Wednesday, September 24, 2014

the most important thing

The funniest thing happened today.  When I arrived home I found an envelope in the mail from Jocelyn's former high school soccer coach.

He said he was cleaning out his office at home and came across 2 certificates he had never given to her!  So he sent them to us.

It got me to thinking, how important those certificates were back in 2006, and how unimportant  
they are now.

Isn't that the way of most everything in our lives - at least here in the US?

I know so many people who claim the name of Christ and yet are so unsatisfied with their lives, with what they have and the job they are currently doing.  Why is this?  

Friends overseas are content to work ANY job - and spend each day working for just enough to put food on the table and MAYBE a couple pieces of clothing occasionally.  Still they are content.

My guess is when you HAVE to trust the Lord for EVERYTHING - you worship and praise Him as each need is met.  They watch those around them who don't know the Lord struggle and lay their last pieces of food and hand-full of nearly worthless coins at the feet of idols. They watch each of their lost friends' days become completely full of hopelessness without the Savior they love.

But don't we do the same?  I have some friends who go to jobs they're not thankful for,  just to work their lives away to try to pay off things they should have never bought in the first place - and suddenly they look around and realize they've allowed themselves to become slaves to stuff.  It's easy to do here.  And that of course brings no satisfaction at all.

Soccer teams are important, they teach you discipline and certainly keep you physically in shape, but as that era passes and you move on- certificates become paper memories that get laid aside and seldom thought about.  

My longing is that nothing temporary will distract me from what the Lord has ordained for my life to become.  I want to abide in Him fully and focus on why He placed me here and what He has 
for me to invest my life in.

May my most important thing always be moving closer and closer toward Him and always discerning what 'the most important thing' is in His eyes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

what I learned today

Jesus taught that we can learn much from the lilies of the field. How do they grow? By struggling and seeking to display their beauty? No, they simply open themselves to the existing sun, and in their sun-centeredness, they grow and become objects of beauty for all to enjoy.

It was St. Augustine who realized this truth centuries ago: “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O God, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”

This was what I read in my devotions today.

'they simply open themselves to the existing their sun-centeredness, they grow and become objects of beauty for all to enjoy.'

We make remaining 'in Him' so difficult.  We work and work to 'show ourselves approved', when all He wants is for us to REMAIN IN HIM.

Even good work, eternity work is not the main reason He created us.  He created us to REMAIN IN HIM, to become beautiful through Him and FOR HIM.

That changes everything I had on my agenda today.

It doesn't remove my responsibilities, but it wraps them up in Him.  It affects the 'why' am I doing this and for whom?

As you go through your day today - REMAIN in Him.  During every trivial, necessary task consider what about it brings Him pleasure.  In most cases I would guess that the attitude with which we do even the most menial task is what He's the most pleased with.

Will you consider examining your day using the sample of the lilies?

They do not struggle - they simply open themselves up to Him.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

so far away

Quality writing feels so far away right now.  I write when I have time to think and sitting and thinking hasn't been on the agenda for a few days.

It's a season of being caught in the details of creating and producing.  Constantly producing.

Going through my stacks of folders and papers, adding one date after another to my calendar, it dawned on me I also need to add 'deck time' and 'writing time' or I'll watch every single day fill up.  So I added those things too!

 This is my mess from this week.  But the pile of trash at the far end represents an end in site.  Things I'm done with and can throw away.

I need to quit for the night, but, I am praising Him even in the mess - that He walks beside me, and from our mess comes life change, and opportunity for the lost, and hope.

Tonight a full wastebasket and organized folders makes me very happy and thankful and ready to rest for another day!

This writing was nothing deep - but I wanted to just take a moment and thank my Lord in writing for the gift of another week!

Monday, September 15, 2014

my day off

There is no way you can explain to anyone that didn't grow up in Ashland Ohio, why you care about going to the Ashland County Fair.   Multiple times.

I care about going, and today I did!  These were a few of my favorite things!

we ate with great-grandpa at the Veterans Tent

Great-Grandma and Oliver watching the cows

great grandpa treated us to 2 plates of curly fries!

