Monthly Archives: October 2015

A Surprise Impact of Someone Else’s New Beginnings

So, if I am being completely honest (and showing a little transparency) I would have to admit something.  Ever since I can remember, I become extremely uncomfortable when my church service doesn’t follow the normal pattern.  This is especially true when my pastor is gone or when other people are speaking.  I know that whenever the Word of God is preached, truth is proclaimed and I should not care.  So, yes, I will admit that this isn’t a flattering piece of information to share; it is just my response.  I usually feel really uneasy…maybe it’s because I do not like new things.  Maybe I place too much emphasis on the speaker.  Whatever it may be…it just is.  So, today, my pastor was at church; but he introduced another pastor who would be sharing the sermon.  So, as usual, I became uneasy and, to be perfectly honest, sort a shut him out for a bit.

But because I realize this about myself, I have a created a coping mechanism….take notes and write thoughts down.  As a teacher, I am constantly encouraging students to find something for themselves in every class period even if they are not being entertained or if the lesson seems uninteresting or unimportant. So, I work to be a better example of my own advice.

As the pastor continued, I maintained my attentiveness and after about 15 minutes, I realized just why he was speaking today.  He shared testimony of the direction God was taking his life….he is leaving our church and starting a church plant.  He went on to share all the ways that God used a variety of unconnected circumstances, people, coffee shop visits, twitter messages, and brought them all together to make sense of the WILL HE had for this pastor.

I was so impressed and moved by his testimony.  He is a 51 year old man with grown older children, but he has realized that the comfortable life he has lived for over 20 years was being shaken up. There was a new beginning.  God has new plans to uproot him and plant him in a community that desperately needs a man sensitive to the needs of the homeless, the educated, and others that have obvious need for spiritual awakening and change.  I could see why God would choose this man.  Even though I really do not know this pastor, it is obvious through his words today that he has a genuine concern and a willingness to show compassion to needy people.  He has worked for years ministering to children, but his heart is also sensitive to different demographic of people, just as all of our hearts should be.

So, I am thankful for the change in today’s church service.  I need to hear testimony of amazing transformation in the mind of others.  Thank you, Pastor Paul Persi for sharing your heart and soul.

The power of the Holy Spirit 

Calls us away sometimes from the things we love

To the things that scare us most

To things that challenge us

To things that will amaze us

It will be hard

It is never too late to change course and start to TRUST

Acts 1:8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses  in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth

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I am positively overwhelmed…and enjoying every moment

Well, perhaps I haven’t embraced that perspective fully…but here are today’s thoughts…at this very moment

So…..my general approach to work and life…right now means boxes and lists.

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What do you do when you have over 400 different pieces of student work to grade…you put them all in a box, take them home and hopefully look at 1 or 2…hundred of them before Monday

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When you are looking for possible places to call home, you organize your “wants” and “needs” on a spreadsheet (handwritten because you haven’t had time to go get ink for the printer and print out the neat and clean version in EXCEL)

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You keep track of all that you have done by creating a TO GRADE list and work to feel accomplished knowing that you can put a checkmark next to a couple

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You box up your life in hopes that you will be placing these earthly trinkets in a new place (by the way, some of these boxes have been packed and in this room for over a year)

AND THEN….

Despite your best efforts to not feel the waves of overwhelming circumstances and tasks and just general life complications…your heart palpitates off the charts and works against successfully TRUSTING in God’s great love and compassion and care

SO YOU REPLACE THE FEAR AND DISTRUST…

You are reminded that

From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. – Psalm 61:2

And are thankful and overwhelmed by HIS 

Sacrifice

Mercy

Compassion

 

And you write and reflect because of the wonderful way it becomes a journal of the journey and a time to take a break

Five Minute Friday: Joy Comes in the Morning

 Psalm 30:5 – weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning

I am reminded of this verse and a song that I used to hear as a child at church.  I am reminded that each day ends often with sadness, hardship, feelings of overwhelming anxiety…but joy comes in the morning.  Each day God gifts us with grace for a new beginning…we can approach the new day with a joyful spirit….a new start

When working to push through and accomplish mundane tasks or pressures from all areas of life, I recall that the joy of the Lord is my strength.  He is the ROCK I can go to when I am overcome with grief, doubt, insecurity, troubles….

