Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Healthy Church described by Greg Laurie

"One of the wonderful things about a healthy church is its diversity. That in itself is a witness to a divided world. It is a powerful testimony when someone can come into an assembly of believers and see that we have set aside our differences and there is unity.It doesn't mean there is uniformity. God can take the same gift and put it in the lives of two people, and it might manifest itself a little bit differently as the Holy Spirit works through human personality.

Ephesians tells us that God has given us these gifts "for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (4:12 NKJV). Another way to translate this verse is "to equip God's people for work and His service."

The word "equip" in the original language means "to put something back to its original condition." It is also a phrase that speaks of putting a bone back into place again. The idea is that we are getting back to God's original order when we do it this way, when we function as the church ought to function."

I say AMEN to this!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sometimes You Just Gotta Cut the Tassles Off !

Keeping things simple has never been one of my strengths. I don't know if it has to do with 1) being a "Type A" personality or 2) that I'm married to a man (who, by the way, I'm crazy in love case you didn't know) who seems to have a knack for many times making things alot more complicated than what seems necessary & "his" ways have possibly rubbed off on me or 3) maybe me not knowing how to set boundaries in alot of areas & I end up saying "yes" way too much to people...which I figure probably has to do with the "Type A" thing or 4) perhaps it's my seemingly insatiable desire to express my creativity which is almost a whole other subject in itself. Who knows what the true reason is?...all I know is my life seems way more complicated than the average person!!

With that lengthy but necessary context given, here's one of my most current examples of how I simply make things way too complicated which ends up causing stress or simply adding one more thing to my already long to-do list which in turn adds CLUTTER to my over-taxed brain:

I have a lovely comforter on our bed with coordinating shams & extra large accent pillows. And yes, I'm one of those gals who loooooves & I mean loves having a fluffy bed with lots of layers & tons of various sized & shaped pillows {thud}. My husband is constantly kidding me about how if I add one more pillow to the bed it will eventually take him at least 30 minutes to take them off at night when getting ready to go to bed. Just last night we had another conflict while I was changing our sheets about me putting the pillowtop back on {thud} which he had taken off the bed while I was in the Middle East. (And why did he remove it? Because it makes him hot (insert whiny voice here). So, now I'm trying to figure out how I can keep the pillowtop on just my side without it looking wierd....& thus another dilemma & one more thing to think about {thud}. A normal person would probably just bag it up, take it to Goodwill, & be done with it but oh no, not me!)

Back to the subject at hand: ever since purchasing the bedding over 5 years ago, the extra large accent pillows have been a pain to deal with becasuse they have annoying albeit beautiful tassles on each corner which refuse to stay on. It would be over the top detail-wise (even for me!) to explain the way they were put on, so suffice it to say that almost without fail when making the bed or taking them off at night, a tassle or two would fall off. I would put them back on or Neal would supposedly fix them permanently or sometimes I'd just stick them in the nightstand so I didn't have to think about my imperfect pillows {thud}. Of course, every time I made the bed, I'd have to position the pillows correctly so the tassle-less corner or corners didn't show...which everyone knows would totally ruin "the look"! {thud, thud}

I was making my bed a few weeks ago before heading out for a Control Freaks job, and Tori, my BFF/business partner was waiting on me (so what else is new? she would say...again, all because of my lack of life simplicity!). I fussed aloud about the tassles once again as I made the bed {thud}, and she stated oh so simply, "Why don't you just take them to an alterations person? They could probably sew them so they'd stay on." Cha-ching! "Brilliant idea", I mused. She offered to take them for me to the place she uses. Even better! (I call Tori my "Girl Friday because she always seems to be taking things here & there, picking up this or that for me because I can never seem to get all my errands done.). Problem solved or so I thought.

After our job, we ran a few errands in Mint Hill (the town I live in) & I spotted an alterations place I hadn't tried, so we whipped in only to have the gal actually tell me I should be able to fix that myself & no matter how I explained it to her, she just kept saying in her cute little accent, "You can do, You can do." {thud x 10} So back to the car I walked with pillows in hand & a very annoying look on my face.

Tori had a hair appointment that day or the next...I can't quite remember, but the hairdresser is located right near the alterations place. So the perfect timing for her to drop off my increasingly time-consuming but oh so beautiful, tassle-less accent pillows. For some reason, she forgot to drop them off which eventually led to me taking them back & telling myself I would drop them off when I had my next haircut appointment {thud}(yes we go to the same girl...don't all BFFs do that???)

So with no minutes to spare, I was finally able to get to the alterations place yesterday right before my haircut. I anticipated a heavy weight being lifted momentarily as I handed over these beautiful, tassle-less & aggravating accent pillows. Definitely a wrong assumption on my part. The girl on the other side of the counter just looked at me with this very puzzled look and said in her cute little accent, "We cannot do." {thud}

It was about the time I reached my car with my 2 ton oh so beautiful, tassle-less, aggravating, annoying accent pillows in tow that I had a visual image in movie form scrolling through my mind's eye of all the brain-power, energy and time I had wasted on these pretty but totally unnecessary tassles! And suddenly, I saw with instant clarity how to solve this problem:

Remove the tassles!
Or more simply put:
Take a pair of scissors & cut those stupid little things off!!!

