Totally ripping off my pastor today…<3

I am at that place where I may be ready to take down the last of the evergreen/pine/red berry type stuff and that one lone snowman that is perched on the mantle and the whisper of spring is starting to stir in my heart….which, here in the Midwest means…we must have at least six more weeks of winter left…sigh.

I love that you have stopped by and I have a couple of thoughts I had already jotted down to share this week, but this morning I was thumbing through one of my older Bibles (one that is so worn and torn that it actually has lost its back cover) and in it I found this treasure from notes taken during a sermon at FCC on December 13, 2015.

It must have been Pastor Wayne because I think he did most of the preaching back in those years. So if it was one of our others…my apologies <3

The text is from Isaiah 42:1-4

“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles (nations).He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice in the earth; and the coastlands (islands) shall wait for His law.”

Here are my notes:

My Servant – God’s title for Jesus 

Characteristics we can use of Jesus as a model for our own behavior from this passage:

1. Often Jesus was silent/quiet…He knew when to speak and when to be quiet. Verse 1 – He had God’s Spirit and so He knew the source and vision of His ministry. We cannot serve from our own strength and knowledge.

2. Bring Justice … that is the goal of a servant of God. Biblical Justice is NOT human fairness.  Let me state that again…Biblical JUSTICE is not the equivalent of our idea of human fairness. Biblical justice is about what is RIGHT and “right” is what God calls RIGHT. 

Serving is never about “Fair”. It’s about S.E.R.V.I.N.G.

Serving is about upending the Status Quo.

As we continue to move through Lent and examine the life of Jesus on earth, we must determine to evaluate our own life and pray to model the characteristics of the One we say we follow.

I can certainly see where I need God’s strength and guidance to know when to speak and when to keep silent.

I also well understand the challenge of seeking “Justice” in light of what God calls RIGHT.

There is much to ponder in this short passage from Isaiah and powerful to apply it as a framework of study as we dive into the book of Mark during the season of Lent at my church.

If you are looking for a way to draw nearer to Jesus during the next few weeks leading up to Easter, I invite you to journey with us as we explore this Gospel through sermons and study. Local people…come on in…too far to make the trip? You can find all the sermons and studies on line at http://www.firstdecatur.org/sermons/

Also…as a special bonus…if you text this magic number   24587 and enter this phrase FIRSTDECATUR (all caps…no spaces) in the conversation and send it…you will receive the sweetest little audio that includes some beautiful praise music from our worship department and a devotional reading/prompt.

You can have “church” right there in the middle of a most ordinary day….win win <3

So there are some options to grow and ….you know I will be sharing off and on here as well…

whatever you do this season taking us up to Resurrection Sunday…do it all with an open heart that doesn’t just listen….but applies! the Word of God spoken to Y.O.U.

Hugs all around…have a great Tuesday <3

 

Some Monday cuteness and a serious thought <3

We got to watch this one play basketball on Saturday…he has gone and decided to lose those cute little teeth that gave us all fits when they came in…what’s up with that?

It wasn’t easy to keep our eyes on the game tho…as there was a lot going on along the sidelines…

and one of the cheerleaders keep stealing the show…

Not to be left out we have…

And while I have no photographic proof…Zach and I were there…I was behind the lens and he was policing the bench for anyone not out on the court.

That is when he wasn’t toting four coats, extra shoes, a basketball, a backpack and oh…a 50 pound car carrier that held a 16 pound cupcake….all in a day’s work <3

So there’s some fun to start Monday and now for just a thought to share from the Word and the weekend…

One of the things God has blessed me to do is lead a class on Sunday mornings for a number of years.

I am ill-equipped…late…rambling…unorganized…and humbled to have this group show up at 8:00 A.M. to sit at the feet of Jesus with me and let Him teach us.

We just finished a series that started M.O.N.T.H.S. ago to help us understand more about the countries and history and such of the Middle East. We looked at this area historically and through the lens of the generations of descendants of Noah,Ishmael/Isaac and Jacob/Essau.

Eventually they followed me as we worked through a book by Nabeel Qureshi about his explorations of Islam and Christianity.

Qureshi impresses throughout the book something that I, as a Christ follower, take for granted.

One of the cornerstones of our faith is that our God is Three in One.

The Holy Trinity is a mystery that we can somewhat grasp and yet the simplifications we come up with regarding its complexity can sometimes minimize the power.

It is by faith that we believe what is really so far above our human ability to explain.

Because I have grown up in the Church, I accept this concept and expect others to as well.

One God…Three persons.

We sing it in old hymns and modern praise songs.

Yet we do not realize that this viewpoint is inflammatory out there in the world these days…well…actually…it always has been.

It is the power of the Gospel.

Through this study, as I leave class on Sunday mornings and enter into worship; it is with a profoundly deeper understanding of the declarations we are making as we sing the words of the songs printed up on that screen.

If we are finding ourselves losing our footing in the shifting sands of this ever-changing culture…perhaps we need to revisit the basic truths of our faith and begin to declare them from the depths of our hearts once more.

The season of Lent is a perfect time to readjust our perspective by truly exploring what we believe about the good news of Jesus Christ…what He came to do for all mankind..and what He has done in us <3

I believe in God the Father

I believe in Jesus Christ, His Son…fully God…fully man

I believe in the Holy Spirit

I believe our God is Three in One…three distinct persons in One Godhead

I believe that Jesus Christ was crucified on the Cross, thereby taking all the sins of the world upon Himself and paying the price required for sin, which is death

I believe that God the Father turned His face away from His son

I believe that through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ overcame death and made the way open for us to be reconciled back to the God who loves us by both rising from the dead and ascending to heaven

I believe He took away the power of death from Satan and defeated him eternally

I believe that while this is a finished work, we live out a time of fulfillment for the completion and the manifestation of an eternal kingdom

I believe that for this time He sits at the right hand of God and mediates for us to the Father

I believe that He will come again and He will judge all mankind and all creation and there will be a new Heaven and a new Earth.

