men brought Jesus gold, frankincense & myrrh, gifts befitting a King, from the resources they had. Let’s be generous with our resources!
Fame – the shepherds, upon finding Jesus lying in a manger, went out & spread the news about His birth & heavens announcement to them via the angles. Let’s be committed to promoting Jesus more than anything or anyone else!
Presence – never diminish the truth that Jesus enjoys your company, so don’t overlook the pauses & moments throughout this season to give your attention & your self to Jesus 🙂

Thanks Dad!

  

My dad died a few years ago & almost everyday I continue to enjoy his generosity because he gave me his car when he was no longer able to drive. This car is generally reliable & super safe so I’m thinking that my daughter might acquire it when she’s able to drive. My dads generosity has kept me going & moving forward for much of my life. 
This has made me think about my Heavenly Father, who helps me everyday to make progress & move forward, in all kinds of ways. My Heavenly Father helps me: 

  • when I get scared, want to hunker down & stop moving
  • to move forward with wisdom & not just reaction
  • with decisions that lead to progress rather than stagnation
  • in taking steps of all sizes, reminding me that you can’t steer a parked car

How would your Heavenly Father help you today to move forward, go someplace & make progress?  

Consider that the Holy Spirit, our Heavenly Help, helps us know that we are children of or Heavenly Father – Rom 8:16 🙂

The Endless Gift

We opened Christmas presents this morn & it’s always a blast to watch the kids get so ramped up about plaid bath robes & beaver slippers 🙂 But we know that soon enough, the new-ness buzz wears off & perhaps this Summer I’ll find one of the beaver slippers in the sandbox in the back yard.
One of the things I love about Jesus is that He’s always new & I am continually discovering wonderful things about Him that cause my wonder & awe for Him to always stay fresh. I pray that your awareness & awe of Jesus stays fresh throughout each day. Jesus is the ultimate Endless Gift. Merry Christmas!!

ever feel impatient?

 Recently, I’ve been somewhat frustrated with one of my friends because they’ve made some very silly decisions that have had some fairly negative consequences.  I find myself being impatient with my friend & wanting them to change.  I’m trying to watch the words that I say to my friend, so that I don’t hurt their feelings due to my impatience.  So far, here’s my impatience insights:

  • if impatience is left unchecked, it can be very destructive
  • impatience isn’t only related to our words, but it also can affect our attitudes & actions, so that even if we don’t say anything, we must still remain vigilant against even its subtle expression
  • sometimes it helps to talk about how we feel, but its important to be responsible for our own feelings & not give someone else control of how we may feel or act
  • sometimes the best antidote to impatience is a slow, intentional & methodical application of patience
  • James 1:4 – let patience have her perfect work so that you may be mature & complete.  Give patience permission to work in your life 🙂

Meeting Powerful People

We visited the Cubal malnutrition clinic today & this has brought back some difficult memories from our visit last year, when Angelina died even though we had donated blood to help her improve. I visited the same room as well as others & met some very wonderful moms & grandmothers. Many of these women are nothing less than heroes. Yesterday I met a grandma who was vigilantly watching over her granddaughter. The grandmother is very uneducated but her tenacity & fight to help her granddaughter to live is something I won’t forget. There is a rugged & timeless determination in her cloudy eyes to keep her grand daughter alive, perhaps due to the many family deaths through which she has already lived.
Saving Moses is bringing life, hope & future to Angola – I experienced this today.

loving people

There’s lots to be said on the topic of loving people: we should love people, sometimes its hard to be loving, love isn’t merely a feeling, love is generous, there are many ways to express love, etc. 

I used to think that it was necessary for me to first experience God’s love before I could love people.  Lately, I’ve been thinking about this idea in a different way.  In my better moments, I know that God loves me & of course this helps me to love people.  However, in those times when I’m not sensing God’s love to me, its important to love people – even when it takes some faith & extra grit to be loving.  Indeed, the Bible says that faith works by love.  Faith & love are inter-connected.  So here’s something that I’ve been experiencing:  when I’m genuinely loving, I experience God’s love.  Perhaps the resolution of my deficiency of love starts with me being loving & giving love 🙂

Here’s a teaching I did recently on loving people:

ever question your purpose?

At some point in each of our lives, we ask the question, “What’s my purpose?  Why am I on earth?”  I think this is a universal human question & there are lots of ways to answer this line of questioning, but here’s a simple approach that God has been dealing w me on of late:

I believe that a significant reason that I’m alive is to raise the awareness of Jesus in my world.  Raising this awareness happens in a VARIETY of ways:

  • sometimes through a direct conversation, helping someone see God’s hand moving in their life, asking a question that helps a person reach out to Jesus, praying for a person when they express a need, . . . . .
  • sometimes through an act of kindness, a smile, a friendly gesture, an encouraging word, letting someone go in front of you in a line, serving a person, generous forgiveness, . . . .
  • sometimes through a provision, being generous with our resources (time, energy, finances), paying for the coffee of the person behind you in line, giving a homeless person a meal, giving a starving baby meals for a month with saving moses ,) , . . . .
I want my life to make Jesus attractive to the people with whom I interact – not just because its Easter week & the seasonal trend to invite people to church (although let’s all get really motivated & bring hordes of friends to church).  I want to spread the fragrance of Jesus wherever I go.  I want to illuminate His presence in all my conversations.  I want to express His genuine love with His extravagant provisions.  For me, let this purpose be the preoccupation of each day.

Calcutta Observations

Our time in Calcutta has been very interesting. This morning we were up pretty early to visit a feeding program for an extremely poor community – it was interesting for many reasons. One observation is that there were only moms, sisters & grandmoms bringing the kids who are mostly under 7 to get their meal for the day. In this community, there’s a tremendous need for the kids to receive education bc this is the primary hope to transform the community. But when I think about @savingmoses, what stands out to me the most is the need for the infants in the community to receive immunizations, clean water & some basic hygiene education for their moms.
The picture that you see w this blog was one of the cool kids we were able to meet at the Ganges river yesterday 🙂

gifts continued

presentsLast night at church, I spoke about generosity.  I think this is an interesting topic, given the current economic climate in the US.  I’ll cut to the core quick here:  I think that particularly in this season, it would be extremely appropriate for us to consider the different ways that we can give to Jesus, besides monetarily.  I think we can give Him our service, keeping in mind what He talked about in Matt 25:40, when He was discussing visiting the sick, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry & thirsty, receiving the stranger & visiting those in prison.  In the context of the parable Jesus is sharing related to all of these needs, Jesus explains that when we care even for the least person, that we’re caring for Him.

We can also give more of our self to Jesus – like the sinful woman who washed & dried Jesus’ feet w her tears & hair, and anointed Jesus head w expensive oil.  Jesus explained the heart of her generosity when He said, “He who has been forgiven much, loves much.  But he who has been forgiven little, loves little.”  Let’s love Jesus alot.

p.s. can i just say that i’m UBER-EXCITED bc i get to go snowboarding tomorrow w some cool peeps.  yahoooooooooo!