I can look around and be filled with joy just by remembering the blessing of family, the fresh ocean air, a reliable career, and HIS consistent promises offered in Scripture.

So,  by the end of the day when my heart is full of grief and mourning, I can rest in the Lord and be renewed through the joy that is mine for the taking each morning.

Hope Beyond the Grave

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Powerful reminder that following Christ isn’t (and can’t) just be based on my faith. It’s about a historical event that cannot be denied. The gospel goes beyond hope for a better life today …. There’s a hope beyond the grave. We will live eternally; may we “proclaim it in his name, to all nations” (Luke 24:53) while we have the amazing freedom to do so. Thanks @brucegarnerhb @crosspointhbchurch for teaching truth consistently and responsibly

So so blessed by my church and the ability to spend my Sabbath with others who are empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Five Minute Friday: Got some GREEN going on

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So, on Fridays (what really starts on Thursday night around the globe) I link up with Kate Motaung to write for 5 minutes without stopping or editing.  This week’s topic stumped me and I really didn’t want to write sensible phrases and sentences today, so I used a WORDLE.  For 5 minutes, I just posted things I think of when I think GREEN.  Wordle then arranges them in this fun cloud shape…..so here it is.  Some randomness…if you look closely, you may just learn a thing, or two, or three about me (click on the pic to enlarge it if needed)  ENJOY!!!

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Five Minute Friday – Trust

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:

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Five minutes of writing without editing…time starts NOW!!!

This one took some introspection….I have always believed that you could trust me with anything.  You can tell me a concern or “secret” or anything going on in your life and I feel that you could trust me to keep that between us.  I still believe that.  However, I wanted to think further….am I someone that you can trust to be honest?  Are there things that possibly I hide from everyone about myself?

The truth of Scripture reminds us that the “eyes of the Lord are in all places beholding the good and the evil.”  Even if I have been able to fool myself or others, I can trust that the Lord knows my heart…this needs to be constantly in the forefront of my mind.

Then my mind also goes to the idea of maintaining and earning trust.  Just the other day, a student once again told me that he had his work done, just did not bring it to class.  I had to be honest and tell him that he had not earned my trust…he did not have a positive reputation of being forthright with his work habits. He would have to earn that trust back.

This is the hardest part about trust….It takes sometimes years to earn it and just one moment of a lapse in judgment to lose it.

STOP!!!

Las Ramblas Trail Hiking Fun

Throughout the past week, I began a new unit with my geography class on physical geography.  While most may think this is the time where we discuss latitude and longitude, climate, etc., I actually focus on Creation and nature.  During the lectures and activities this week, I encouraged each student to take time to appreciate Creation.  This took me back to many hikes I have been on, so I called upon my best friend and sister.  We generally hike Peter’s Canyon in Orange, but I wanted a different view this weekend. So, we braved the congested 5 fwy and made our way to a hiking trail in San Juan Capistrano.  It was a great find because we only saw 5 or 6 people the entire time, there were some inclines along the way, in addition to great views.

California has been dealing with this horrific drought for the past few years, so many of the trails in SoCal are so dried up.  This one is not an exception, but the views of the water are magical.  Also, if you stand and just take in the view opposite the ocean, you can see the outline of the mountains that outline the edge of our cities.  The billows of clouds were scattered throughout the sky as well and offered us a great panoramic scene.  So, I share some highlights of our day and want to be sure to glorify God through it all thanking Him for the much needed time with my sister, the reminders of His majesty in nature, the excellent workout that didn’t require a busy gym….and the breakfast that followed.

Prone to Wander

The Apostle Paul stated it so well in Romans 7

15For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

Daily finding myself wrapped in doubt, fear, complacency, just plain sinful actions.  I often become so overwhelmed, feeling like I am battling against something that no one else understands or feels. Disappointed with myself for not being willing to turn 180 degrees and go the other way.  But even Paul faced the struggle.  I am not alone.  Christ was tempted in all ways:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

Struggles.  Are.  Real.    Freedom.  Is.  Attainable.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

I love the words of the hymn writer.

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Today, and most days, the struggle…the conflict within…the choices are present.  Where do I go to find my strength?  I cannot find it within myself.  I must go to a ROCK that is higher than I.  

from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I,
Psalm 61:2