I believe that there are those who would call me crazy..and those who would scoff and mock…and I believe that I would probably lose many a debate and sound foolish to the intellectuals of this world.

But I know that I know.

Christ in me.

The Hope of Glory.

I have decided to follow Jesus.

Done and done.

Have a blessed Monday. You are loved <3

 

 

 

 

Friday…<3

Happy Friday!

We got home late Wednesday and yesterday was my day with the band of brothers and Princess Caroline…so…needless to say I am tapped out in the brain this morning.

I will give a huge shoutout to all the young moms and dads out there because … have mercy…what you do is E.X.H.A.U.S.T.I.N.G.

And…mind-numbingly repetitive…

and thankless…

and frustrating.

But you are raising up decent little human beings and providing for their needs while training them to make good choices.

You might think…

as I did yesterday whilst holding a baby on my hip as I prepared dinner and wished I had a third hand to wipe the constantly dripping noise…meanwhile answering Emmett’s same question for the ten zillionth time and pulling Joel out of the pantry …in between telling Graham how many minutes were left on the timer for his reading homework…every thirty seconds…

that you are losing your mind.

However I can tell you…

you will look back on all of this one day and know in your heart…

it was just a long string of Best. Days. Ever.

And all of us out here on the other side say a big huge THANK YOU for everything you do.

It all matters and we love you for the care you give your little ones.

You will make it.

All of you.

So just keep plugging away and take up every offer of help that comes down the pike…you deserve it.

<3

The Journey to Easter 2018 begins <3

Good morning! I hope you each had a sweet Valentine’s Day although for America, our hearts are heavy this morning with the news of yet another school shooting.

Our prayers are with all those who woke up this morning to the reality of this devastating act and also we pray for the family and friends of the shooter and the shame and guilt they will surely encounter as their lives have drastically changed. And we pray for him as well, because we are commanded to do so.

We pray for first responders and friends and family of all involved, for teachers and staff at the school and for the moms and dads and little ones who hugged extra hard this morning at the bus stop.

It is unthinkable and yet our news feeds are peppered daily with so much violence and hatred and cruelty and corruption.

This morning I am continuing my reading in the portion of the the Chronological Bible that covers the Laws and Regulations and such from portions of Deuteronomy, Leviticus and Numbers.

Having these all grouped together in this translation is helpful but still rather overwhelming.

And as long as I have been in Christ and His Church and as God has taught me of His heart in so many ways that bring me to trust that He is always good and kind and right and righteous…still my American born, post-modern laced mind cringes as I read the various laws.

I hear the voices of our culture’s talking heads in the back of my mind and I struggle with the methods of justice that I am reading through regarding slaves and aliens and offenses against the poor and women and I think of the outcry’s of political leaders and different special interest groups that would rise up against these passages and attempt to judge God as being unfair and oppressive.

But it strikes me this morning instead….how the laws really point to how evil we are.

The laws and the regulations given to Moses and the people of Israel are not really about God’s character but about how we must deal with our own sin nature. And what a myriad of ways there are that we choose to sin.

It is not God who created the issues that we must now decide how to discipline, correct, punish or gain restitution – it is our own problem of sinful bent that we refuse to accept as part of the fallen world.

We want to blame God for the fact that we choose to go our own way.

The human nature is one that is flawed by choice.

And God has provided a way to redeem our sorry selves from our selves.

Yesterday was not just Valentine’s Day, you know.

Yesterday we began the portion of our faith journey for 2018 that we call Lent.

Russ and I were touched by a newscaster on national network last night who gave her reports with the black mark of an ashen cross on her forehead.

A very visual reminder as she shared that she had gone at some point during the day to be reminded that she lives redeemed by the Cross of Jesus Christ. By His death and resurrection.

Each story she reported on, with the burned ashes of a palm branch from last year’s triumphal entry celebration at her church blotched across her artfully made up face, reminded us that we had no right to pass judgment on anyone.

For all have sinned and all have fallen short..but One.

And so we, as people of the Cross, begin our journey toward the celebration of Easter on the calendar this year, while we live every day celebrating the truth that He is Risen.

He is Risen indeed.

 

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day <3

Wishing you a sincerely happy and sweet day of hearts.

Consider this your Valentine from me…like I picked out one of those perforated little cards just for you and put it in one of those thin white envelopes with barely enough glue to stick it shut.

Imagine I wrote your name on it and taped a heart lollipop to it and stuck it in the construction paper envelope you decorated on Monday and taped to your desk.

I hope your smiling remembering simpler times when we did those things <3

And I hope your day is full of all kinds of little surprises that remind you how much you are loved.

Remember today …

Love is…

Patient and kind

Not jealous….never envies

It doesn’t boast or act proudly

It is not haughty or selfish or rude

Love never demands its own way

It is not irritable or touchy

It doesn’t hold grudges

It hardly even notices when others do it wrong

It is never happy about an injustice but…

it rejoices when the truth wins out

If you love someone you will be loyal to that one no matter the cost.

You will always believe in him or her…

always expect the best of him or her…

always stand your ground defending him or her.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.   based on The Living Bible

Something to shoot for isn’t it?

God bless you all…hugs all around and may the Lord help us to love each other well <3