crowds

Yesterday, I mentioned a few thoughts about being alone so I thought it fitting to look at the other side today – crowded. Some people love crowds & revel in the energy, noise & pulsation of people collections – concerts, mosh pits, congregations, World Series & symphonies come to mind. 
If you struggle with crowds, here are some ideas from Jesus’ skin time:

  • Jesus was moved with compassion when He saw a crowd
  • Jesus saw & crowd & their need for leadership (sheep without a shepherd)
  • Jesus knew that a crowd was the conduit for His necessary crucifixion & ultimate resurrection. 

Let’s see crowds & more importantly people, from God’s perspective: individuals available for redemption & reconciliation 🙂

alone

Sometimes people treat “alone” like a disease that needs a vaccination or a dysfunction that requires a remedy.  We tend to fill our minds with music, social media, events, appointments, text messages, books, entertainment and anything we can conveniently grasp to immunize us from this “scary” state of being alone and quiet.  It’s a conundrum to me that we’ll tolerate zombies, vampires, ghosts & spooky Halloween stuff with a lite comic wink but what shivers our spine & tweaks our nerves is solitude & the thought of being alone.

Yet being alone is an important ingredient for being human.  Consider some of the incredible outcomes Jesus experienced from being alone:

  • Jesus’ testing in Matthew 4 was initiated by the Holy Spirit leading Him into the wilderness – He came out of that experience with anointing & power.
  • Jesus went up on a mountain by Himself to pray through the night – when He came down, He chose His 12 disciples who perpetuated Jesus’ ministry.
  • Gethsemane was an alone time for Jesus – He surrendered His will so that we could live in reconciliation with God

I get that we aren’t Jesus, but maybe some of the things we most desperately need come from what we most ardently avoid 🙂

Hot Topic: being human 

Have you had a busy week? Did you get a lot done this week? Are you frustrated that you didn’t get as much done as you think you need to?  

Take a deep breath with me for a moment. 

There’s a balance that we struggle to maintain: the balance between human being & human doing. With this thinking, our culture makes that balance very tricky. Heaps of stuff all around us tell us to get busy, be productive, don’t be lazy, achievements equal importance & significance is through activity. While there’s some truth is these ideas, the operative word is SOME. 

Let’s not forget that God’s first day with Adam was God’s day of rest, affirming the truth that we are foremost human beings, lovingly affirmed by our Creator. 

Be human & do balance 🙂

are you excited?!??

Thrills, chills, spills and frills – we all love being excited, inspired, encouraged & sometimes, even schmoozed.  Perhaps we can even be “excitement junkies”, from time to time, living for the next thrill or rush.  I don’t think, however, God designed our lives to be a continual roller coaster, going from peak to valley and curve to corkscrew.  There’s huge value in stability even when it seems boring.  If the truth be known, you can predict with fair accuracy a person’s future success by their daily routines & disciplines.

While it can be lots of fun to get excited, never resent the importance of stability.  Here are a few quick perks from stability:

  • strength improves with stability
  • value grows with stability
  • trust flourishes with stability
  • roots deepend with stability
  • nightcare with Saving Moses is genuine love expressed in stability

Selah 🙂

Fools Gold

When I was growing up, I learned about the Gold Rush & how some people were tricked by “Fools Gold”, thinking they’d found gold only to be disappointed that the shiny metal was nothing more than shiny metal. 

This lesson is speaking to me again here in Angola, where Saving Moses has 6 malnutrition clinics.   Two of our clinics are less than an hour apart. The first clinic is very rustic, seemingly primitive & seems to lack even the bare essentials. The electricity has only been added in the last few years & whenever I hang out there, it almost feels like I’m camping, but our moms will live with their babies in this place for an average of 3-4 weeks in what we would consider primitive & seemingly uncivilized conditions at first glance. Some of the staff are frequently high school graduates interested in going into medical school so they get their feet wet, literally, starting at this malnutrition clinic. 
The second clinic, about an hours drive away, is a seemingly sharp contrast. It’s definitely a more modern building, adjacent to a medical school & staffed with medical students & health professionals running around in white lab coats. On the outside, it looks like it’s far more developed & we would often conclude more effective than the first clinic. 
But the reality is the opposite. The first clinic, albeit rustic, is highly regarded & well renowned for specializing in malnutrition. With our therapeutic milk, 80% of the babies in this clinic survive & grow to be healthy kids. In this seemingly backwater clinic, people will travel for literally hundreds of miles to get their babies to what they consider the best possible care to survive the ravages of malnutrition – all in a place that barely has running water. While the second clinic looks better appointed, it’s not as effective nor well regarded for its malnutrition work. 
Just because something looks shiny & bright on the outside doesn’t mean that it’s golden, effective & even healthy on the inside. Paul tells us in the New Testament not to be deceived by the external & what we see but rather to be led by the Holy Spirit in our hearts, attentive to the Spirit of Truth 🙂

hot topic: grammy awards

Last night, the Grammys were awarded to lots of very talented people who have achieved some incredible things, some admirable & noteworthy.  Despite all of these accomplishments, let’s remember what’s even more important than achievements – people.  People are important because they’re people and not only for what they can achieve. So here are some ideas to affirm & encourage people in your life today:

  • tell someone why you like them in relation to their character – I like that you’re: compassionate, patient, passionate, creative, fun, thoughtful, etc
  • be liberal with compliments & stingy with criticisms
  • look for ways to encourage someone:  I saw that you went the extra mile;  I see that you’re trying to improve in this area, I appreciate your creativity, etc
  • affirm differences rather than shaming for conformity 🙂
  • let the Holy Spirit encourage you today & this can help us encourage people around us!

