Favorite Things Monday: People of Action Edition

Clear eyes

Full hearts

Can’t lose

Texas is all over the news, our media feeds and more than any of that, our hearts. Someone had the audacity to name a hurricane Harvey. It’s such a tame sounding name. It’s what you name your favorite dog or a horse in an animated movie. It sounded tame, then hit our coast with a freakish vengeance.

Our news feeds have gone from seeing the worst of humanity last week to seeing the best of humanity. When tragedy hits, people really do come together. They go their neighbor, they rescue, they provide, they love, they show up in whatever way is needed over and over again. Our hearts break but somewhere in the chaos, our souls feel the fresh air when we see the loving of each other.

I have friends who are safe and sound, some having to leave their homes and another waiting word as her parents are having to evacuate. I knew the storm would be bad but I have lived here long enough to know the after affects of a storm tend to mean flood waters. We are safe and after a weekend of rain and wind, we are dry here in the Austin area. But our friends are not. That is not ok with me.

Pray for Texas. Donate.

Last week, I talked about how they are all big steps. The seemingly small thing is actually a big thing. We can’t see the big impact of our seemingly small step.

Prayer is no small thing.

Giving is no small thing.

Don’t be overwhelmed into inaction. That may be the thing we do best. That is for sure in my skill set. This isn’t judgement, this is calling it out in myself in hopes that someone else in my boat sees it…and so we don’t keep doing it. The images of a family hanging out on their roof to avoid flood waters, the photos of babies on momma’s laps in shelters, unrecognizable freeways…and because this is Texas, there will always be the picture of guy in a tube looking like he is floating the Guadalupe… I wonder how in the world I can make an ounce of a difference (not for the guy in the tube, he knew he would end up on the internet and he is probably quite proud of himself).

I get to be the one that gives the giving talk on Sunday mornings. Not all the time, but pretty frequently. There are certain things about the way God works that I just never get over.

Ok, so maybe there are a whole lot of things but here is something I go back to over and over again.

My time, talent and treasure are not mine to begin with (and thank you Pastor Todd Nelson for those 3 words that have stuck over the years). They are all gifts. When I give back to God what He has given to me, He does far more with it than I ever could. Every. Single. Time. The ripple affect of obedience is going to go far beyond what I can see. The really awesome part is how He allows me the chance to see that at work. Sometimes, we give out of obedience and trust God with the rest. And sometimes, he lets us see the fruit. Either way, its an act of faith where we give back what He has given us and trust that He does far more with it than we ever could.

Are you with me? Let’s be the people of action. Turns out that being overwhelmed robs everyone. So whether it is your time, your attention, your talent, your money, your words or seemingly simple actions – let’s be people of action.

 

 

Favorite Things Monday: They Are All Big Steps Edition

T’was the night before school starts and all through the house, every creature is stirring…especially the one starting middle school tomorrow. I’m sorry, I am out of rhymes. Why? As of tomorrow, the one I wrote the long blog about finishing/surviving elementary school has figured out how to use a combination lock, has PE clothes in his bag and kicks off his first day of 6th grade. My brain is trying real hard to keep level.

For all of you kicking off the first day/week of school…prepare for mid-afternoon caffeine. The kids will do great, you will do just fine and everyone will make it. Afternoon coffee will keep us afloat. I wake up early almost year round but when the kids have to as well, it’s an adjustment.

Last week Ray kicked off a new sermon series at church called Jesus Goggles. I LOVED that first week and couldn’t wait for this week. This week didn’t disappoint. Then, thanks to Timehop, I was immediately reminded of how applicable it is.

Seven years ago, my husband and family had a church family reunion. My timehop reminded me that that was 7yrs ago today. This was the church that my in-laws and my husband first encountered the saving power and love of Jesus. How did they get there? I’m glad you asked. If you listen to my in-laws for any amount of time, you will hear the infamous name Miss Donna. Miss Donna was the lady who was going door-to-door inviting people to church. She was doing the seemingly simple thing. That small thing was a really big thing. That act of obedience led to my mother in-law saying yes. More like, “My husband and son will be there”. They went. Jesus changes everything and He did in my family that day. My mother in-law wasn’t far behind.

My family loves and serves Jesus. Generations of mess were broken. It was the beginning of a new legacy.

One person’s willing obedience to God really can do far more than we imagine.

The message started off in Acts 9. We’ve got crazy-before-encountering-Jesus guy named Saul. Saul encounters Jesus on the road to go persecute more Christians. If you don’t know the story, it goes like this…Saul encounters Jesus and further down the road we see this guy who starts churches all over, leads people, stands before kings and rulers and disciples men and women who went on to lead churches and do amazing things. It’s crazy.

But before that, there is this guy named Ananias. A ready, willing and obedient Ananias. When it could have cost him everything, he went to Saul. He got to see the miracle.

We see Saul become Paul. We see his whole life and ministry laid out. Sunday was a challenge to not underestimate every step of obedience. All of them matter. We look at Paul (or Peter…because I do have a favorite disciple) and want to do the big and bold thing but MAN DO WE MISS THE POINT. I don’t want tunnel vision where I miss Jesus in the seemingly small instruction…because there is no such thing as a small step. Ananias shows us the impact of a ready and willing heart. What was the last thing God told you to do that you haven’t done? Go do it. What is He saying now? Do it.

