Living in the Old or New?

Our church building is in the process of moving locations & it’s an interesting experience living in this “half-way between” place.  I feel like I’m in limbo a little bit because of the new place not being entirely settled & some of my stuff is still in the old place.  Furthermore, I have lots of memories associated with the old building & no memories or notable experiences yet with the new building.  We are also still having services in the old building, but the new building now houses all of our offices, so that’s where we do the day to day work during the weekdays.

This reminds me of what Paul says in 2Cor 5:17 about being in Christ & a new creature with the old things having passed away and new things have come.  There are times and experiences when I find myself living in my old, flesh nature, even though I know in my heart that I’m a new creation in Christ.  Let’s continue to move into and occupy our new nature that Jesus has purchased for us.  Here are a few possibly helpful ideas to consider:

  • don’t bring the old furnishings to the new creation:  stuff that’s broken & dysfunctional doesn’t need to continue in our new nature living.
  • celebrate and embrace:  be sure to celebrate & honor the past, but wholly & fully embrace the new creation / nature that Jesus has for you now!
  • keep moving into the new creation:  there were a few weeks when I procrastinated moving stuff out of the old building for various reasons.  From this lesson, I’m learning that it’s important to keep looking & moving toward the new creation that Jesus has made me to be.

Feel free to pass this along to your friends / family who are navigating this journey to be more & more like Jesus!

PS – here’s my latest youtube video that’s short, fun & encouraging!

Try Something New

“A rut is a grave with the ends kicked out.”

I’ve heard this saying more than once & I like it. It’s helpful to try new things because we humans can gravitate to what’s familiar & comfortable, at the expense of adventures, obeying God & new joys!
There are lots of Bible examples of people who tried new things & I’m listing a few below. As you consider these examples, take a minute to think about what might have happened, if they hadn’t tried something new:

  • Peter – tried fishing in the morning at Jesus command, despite an entire night of fruitless fishing
  • Moses – checking out the burning hush was a novelty to be sure
  • David- killing a giant was something new
    Esther – initiating a conversation with the king was both new & highly risky
  • Ananais – laying hands on & praying for blind Saul was something new for Ananais.

These people took risks & tried new things because they obeyed God, even when it was uncomfortable, illogical, inconvenient & uncertain. Let’s be willing to try new things, at God’s leading!

New Beginnings

We sold our church building & we’re moving to a new building nearby. We’ve been in our old building for almost 30 years, so there are plenty of memories from those years. I’m excited for our new building & starting a new chapter!

Thinking about this new chapter, I’m reminded of Joshua leading the Israelites to possess the Promised Land. When God leads us to start a new chapter, let’s be like Joshua:

  • We can do it!! In Numbers 13-14, Joshua & Caleb were the can-do spies but the other 10 spies were despondent & faith-less
  • Keep going!! Joshua had some setbacks before conquering the Promised Land. There was disobedience & duplicity among he Israelites, but Joshua didn’t quit
  • Look to God!! In Joshua 10, God made time stop so that Joshua could finish a battle & defeat his enemy. God helps us possess His promises to us!

Try Something New!!

This is a picture of South Park in Colorado. My son & I are grabbing a day over Christmas break to get some skiing / snowboarding & today I decided to try a new route to get up to the mountains & man was it GORGEOUS!! The views on the drive were entirely enchanting, serene & ethereal – almost like driving in a picture!

I’m really glad that I tried this new route even though there were some icy patches & a few parts were a little touch & go.

Seems like this could be a good mindset for starting out 2017! Let’s be determined to try some new stuff, even if some parts might be a little tricky to navigate. I find that often the rewards of new things can be better than the risks! Let’s GO!!

Still Present

Another Christmas has concluded & we will soon close the chapter on 2016. Sometimes it’s difficult to say goodbye & sometimes we say with great enthusiasm, “Good riddance!”
No matter what your perspective is on the goodbyes for this year & season, let’s keep in mind that Jesus is always with us, so we never have to say goodbye to Jesus! But maybe we should say goodbye to a few things for 2017:

  • Would Jesus have you say goodbye to some habits that encumber your walk with Him?
  • Would Jesus have us say goodbye to the not so deep walk we had with Him in 2016 to grow deeper & closer with Him in 2017?
  • Would Jesus have us say goodbye to some disorderly priorities that perpetuate unhealthy mindsets & dysfunctional behaviors?

Let’s remember that Jesus is God’s greatest present to us & that He’s always present with us! With the Holy Spirit’s help, let’s determine to be present with Jesus in 2017 more than we were this year!

