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Transportation decisions….and a lesson on Discipleship

So, I felt like I was caught between the 1800s and 2015 this morning.  Unfortunately for my husband, he has had to deal with 2 car issues this week.  Unfortunately for me, one of those was a flat tire this morning.  This meant that getting to church was going to pose a challenge – I could walk like they did years ago, or I could take advantage of the technological age and stream my church service online.  I chose the latter 🙂

Glad I didn’t just give up and find something else to do around the house or continue grading papers.  I stopped to spend some time with my church in non-conventional way.  Pastor Bruce Garner has spent the last two weeks stepping away from his expository methods and has been led to discuss the topic of discipleship.  While not new to this topic, I always love how the Holy Spirit uses the preaching and teaching of Crosspoint Church  to approach topics I have learned my whole life.  There’s usually new life breathed into topics that sometimes can become repetitive.  Just wanted to spend a few moments here to review for myself…and share with anyone who may need some of these great reminders.

  • Discipling, as demonstrated by Christ and the apostle Paul, goes beyond the gospel message; it deals with life to life engagement
  • Discipleship relationships require us to get close enough to care and requires intentional interaction and leadership
  • Just hoping something sticks isn’t good enough
  • The outcome is that believers become mature in Christ

I appreciated the visuals that my pastor reminded us of, as found in Paul’s epistle to the Thessalonians.  That disciple makers are likened unto nursing mothers and admonishing fathers.  This teaches me that

  • I am required to be inconvenienced at times.  Babies don’t just get fed according to a schedule all the time.  There are times when babies need immediate attention and care.  When there’s a need, a mother looks for it to be met.  When the lives of those I seek to disciple falls apart, they should know that I am there.
  • I need to be willing to encourage others to grow in Christ. We will both grow in maturity since there is a necessity to be an example of growth as well.
  • I can reach these needs through the strength that God so graciously provides (Colossians 1:29)

The value I took away from today’s message is summed up in these two thoughts.  “Both the message and the method of Jesus are sacred….  Participating in the life of others shouldn’t just be characterized by convenience but rather by mutual commitment. “

Take this time to reflect as I once again evaluate where I am in my relationship with Christ.  He calls me to dedicate myself to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-20).  It’s not just a request…it’s an imperative, a command.  Where are we in commitment to this task?  It shouldn’t take as much consideration as I have given.  I should act.  It’s just that simple.

Find the whole message here. (the message should post in a day or two, but sermon 1 from last week is posted already – it’s a good start)

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Seasons – Saturday’s Post for Five Minute Friday

We recognize seasons with celebration. Summer means flip flops and beach trips. Fall means Halloween is approaching with decorations and fall food. Spring is a time to plant new little seeds that we can visually and aromatically enjoy. Winter brings celebration of family and friends and the gift of Christ’s birth. While in California the visual differences between the changing seasons may not be as strikingly obvious as they are in other places, the mental changes definitely have their time. I just read the other day that Americans gain 8-10 pounds during the holidays. The inclination to bake and drink hot cocoa and gather with people around food definitely can play a toll on our healthy summer salad living.

We also go through “seasons of life,” as many refer to them. There may be days, weeks, months, or even years where life flows smoothly by. Jobs are a plenty, we enjoy our kids, we approach life with an overwhelming positive approach and take time to show gratitude. But. Then. Life. Turns. Difficult circumstances come and it’s a little more difficult to dedicate time to ministry or just see friends on a regular basis. A big project comes up at work, deterring us from making quality time for people or even to take care of ourselves.

I can easily become  grinch this time of year as I wrap up that last couple of weeks of school, working to get all my students motivated to stay the course.  Decorating and finding time to find gifts can stress me out….just look at the parking lots filled with cars (ain’t nobody got time for that).

Whatever it may be, I pray that I can remember the things that matter during this season of the year and of my life.  A husband who works hard. A daughter who strives to do well in school. A mother-in-law going through chemo. A dad overcoming heart issues. Family….they matter.  Students.  They matter. Some with deep concerns during the season they are in.  Friends. They matter.  Church. Inviting others to the hope and peace of Christ. It matters.

Didn’t even Know if I could Dance

Welcome to Five Minute Friday found by going to this site by Kate Motaung

This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.

Just write.  