There is no such thing as a small step.

 

 

Favorite Things Monday: Eyes That See Edition

You would think that everyone knew by now that hate gets us nowhere. It never wins. It may seem like it puts up a fair fight. After all, people are hurt and afraid. Some are in shock and wonder how. Many wonder why. Hate never wins. Hateful acts never make a point. It tries. It doesn’t have a chance. Love is always greater. Truth is always louder. Hope is always real. The army on the side of love is always stronger. We win.

Before any news broke on Saturday, I had had a week with a full feed and full text threads. Scary things were everywhere. A way-too-young friend rushed to a hospital for open heart surgery. When words like dissected aorta get thrown around you turn to Jesus…and Google only to find out this should not be happening. His wife and family could do one thing and asked us to do the same. Friends with nieces and scary diagnosis’, not knowing why a baby was found unresponsive and wondering what it would mean. And all we could do was pray.

Friends with scary moments, frustrating moments and then there is the every day stuff. The every day stuff that makes me pre-order my Starbucks so I don’t have to wait in a line. In addition, we have kids preparing to start a new school year. I am preparing myself to have a 6th grader. By “prepare”, I mean pray and clean everything.

I don’t know that there are adequate words. Surely there are and maybe someone else has them but I know this…I saw Jesus in the lives of friends this past week. I mean, I saw him BIG. Not just in results but in the faith and hope of those facing giant scary unknowns.

I saw perfect love casting out fear. I saw hope in scary places. I saw the peace of God rule. Because love is always greater. Truth is always louder. Hope is always real. We win.

Sunday happened. For a lot of different reasons, it was right up there as a favorite so far…

Ray started a new sermon series called Jesus Goggles (read this, then go listen here). Did you read “google” and thought I made a typo? I didn’t. I have read this story a lot but I hadn’t heard it like this. I haven’t seen it through this lens before.

Luke 24 starts out with two men on a road, processing the worst of the worst. How could it be? Then the say these words to Jesus, not knowing it was Jesus, they talked about him… “but we had hoped that He was the one”…

Discouragement. Disappointment. Fear. They had hope, then it was gone. Or so they thought. He listened to their fear and their dashed hopes. He reminded them of what He had said. Then He broke bread and blessed it and their eyes were opened and they saw Him. AND THEN THEIR EYES WERE OPENED. Wait just a minute. They had talked and walked…then BAM!

I want to just stare at this passage of scripture and not miss a single thing it has to show me.

What lens am I looking at life and circumstance through? What am I missing? I don’t want to miss seeing Jesus when He is standing right in front of me, asking whats going on.

I want eyes that see…

I don’t even know how to end this one because it feels so fresh and present…

Then I got this song running through my head…

Have you sung “Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” since reading this post? I apologize. This is what happens when you’re friends with Katie Moore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Things Tuesday: The Long Road of Faithful Obedience Edition

I am my mother’s daughter.

Some love mountains and some wide open plains. While there is a time for all of those things for me, nothing beats crashing waves, white sand and my people.

That stretch of beach is a whole lot more than pretty views, nice tans, rest and fun. I mean, it is all of those things. Add in family, memories made and watching my kids have a blast while I have fun with them…or sit in a chair with an ice cold la croix while they burry themselves in white sand. It’s all of those things and more but this trip something bigger hit me.

20 years ago on that stretch of beach…

Yes, there are the insane family memories. The moments that make me want to cry 20 years later. There was the first time we had seen the ocean in a few years and my mom crying every time. There are family vacations where Hanna learned to walk and the one before that where Caleb got the chicken pox. He shared. It was the pandemic of 1997. I have pictures of Macayla standing in the grass outside of our condo as a baby and memories of running with a little MacKenzie till little legs couldn’t keep going and she fell laughing in the sand. I walked past that old condo multiple times on our trip as I walked the beach with Ray and the kids. I remember memories of little people who have grown into incredible adults…and one that the loss still takes my breath away. There are one thousand memories. My kids go to the same go cart track and ride the same rides that I did as a teenager. Only now, Cephas is old enough to DRIVE them by himself.

20 years of memories on that stretch of beach and the traditions continue.

A little further down the road on that same stretch of beach God met me as a 15 year old. I knew God but that summer brought a call that I couldn’t shake if I tried. The year where I faced the music and knew that God called me into ministry. 20 years later I can tell you not to roll your eyes at the 15yr old, it wasn’t a fluke.

We get the gift of memorial stones in our lives. Sometimes we remember moments. Sometimes we write them down so we don’t forget and revisit them later. For me, one of those places was a stretch of beach, right down the road from the place where God reminds of the gift of my wild family. I love the combo here.

I walked that beach and remembered and was in awe of God’s faithfulness to that wild girl. The one who scared her mom. The one who’s family had paid a great price but continued to be faithful to the God who sustained them. They set an incredible example…and they continue to.

The road to faithful obedience is a long road. It’s a really long road. It’s both a marathon and a relay. We run our long race faithfully. We have a baton to pass on. But this road? It’s long. The things that God spoke to that 15 year old girl are still true. It’s been 20 years and my God is so faithful.

It was more than one step of faith and it will continue to be one after another until I see His face. And it will be worth it. One foot in front of the other, eyes focused and clear.

Keep going. The road is long but the God of the long road is a faithful God.