 

Changing Things

Changing Things

Normally, the day before Thanksgiving our family goes skiing since we live fairly close to some epic vertical. But alas, today we are electing for the flatland because there’s almost no snow & the few runs that are open don’t tempt us enough to take the plunge.
Seems to me that change can be challenging to navigate but we need to change for lots of reasons:

  • Change indicates that we’re alive & not moribund in static rigamortis
  • We don’t grow if we’re unwilling to change
  • Change affords new adventures, delights, joys & discoveries
  • Our souls stay supple when we are willing to change, letting God love through us more thoroughly

Cheers to change & happy Thanksgiving!

Follow the Leader

  
I recently went snowboarding with a friend who is a skier & has never skied with a snowboarder. We went to her home turf ski resort where I’ve never been, so it was a really fun adventure in “first times”. As I was fondly remembering this recent day, I thought about how I had absolutely no clue where I was nor what each run would be like. She knows this mountain so well, she could ski it blindfolded, at night in her sleep – ok, not quite but close. 

Snowboarding with my friend was kind of like following the Holy Spirit in these ways:

  • total trust: I had to listen attentively to my friend to know where I should end up so we didn’t get separated
  • stay close: on several occasions, she had to wait for me & I needed to keep up my speed so that we could ride the lifts together
  • terrain park: I tried a beginner box & despite her instructions, I still biffed; so I need to keep trying to learn new terrain & ways to ride
  • enjoy the ride: I don’t have to know where I’m going to enjoy the company with whom i travel
  • fully committed: the level of my enjoyment is proportionate to my level of commitment; low commitment to the day would have made a low quality / quantity of pleasure & enjoyment

Following the Holy Spirit is a uniquely amazing adventure – so LETS GO!!  This book could help you to enjoy the adventure:  Heavenly Help 🙂

Follow the Leader

  
I recently went snowboarding with a friend who is a skier & has never skied with a snowboarder. We went to her home turf ski resort where I’ve never been, so it was a really fun adventure in “first times”. As I was fondly remembering this recent day, I thought about how I had absolutely no clue where I was nor what each run would be like. She knows this mountain so well, she could ski it blindfolded, at night in her sleep – ok, not quite but close. 

Snowboarding with my friend was kind of like following the Holy Spirit in these ways:

  • total trust: I had to listen attentively to my friend to know where I should end up so we didn’t get separated
  • stay close: on several occasions, she had to wait for me & I needed to keep up my speed so that we could ride the lifts together
  • terrain park: I tried a beginner box & despite her instructions, I still biffed; so I need to keep trying to learn new terrain & ways to ride
  • enjoy the ride: I don’t have to know where I’m going to enjoy the company with whom i travel
  • fully committed: the level of my enjoyment is proportionate to my level of commitment; low commitment to the day would have made a low quality / quantity of pleasure & enjoyment

Following the Holy Spirit is a uniquely amazing adventure – so LETS GO!!  This book could help you to enjoy the adventure:  Heavenly Help 🙂

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 🙂

Let’s keep fresh & perky 🙂

Celebrating New!

I LOVE new adventures, so this weekend was absolutely a BLAST!  I had the honor to visit & minister in Argentina, a new country for me & I LOVED it!!!

I also made some new friends, Santiago, Thomas, Ana, Chad, Daniella & lots more – so much FUN!  It was particularly amazing to join in a totally God led conversation with Santiago, Thomas & Ana on a random bus ride – such an amazing experience!
It completely rocks my world to always have new adventures with God & I hope that I say “yes” to God more & better than I say “wait” or “no”. 
Saying “yes” to God often is the same as saying “no” to fear, selfishness, impossible & discouragement.  So let’s make our default answer to whatever God asks us to do, “Yes!” And let the adventure begin!

Comfy, Cozy & Upended

We all gravitate to what is comfortable to us, often at the expense of trusting & depending on God – pause & think about what that means in your life. 

For me, this means that I enjoy experiencing God in a sunrise, hearing the whispers of God’s voice in the Bible alluring me to come closer & losing my self in experiencing God on a snowboard or walking among prostitutes in a red light district in Asia. What isn’t comfortable for me is being intermingled with hyper extroverts, amped up on caffeine & red bull. It also stresses me out to have innumerable “weather conversations” without some deeper anchors & topics that get my feet in the dirt with substance & authenticity. 

