Day 29: Connections

This past Sunday we had a group visit our church who talked to us about Connections and how important they are.

They each told a story about their life and their faith and how why they are still active. Each story had some connection- some relationship- which helped keep them or get them back to the church.

Today I went out to eat with a friend and her daughter. And as I sat there with them laughing and telling stories- sharing life- I started to think:

This is what it’s all about.

Being Christian isn’t about being in the church on Sunday mornings, going to all the age-appropriate church events and claiming to be this awesome Christian.

Being Christian is about connections, its about relationships.

Jesus was a man of the people. He didn’t live above them, and He didn’t care if it was Sunday or people were expecting Him, He was there.

Jesus was a man who built relationships- with his disciples and others. He didn’t just stand at the front of a church preaching, He really met people where. they. were.

He healed the sick.

He raised the dead.

He comforted the weak and sorry.

As humans, we were created to be in community, to build connections.

And as Christians it’s about being in relationships, building relationships, and being Jesus-with-skin-on to those around us. It’s about truly caring for the person across the table. Not caring because you want the latest gossip, or because you are “a great Christian person,” but because we are called to love because He loved us!

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:14

 

“if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”  John 7:37-38

Day 28: God’s Holy 2×4

The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare;there were not many visions.

One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place.The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of theLord, where the ark of God was.Then the Lord called Samuel.

Samuel answered, “Here I am.”And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”

Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

A third time the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak,Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

1 Samuel 3:1-10

When I was a senior in High School I began visiting the colleges I had dreamt of going to. I looked at two big State schools and one Christian school (to appease my mother). I wanted to to go to one of the State Schools, I knew many people going there, I liked the town feel, it was a popular choice. I was pretty well set on it.

Until I visited the Christian school and I didn’t really know how to compare the two. I knew without a doubt that THAT was where I was supposed to be.

When I went home I almost changed my mind, the state school was the popular choice, people knew where it was and what it was, and I would know a lot of people there. So I swayed in my decision.

But when the acceptance letter for the Christian college came, I knew that that was where I was supposed to be.

When I got there it was only confirmed. It was easily one of the best decisions in my life. But I can’t really take credit for it, God called me there.

From that year on my desire and prayer was to be willing to GO and DO whatever God had in mind for me.

Some days I still second guessed God but when I knew where God wanted me and I went I never doubted it when I was there. I felt the presence of God and knew I was doing His will.

That prayer and desire it still there: To GO and DO whatever God has in store. Sometimes I’m not really sure what He wants. He doesn’t seem to tell me right when I want Him to. And he doesn’t have a daily plan- first go to this place, then say hello to that girl over there, etc. But when He calls I listen. Even if listening means I change my mind a few times.

A friend used to call it being “hit by the holy two by four” when you stray or don’t listen and God has to say “Listen to me!”

Is God calling you today? Is He going to have to use the holy 2×4?

 

 

Day 27: Director

I recently subbed for our Handbell Choir. I have subbed in handbells a few times, but nothing recently. Usually it was just for a practice so that you aren’t missing someone’s notes in the midst of it. This time it was the real deal. The real-during-church-performance kind of deal.

We had one practice before I performed (if you don’t count the day of practice). I found myself having to watch the director like a hawk.

I was in band so I can read music okay.

But for handbells you play 2-3 notes throughout an entire song. It’s a bit different as you have everyones notes.

Maybe I am making excuses but it was difficult for me. 😉

But as I was leaving handbells it got me thinking that life is a little like a handbell choir, and God is the director. Every measure, every step, we have to keep our eyes on Him.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3

Sometimes I forget to keep my eyes on Him. I plan my own future, I make my own path and then I look to God and He’s like, we’re on measure 12 and that’s not your note.

In music if you are off a measure or a beat, its noticed. Maybe not by those who don’t know music or have never heard the tune before, but by those around you and by The One who directs our path- it’s notice. And I think we notice too when things just don’t seem right.

So, I’m keeping my eyes on Him, the author and perfecter of my faith. I’m following His lead, not going on my own, and playing the notes as His plan directs.

 

Day 26: Five Minute Friday: Voice

Today I am linking up with 5 minute Friday over with Lisa-Jo Baker.

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

Just five minutes of blogging.

Lisa-Jo puts it up a topic a minute after midnight on Fridays. I wasn’t able to stay up that late last night due to the dreaded colds that come with winter, so here is mine, 25 minutes after 12…noon… 🙂

Voice

One of my favorite books is called The Voice. I’m drawing a blank as to who it is by and my five minute timer may go off before I’m able to. But you should look for it. I will try to update later who it is by.

It’s a picture book. But I would say it’s probably aimed more at older children.

I love it, and I’m 27.

The cover of the book shows a guy sitting in a boat. As the story goes on This guy (who is never named) is fishing. The Voice starts talking to him, telling him that He loves him.

The guy tells the voice to go away, he’s fishing.

Soon the boat springs a leak and the guy blames the Voice. He plugs it with a foot and other hole appears.

The boat begins to sink and the Voice says: Follow Me.