So what if the pillows had no tassles? They were still beautiful, I wouldn't be out any money for paying someone else to fix them (which I of course should have been able to do myself anyway or so I was told). So upon arriving back at home, I promptly retrieved my scissors & whacked the remaining tassles off. I then walked back to my bedroom, stuffed the inserts back into the cases and voila, problem truly & permanently solved!

The only thing now is....what to do with the 8 oh so beautiful tassles??? For now, they are in a baggie sitting on the dining room table headed for the upstairs closet where I keep things like this for who knows what.

As I wind this blog down, I'm pondering what the Word says about all this? The following scripture has just come to my mind which is reeeeally interesting since I've just started a small group study with a group of women and our topic of study is the fear of the Lord. Coincidence? Absolutely not.

"Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and turmoil with it." Proverbs 15:16

P.S. you might be wondering what all those {thud}s throughout this blog are? the heavy weight that kept getting piled on me as I continued to choose complicated over simple.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Day the Music Died

Recorded and released on the American Pie album in 1971, the single was a number-one U.S. hit for four weeks in 1972. A re-release in 1991 did not chart in the U.S., but reached number 12 in the UK. The song is an abstract story surrounding "The Day the Music Died" — the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr.), as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson. The importance of "American Pie" to America's musical and cultural heritage was recognized by the Songs of the Century education project which listed the song as the number five song of the twentieth century. (taken from Wikipedia)

As I sat down to blog today, "the day the music died" is what came into my mind. I grew up in the 70's and ironically was born the same year these famous musicians died...1959.

Today is a day of deep significance to me personally and to that of my family because 1 year ago Mom went home to heaven. She is, of course, better off, but we are still grieving over our profound loss. The loss is huge to me, and in some ways, I'm just now recognizing many of those specific losses. I guess that's how grief's a process, and stages have to be moved through. There's no rushing it or slowing it down. One year ago today is the day some of the music in my life died because Mom in so many ways brought a very sweet melody to my life.

Grief comes to each of us on its own terms, and it's taken me a full year to realize in part why God gave me the hands that I have...

Mom's hands were not petite nor were they particularly "pretty", but I can recall as a little girl sitting in church looking at them and the rings she wore on them. I would trace the lines with my finger in the palms of her hands, pull her rings on and off and simply study her hands. I don't know why I did it, but now at 50 and with her gone, I am thankful for the clear picture of her hands that is etched in my memory.

As I wrote an email earlier today to my precious daughter who lives 8000 miles away from me and shared with her a little of what I'm feeling today, I looked down at my hands as I typed and realized that I have Stella's hands. And until today, I've almost loathed them because they were large with big knuckles that require me to have rings sized like that of a man (I think the big knucles come from my Dad!). Because her hands and my hands are similarly sized, the ring I inherited from her that's called a mother's ring fit perfectly. I'm wearing it on my right ring finger,today and it looks........well, I almost said "eerily" but instead I'll comfortingly (is that even a word?) like her's.

As I wrote to Blair today, I also realized how thankful I am that those big hands of Mom's were the STRONG hands that ministered to me and many others in countless ways!

-She cooked with those hands. How many thousands of meals did she prepare for her family, sick friends, greiving friends, new neighbors, church potluck dinners, etc, etc. etc???
-She wrote with those hands. How many thousands of letters and encouragement cards and sympathy cards did she write? Her handwriting was never pretty, but she wrote anyway and always filling her letters and notes with scripture. I don't think I EVER got anything from her that didn't have a specific scripture written in it.
-She comforted with those hands. How many times did she wipe away my tears and cup my face when I was discouraged? How many times did I see her take the hands of another person and say, "Let me pray for you right now." and watch her pray?
-She pointed with those hands. She didn't point with accusation nor did she point judgmentally. She pointed, metaphorically, to Jesus because her hands were always busy doing the work of the Father. She never wanted to take any of His glory for herself. Her life was always about pointing others to Jesus.

So, sweet Jesus, would You tell her for me that I love those big 'ole hands of her's and am hoping these big 'ole hands of mine can live up to her example?!

"Stella...worked with willing hands...with the fruit of her hands Stella planted a vineyard...Stella put her hands to the distaff & Stella's hands held the spindle. Stella opened her hand to the poor and reached out her hands to the needy..Give Stella the fruit of her hands, and let Stella's works praise her in the gates. " Proverbs 31

sidenote: in the margin of my Bible I have written at the end of Proverbs 31,
" 1-6-09 read v. 10-31 to Mama as she lay in the bed at hospice dieing with Daddy, Sandra & Rick beside me...the day before she saw Jesus face to face."