Even though I like a conversation that’s earthy & grounded, often when I want to walk closer with Jesus, I have to leave the ground & boat, joining Jesus on the water – away from whats comfortable & cozy in my natural leaning. 
When we walk with Jesus, it’s not always where we are most comfy & cozy but rather upended & transformed. Let’s keep walking, even when it’s on the water, as long as it’s with Jesus 🙂

Blessed are the flexible

Ok I’m totally adapting from Jesus’ beatitudes so don’t think I’ve suddenly become a heretic – I just think there’s a boatload of value in staying flexible. I think it’s important to be flexi in lots of ways: time, our talents & how we use them, relationships, various foods & even how we use our money. Being flexible is easier in life than rigidity & the unavoidable breaking that goes with being inflexible.
Some things, however, aren’t up for the agility treatment, things like Jesus staying number 1, loving well, forgiving proficiently & keeping a generous heart – all of these are deep pier non/negotiables
So how to stay flexi? Here are a few ideas:
*be up to try new things (foods, experiences, meeting new people, reading different books, etc) without a negative predisposition
*think of mistakes & failures as practice rather than options to quit
*consider some ways that you could do things a little different than what’s common or normal (fasting, come to Cambodia with Saving Moses this July, volunteer in a way that you can’t be repaid)
This picture is my breakfast 🙂

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spread your wings

“Are you telling me that at 28 years old, you never want to get better than you are today?”  One time I had a coaching opportunity for a friend who was doing some preaching.  I made them practice all of their sermon in front of me in the room where they would be giving the sermon.  This person felt kind of silly going through their entire sermon in front of just one person, in a big empty room.  Nevertheless, this was a really good exercise and opportunity to practice & grow, even though they felt awkward.

So here’s my encouragement:  try new things, regardless of your agility.  Ultimately, when I try new things, I get to lean into the Holy Spirit for help & that’s the best thing I could ever do in my life on a consistent basis!  🙂

be brave

Yesterday, my husband & I celebrated Valentines Day by doing some skiining / snowboarding together & we had a blast!  During the day, I kept seeing this run that I wanted to try because it had lots of powder on it & looked like it could be really fun!  So on my last run, we tried it & it was more than what I thought:  there was part of it that was a tiny bit of a steep drop between a couple of trees.  Ok, here’s the deal – I’ve been snowboarding for more than 7 years now & while I have zero olympic aspirations, I’m also better than I think sometimes.  When I looked at the miniature drop between the trees, I got really nervous, but then I thought about it, did some mental coaching & came through uninjured 🙂

Here are a few helpful ideas from my snowboarding adventure yesterday about being brave:

  • don’t psych yourself out – sometimes we make things bigger than they are
  • think about your successes from the past – this helps to build present confidence
  • be with “can-do” people – my husband was cheering for me, “Sarah, you got this!!”
  • fundamentals – think about what you need to do rather than what you shouldn’t do (this helps ALOT when you get in really intense moments)
  • remember the Sara Bareilles song, “Brave”  🙂

Hello Again!

YAHOOO! We get to launch a new year today & that makes me very excited!! It’s a new year to try new ideas, meet new people, solidify the lessons of the past & possibly explore some new countries. In Isaiah 43:19 it talks about God doing a new thing. May this year for you & me be full of God’s new & wonderful things – happy New Year!

something new

Happy New Year, one day early!  When I was growing up, my dad always had the same breakfast:  2 eggs over easy, patty saugsage, whole wheat toast & hash browns with a continuous coffee IV drip.  We can all get easily stuck in a rut, but New Year’s is a great time to shake it up a little.  Think about a few changes that could be helpful for the upcoming year:

  • more consistent church attendance
  • healthier eating decisions
  • more water & less coffee
  • relationships that have healthy boundaries & constructive influences
  • increased Bible digestion – more reading, more memorizing, more studying, . . . . just more
  • become a Saving Moses hero and save babies where the need is most urgent & the care is least available
  • pursue truth & reject deception

Let’s turn the page on 2013 & celebrate change with a new beginning!

try something new!

I have a really cool friend from Cambodia who is visiting us for the weekend & of course when he’s visiting we get a nice & small snow storm. I took a walk w him while it was snowing & he was in awe of the snow (not much snow in Cambodia). I loved watching his awe & excitement of experiencing something totally new!!
Sometimes I think we miss some really cool things that God has because we resist trying new things. We often get into ruts & comfort zones but let’s be careful not to let our comfort zones be more important than experiencing new things that God has for us. We are in a new year & I believe God wants to show us new things throughout this year! Let’s be open for new things from God 😀