In the end the Voice convinces the guy to get out of his boat and follow him. The guy takes a big breath and pulls his feet out. The next page is black indicating that the guy has closed his eyes. The Voice tells him to open them and when he does we see that he is walking on water.

Obviously the Voice is Jesus.

I love how Jesus calls us.

How he calls us to follow Him.

And this guy shows the emotions that we all so often feel when God is calling us to some uncharted territory: Fear. Distrust. And sometimes we blame God when doors get closed.

But like the guy realizes at the end of the book: When we trust and follow God, we can walk on water!

What is God calling you to step out into? What ways are God asking you to Follow Him?

Stop

Amazon came through just in the knick of time!

 

 

Day 25: Protection

I was listening to Klove yesterday while driving to work, which is nothing out of the ordinary!

They were talking about the worst passwords of 2012. Not quite the top of the list, but definitely on the list was Jesus.

The radio hosts were talking about how cool it is that it’s such a popular password that it made the list…but if it’s your password, you should change it!

I started thinking about passwords and how we count on them to protect us. We have passwords for our emails, our facebook, twitter, blog, even banks and school accounts. We have passwords for everything. And we rely on those passwords and the security of them to keep all our information safe.

It got me thinking about how Jesus is our protector. If Jesus wasn’t the on the worst passwords list, I’d make mine Jesus, because Jesus is my protector.

If only Jesus could people people from hacking our emails because he was our email password.

But even cooler is how God protects us. He loves us so much that he died to protect us from death, and he protects us through the big and little trials in our life. All of them! He’s pretty amazing!

Jesus is the password protection on my life.

 He is my protector and defender, my shelter and savior, in whom I trust for safety. He subdues the nations under me. Psalm 144:2

 

Day 24: Stubbornness

Sometimes I can be really hard headed and stubborn. My closest friends will question me and say “Sometimes”?

One of my closest friends and I are only friends because I was stubborn and made her listen to me and what I wanted to tell her about what she should do. If I hadn’t been stubborn I may never have met the amazing person she is.

Some of my mom’s favorite stories to tell of me (or so they seem to be her favorite because she happens to tell them a lot!) are moments when I was stubborn. Like not wanting a nap at 2 years old, and never napping again. Or getting out of my car seat constantly.

I’ll face it: Stubborn could be my middle name.

When I’ve made up my mind, don’t stand in my way. You wont win.

When I’ve decided to do something, I do.

If I think I am right I’ll fight you until you stop talking or agree. Even if I realize that I am wrong, though I think I am getting better at admitting I was wrong. I will still try really hard to get you to see my point of view.

Sometimes this stubbornness gets in the way of listening to God.

I’m ashamed to say it, but it’s true.

Sometimes this stubbornness gets in the way of listening to God.

Because when I’ve made up my mind: no one can change it.

But there are times when God tells me to go and I have no choice but to listen.

Or times when God says this is the way and I have to agree that He knows best.

Or there may be something I am just holding on to and not willing to let go and He wont let go of the fact that I have to let it go.

He’s always right, that God.

He’s pretty great, that God.

He knows my future, knows the hairs on my head, knows where I have been and where I am going.

I’m trying to hard to let go of my stubborn ways.

I’m trying hard to be better at listening to God.

I’ve had my fair share of seasons which I like to look back on and refer to as “Whale Seasons.” Times when I wouldn’t listen to God so I ended up in the Whale.

I wouldn’t change them for a moment, but I sure do wish they happened less. I sure do wish that I was better at listening to God.

Some of my favorite stories in the Bible are the ones in which God calls his Disciples. He just tells these men “Follow me” and they drop everything and Go. One wants to bury a dead relative, but God says “Follow me,” he tells him to “let the dead bury their own dead.”

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me,”Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.    Matthew 4:18-22

I want to be better at that, to hear God calling me to follow Him and go. I like that Matthew says “Immediately” I picture their father kind of protesting, wondering who this man is who has just taken his sons. I picture them leaving behind the fish, not really minding that they didn’t finish. Just going. Immediately.

I always seem to want to tie up loose ends, to finish this project or that, or to not let someone down.

God says to Follow Him. And I want to be open to that. So I’m putting down my stubbornness at the foot of the cross.

I love this song by Sidewalk Prophets. They say it so much better than I!

Day 23: Insanity

Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

Sometimes I feel like I get into a rut doing the same things. Insanity.

Sometimes you have to switch things up to avoid doing the same things over and over and getting stir crazy. Insanity.

Today I’m doing things differently.

Today I am choosing to try something new.

I am choosing to do something different.

Instead of doing the same Insanity things over and over again.

Psalm 78:33 – “Therefore their days did He consume in vanity, and their years in trouble.”

Are you stuck in the same old place?

Do you get caught up in doing the same thing over and over and find yourself bored, depressed, or annoyed?

Try something new today. Be different. Look for the ways God wants to bless you today.

Don’t be stuck in Insanity.

Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

No matter what you do, where you go, or where you look. He’s there, thats not insanity. Jesus says to rejoice in the Lord always.

Don’t get stuck in Insanity. Whatever your insanity looks like.