Today’s prompt is DANCE

You have turned my mourning into dancing, Lord, now my feet are  filled with your praise.  You have clothed my spirit with a robe of JOY, you’ve cast my sorrow away.

I grew up listening to this fun song by Steve Green, but never really ever experienced the joyful part of dancing.  I know that pop culture tends to turn any good form of dancing into something that shouldn’t be a prominent part of a Christian’s life, but I think there is something to say about the exuberance and celebration that comes with dancing.  I grew up in a community where dancing was really prohibited in all forms and even our church worship tended to be extremely mellow.  We didn’t ever get “excited” about the words sung or show emotion when singing except for maybe the raised eyebrows and energy we could show on our faces.

With that being said, I came into my adulthood without ever really knowing if I could dance.  But in recent years, I have taken to demonstrating a few rhythmic moves.  Worship includes more than just a tap of the foot and when I hear a song on the radio (whether sacred or secular), I don’t mind being moved to MOVE a little.   I do have to admit that I don’t really have any moves for the dance floor; however, I will often take the opportunity to burn some calories and join in with friends as they raise their hands, shuffle their feet, and sing along to the melody.

“Dancing” and praising and showing the demonstration of the joy (for me personally in my Christian life) comes from being filled with a Spirit of celebration of the wonderful work of God and the way He has allowed me to overcome obstacles as well as be emotionally changed when I think of who He is, how He sent His Son, and the eternal life I now live through the risen Savior I serve.  (Last loooong sentence before the 5 minutes are up…..sorry that was probably not written effectively, but look past it to the message)

…now to enjoy my last sip of coffee and head to a wonderful Friday….dancing along the way.

 

 

Just Open the Book

#shereadstruth great reminders today of our position in Christ and the power that Scripture provides to us. No need to be a scholar or to feel guilt on days we can’t spend hours in the Word. Be willing to open it up, ask for The Holy Spirit to fill you with understanding, discernment, and knowledge and find the overwhelming comfort, instruction, hope, and guidance needed for each circumstance of life (great and small, simple or complicated)image

Find the She Reads Truth devotional here

Why wait until the New Year for a New You

So, my body has been feeling pretty crummy and run down for the past 2 months or so.  I know I can attribute it to the wealth of poor food choices I have made pretty much over the last year.  I am smarter than this….I have been here before and I did get myself out of it, but for some reason, I just needed something to boost my discipline.  So, while flipping through stations, I came across Dr.Oz as he was discussing his 3 Day Detox.  Thanks to the quick internet search, I came across 3 day cleanse and decided that I would try it out the last 3 days of 2013 in preparation for some new things coming my way in 2014.

3 Day Cleanse

I started off on a scavenger hunt of sorts to 4 different stores since I wanted to get the best deal on produce and the supplements.  While all of it is to cost $48 for all three days, I spent about $70 since I didn’t have almond butter or the probiotic supplement on hand.  I tweaked things a bit and was able to find Epsom Salt infused with Lavender for $3.50 at Walmart (lavender drops were going to run $11 at Sprouts).

photo-21

What I anticipated was that I would be grumpy and suffer from a headache all 3 days (for lack of my morning coffee); however, I must admit that the green tea in the morning along with the breakfast smoothie about an hour later gave me energy.  I never suffered from the headache I thought I would have.  The breakfast smoothie turned out to be my favorite. The lunch meal turned me off the first day (my blender didn’t really puree the celery well), so the second day, I added an extra half cup of pineapple and blended it a little longer.  It was nearly perfect.

What came as a surprise was the dinner smoothie that contains cayenne pepper.  WOW!! While the recipe calls for 1/4 tsp, I only used 1/8 tsp which proved to be enough to have my nose running for 30 minutes after I drank it.  Interestingly enough, I went on a search for information about cayenne pepper and found out so many benefits our bodies gain from it.  Check some out here.

Day 3 proved to be a challenge when my family decided to take a trip to the Reagan Library.  I knew this would mean that I would have to find a way to prepare the lunch smoothie and take it with me.  In anticipation of a long morning, I prepared the breakfast smoothie early, placed it in the freezer for about an hour and drank it on the drive to Simi Valley (around 9:30am).  The lunch smoothie was made the night before and placed in the freezer.  I took it with me, thinking that it would defrost by 2pm when we eventually ate lunch – To no avail. So, I did end up eating a salad with a 12 calorie dressing at THE HABIT restaurant.  Since it was New Year’s Eve, I did eat dinner with the family which ended up being just as many calories as the smoothie – whole wheat pasta with sauce that had lots of spinach and some ground turkey.  (Couldn’t finish it all…and I passed on the bread in exchange for green beans).  Celebrated with a square of dark chocolate and some hot tea.  Twas marvelous.