I grew up in a small town, with a loving family, participating in things like 4-H, and county fairs and I LOVE the Ashland County Fair and all the memories it holds for our family.

It was a great day off!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

This is the day...

Psalm 118:24
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I have no idea why, but, I woke up with this on my heart today.  As I walked outside to sit down, it ran over and over in my mind.

Is it prophetic?   Is something bad going to happen, I wondered?  Is it simply a reminder that 'all good things come from the Lord'?  Am I going to have an opportunity to encourage someone else?

MY schedule doesn't look that difficult today, so I'm not feeling any stress - my house is in order - just mostly re-reading old emails and catching up on the details of coming events to make sure I'm on schedule.

So what is this from the Lord...

It doesn't matter, I rest in Him.

And, I couldn't be more thankful for His never ending love and grace, and for surrounding me with yet another day here on earth - hopefully to make a difference, but, again- content just to be IN Him...

THIS is the day.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

fruitless yet rewarded

fruitless may seem worthless...
In my position I get the privilege of encouraging pastors and others in ministry.  You may say to yourself, "It must be nice to be in a position where you spend your days serving the Lord and important job unlike mine just working for a boss that doesn't appreciate me..."

But the fact is that many times those in ministry toil their entire life never really seeing results - yet continue to serve because they are confident in their call none the less.

I read this recently from John Piper, 'When a young replacement asked a retired pastor of a small church how he had the endurance and strength of soul to keep on in the ministry all those years, he said, “The Lord measures the faithfulness of our labor, not our success. I look always to the Lord and not to man.”

There can be periods of life-quenching discouragement that comes from extended periods of apparent fruitlessness.  Over the past 17 years, I have seen our worship guys go through great discouragement over the lack of enthusiasm from our congregational worship.  We've spent time evaluating what we were doing, trying to make changes to make sure it wasn't us that was holding them back.   And then there would come breakthrough seasons like we are in now, where the worship has never been sweeter - the body seeming anxious to gather and worship together...  All we are required of the Lord to do, is to faithfully serve - never promised that we would even see results!

The prophet Isaiah was sent to minister to a people that God knew would not turn to Him.  Talk about a seemingly 'fruitless' season!  Isaiah said this, "I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity, yet surely my right is with the LORD and my recompense with my God. (Isaiah 49:4)

He knew regardless of their response, his reward rested in the Lord, it was the labor required - not success.

Please be encouraged today to continue the labor God has called you to!   Your reward rests in Him!

And continue to pray for us as we work through the process of choosing Crossroads' next pastor.

My prayer throughout the process has not only been for the man God has chosen for us , but for unity in the process.  A process that builds us stronger and closer to one another and to the Lord!  May our labor at Crossroads be sweet to the Lord!

Monday, September 1, 2014


As I recently walked through a high-end thrift store, it struck me how all of the items in there had once been important or used by someone.  And the possibility existed that some of the former owners could be gone by now.

I saw TVs from all different eras - some so old that I could just picture the wide-eyed wonder with which the families' children gathered around their first TV.  These TVs would have been considered a true treasure at one time.  Now they sit and gather dust and are used by no one.

I looked at old rusty rod iron fences that perhaps once surrounded beautifully manicured lawns and maybe even games of croquet.

There were even bowling balls sitting in unique holders the likes of which I had never seen before.

But the item that really caught my eye, and probably surprised me the most, was a still folded casket flag.  A flag that represented the deceased life of a brave soldier.  And I wondered why anyone would ever give a family flag to a thrift store?

Was a family so completely gone that no one knew who this person was?  No one remembered they even had lived?  It made me very sad to consider this - to be that forgotten seems impossible.  Yet when you consider that only 3 generations really know you, it doesn't take long before you become unknown.

It made me wonder if this life had made any difference in the world...any difference in eternity?

I took a hard look at my own life and asked how long it would take for me to be completely forgotten?   I prayed anew that the Lord would draw my attention each day to what is next for Him, what will make a difference in eternity.

It just has to amount to more than a forgotten folded flag in a thrift store.