Decoration

Here’s the honest truth, I’m awful at decorating, even though I’m not short on ideas. Rather than get discouraged with this shortcoming, I’ve decided to celebrate what I’m good at & that would be a little bit more on the substance rather than surface viewpoint. I’ve always seemed to be drawn to that which has more content rather than what looks good on the surface but empty on the inside.
In the Christmas season, let’s be mindful that Jesus isn’t a decorative accessory that we bring out for a season but neglect throughout our daily living on any given day in the year. Jesus isn’t only for decoration:)
#lookforJesus

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hot topic: S. Truett Cathy & Chick-fil-A

The Founder of Check-fil-A died yesterday at the age of 93 and I’m choosing (thanks Robert Bowman for the grammar help!!) to blog on him today since I blogged last week about Joan River’s death.  Please don’t get nervous & think that all of my hot topic blogs are now going to turn into obituaries – not so 🙂

But in all fairness, it seems appropriate to honor a man who achieved many commendable accomplishments. Mr Cathy is probably most well known for being the founder of the fast food chain Chick-fil-A and he also was a man of deep convictions, generosity and noteworthy business acumen.  Here’s a cool quote from Mr Truett,

“Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources. I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return.”

If you’d like to know more about him, there’s plenty of web links to explore, but here’s one for starting:  Truett Cathy 

One of the lessons I learned last week from my Joan Rivers blog is to request any comments to be respectful and not hostile or combative, please and thank you 🙂

With that being said, please be very free to leave your polite feedback and share this blog with your friends 🙂

hot topic: Joan Rivers

Yesterday, Joan Rivers died and this was big news for various circles.  Honestly, I didn’t really know much about Joan Rivers until her death.  Thankfully, my husband knows a little something about everything, so he quickly brought me up to speed.  Having looked through some of her style of comedy, it’s not what appeals to me, except on one very important level.  She maintained an element of truth in her comedy, despite being coarse, biting and even degrading.  While I don’t appreciate humor that degrades others, I do appreciate truth and in that way, I choose to give honor to Joan for this part of how she presented her comedy.

It’s always easy to find bad things about people, but with her passing, let’s find the things that were valuable to honor their memory moreso than maximizing their failures, shortcomings and flaws 🙂

Have an awesome weekend!

chasing

I’ve been thinking lately about some things that I want – not cars, clothes or temporary stuff.  Sometimes I think we can get trapped in our desires for popularity, wealth & achievements.  If we aren’t careful, we can easily make this mistake:

  • popularity = importance
  • wealth = value
  • achievements = significance

Unfortunately, I think it’s easy to get focused on the wrong goals (popularity, wealth & achievements) and never really understand that we are already important, valuable & significant because of Jesus’ love for us.

You are valuable.  You are important.  You are significant.  All because Jesus loves you, full stop.

What’s the point???

I was reading this morning about how Joseph was unfairly accused of trying to sleep w Potiphar’s wife & how Joseph was thrown into jail because of the wife’s fiasco. At some point, sitting in jail, Joseph could have easily said, “What’s the point? I should’ve slept with the chick. Jail isn’t worth it.”
At various times, we all feel like quitting & throwing in the towel. Maybe we quietly say to ourselves, “what’s the point?”
Here are some good things to consider when you’re asking yourself about what’s the point:
*God doesn’t say to us, “well done my good & quitting servant”
*strength, character & integrity grow in the furnace of hardship, struggle & opposition
*good results & desirable fruit come from persistence & not giving up

I like what St Francis of Assisi said, “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

how to be significant

We all have a compelling desire & drive to be important & significant.  To this end, we do various things to achieve this goal.  We try to feel important through our achievements, or we try to gain significance through our relationships & associations.  Sometimes, we try to feel important by how we dress or by our material goods.  Whatever path we chose, it is my experience so far that any effort to feel important that doesn’t include Jesus is nothing less than a passing vapor and illusionary.

Lately, I’ve gotten trapped in the achievement illusion.  I find myself trying to feel significant by my achievements and continually disappointed.  This morning, I had a really rich conversation with God & He thankfully revealed this error to me.

  • We are valuable because God loves us, not because of what we do or don’t do.
  • We are significant because Jesus gave His life to be with us, not because of our material goods or our outward appearance
  • We are important because we were the ultimate desire for which God was aiming when the world was created, not  because of the people we know or with whom we assocaite
  • You are highly esteemed & treasured by the Creator of the Universe, just because 🙂

Keep Trying!!

Sometimes I think we get a little ramped up about making achievements & if you’re like me, it’s disappointing when I don’t make the progress or goal that I want. But maybe God’s objective for us isn’t always the goal or achievement but rather the strength that we develop from trying. Maybe God’s goal is to help us develop endurance & persistence. Maybe God’s goal is a deeper revelation of Who He is to us even more than any achievement, prestige, or recognition.
Maybe we would be able to see greater value in the process than in the outcome, if we pause & listen for God’s wisdom, just maybe ,)