After day 3, I feel better and resigned to start off the year with better choices.  My body just feels better and I am not spending an hour after I eat feeling sick.  I’d say I was successful, despite not finishing exactly as the plan planned.

But isn’t that important about the food we decide to eat – we need to be flexible and not go overboard.  Be able to enjoy without constant indulgence and treat food as fuel and not as a 24/7 party.  

HAPPY NEW YEAR

She Shares – More on Prayer and Soul Detox

As I mentioned last week, I have become attached to some great Bible study plans through YouVersion, and I have been reading each day, tweeting my reflections, and now sharing my lessons and thoughts for the week as a part of SHE SHARES on shereadstruth.com

I am continuing the Reading Plans for Prayer and Soul Detox; here are some of the week’s highlights.  Maybe you can take one or two away with you today

PRAYER

Don’t fear the weaknesses I see in self ; HIS grace is sufficient ; HIS power is made perfect in my weakness (II Cor 12:7-9)

He hears me in my desperation (Ps. 5:1-3)

If I would be more consistent in sharing my faith, I would be reminded more often of the blessing Christ gives  (Phil 1:3-5; Philemon 1:4-6)

Joy, prayer, and thankfulness should NOT depend upon my circumstances; they should be a part of my routine (I Thes. 5:16-18)

SOUL DETOX

Fear is placing faith in the “What ifs”; I have many “what ifs” that fuel my toxic fear (Ex. 4:1-27)

How different life can be when I put FULL TRUST in God and strive for Him daily (Ps. 34: 1-22)

Cultural toxins (those things that are culturally acceptable but damaging to my soul) can make my life in Christ (which is intended to bring forth pure fruit) as a contaminated and useless vessel (like a muddy spring or a dirty well) Proverbs 25:26-27

“they shall know that I am the LORD”

The book of Ezekiel uses this phrase SIXTY times in its 48 chapters, most of them in chapters 27-29 as God declares destruction and judgment of the neighbors of the Jews.

The Lord reveals His attributes through His judgments just as much as He does through His blessings, and sometimes His judgments get our attention much more quickly – Wiersbe

Ezekiel 29-32 continue in the description of the judgment of a very famous Old Testament country, Egypt. You know, the pyramid building, pharaoh worshipping, Nile reliant society.  A country that for long had dominated the Middle East, would lose its power and would never return to the glory of its Pharaoh days.  Even after God had judged Egypt with the plagues prior to the exodus, Egypt failed to see God as the ultimate sovereign of the world.  But “they shall know that I am the Lord, ” would be said of them following the Babylonian takeover of this country.

How often do we come to a “they shall know that I am the Lord” moment in our lives.  As the Wiersbe quote above displays, it’s usually through the times of “judgment” on our lives after we have lived with unconfessed sins.

I want to live today knowing my God through a closer walk I develop with HIM.  If I am honored enough to be granted HIS blessings today, may I “know that HE is the LORD.”  Being reminded of HIS creation, HIS protection, HIS direction, HIS guidance, HIS love, HIS provision, HIS sweet care in the daily moments I live out.  These are the character traits of God that allow me to know HE IS THE LORD.

Let YOUR Word pour down on me

Isaiah 55:10-11
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

An earthquake and an opportunity

Acts 16: 30 “What can I do to be saved?” As I read this story of the jailer in Philippi, the earthquake, and the chance that Paul and Silas had to escape…hey, they could have thought, “God sent an earthquake to free us..it must be God’s will for us to leave…” I am struck with the idea that they stayed in an uncomfortable place, to be used by God. God did much more when they decided to stay – many were converted because of their choice to stay…and they were still released in the end.

Lord, Help me to be so in tune with your will for me that I move when you want me to. I want to know your direction throughout the day so that I can be used in ways I would have never imagined.

Grace that is greater than all my sin

Romans 5:20
The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more. I am so thankful that God’s grace far exceeds all the sin in our lives. May I live worthy of His grace in my life today, and not allow sin to ruin my testimony for Him today.