Monday, October 26, 2015

What are you reporducing in others?

Last week I shared my lunch hour with a coworker and was given the most interesting quote. She said it is something that her father has always told her.
“You can teach what you know, but you can only reproduce who you are”
I’ve rolled this around in my head for the better part of a week now, and I still don’t have a complete set of thoughts on it, but I have noticed it to be true in my life and in the lives of those who we have ministered to over the years.
Children DO what their parents DO, not what their parents TELL them to do. I saw this over and over again when we were in youth ministry. Children mimic what they see and hear at home. Of course they may rebel and act out on their own or likewise may rise above the way they are raised. Still overall, children talk and act like their parents. For example, they most always treat people the way their parents treat people.
As an adult I see that the people I surround myself with do still “rub off” on me, and I on them. I got really tickled when a coworker said, “Oh my goodness that is so stinkin cute!” As soon as she said it, her eyes got really big and she pointed her finger at me and said “YOU did that to me!!!!! I never said “stinkin” til I came to work here! This is your fault!” It still makes me giggle a little. I do use "stinkin" as my adjective choice when describing something as very cute, very funny, or very... whatever. That is just one of many examples. If you have ever been around anyone, you know how this works, but I’ve never heard it explained the way my coworker’s dad explained it.
“You can teach what you know, but you can only reproduce who you are”
So, on one hand, this tells me that I need to be careful who let into my “inner circle”. I need to be careful who I let influence me. That's nothing new.  Mom’s been telling me that as long as I’ve been able to choose friends.
There is something else to this. Something I haven’t quite worked through…
I need to look at the people closest to me…the people I invest in…the people I “teach”. I KNOW what I am teaching them….but I wonder, what am I reproducing? I don’t have an answer for that yet, and I am not sure that I will elaborate on it here when I do.
Even so, I want to challenge you to look at the people you “rub off” on… your spouse, your kids, your coworkers, your close friends and ask yourself the question:
What am I reproducing in them?
Something to think about!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Why is it so hard to pray?

As my  Sunday School class fills each Sunday morning, there is talk of football games, homecoming dates and dresses, coupons and sales, yard work and home improvement projects, sick children, grounded children, good / bad grades, new boyfriends/girlfriends, favorite teachers, track meets, science projects, baseball practice, aging parents, career changes, potty training, learner’s permits, and wives who take 3 years to get dressed. Sunday School "starts” at 9:15. Somewhere between 9:25 and 9:30, our teacher will get everyone’s attention and ask if we have any prayer requests.
Dead silence fills the room. Then, one by one, we mention our requests:
“Joes mom is having surgery.”
“We need to pray for our nation.”
“And our students”
“Yeah, we really need to pray for our students.”
“We need to pray for our church”
“And our staff”
“Anything else?”


“Anyone want to lead us in prayer?”

Silence. (I think some people even stop breathing)

Some brave soul will end up praying for our church, our class, our youth, our staff, the nation, our students, and Joe’s mom’s upcoming surgery. There is a sigh of relief as we exit prayer time and get into the lesson.

Why are our prayer requests so limited and generic and... bland?

I wish that our prayer requests sounded something like this…
“Joes mom is having surgery.”
“My daughter is looking for a homecoming dress. Please pray that I am able to help her understand how precious she is to me and to God and that she can dress modestly and still be absolutely beautiful”
“We still haven’t been able to get little Johnny to poop in the potty. I have cried. I have begged. I have bribed him with candy and stickers and new big boy underwear. I don’t know what else to do. I feel like a failure.”
“Joey has been dating Suzy for about 6 months now. Y’all, there are girls their age having babies. It seems like “everyone” is having sex. I don’t want that for them. I don’t think that they are, or even that they would. They are both good kids. I just worry. Please pray that they will make good choices, that they continue to respect each other, and that they value their purity.”

The things that we talk about and ask for advice on are important to us. Why do we not pray about them while we are together?  Do we think that things like modesty, purity, career changes, potty training, and all sorts of parenting and marriage issues are unimportant to God? Do we feel like we are putting too much weight on these things if we ask to pray about them? Do we think that God can't/won't fix these things? Do we want His intervention in our daily lives?

 God’s Word says:
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6 (HCSB)
Why do you think it is so easy for us to talk about things but hard to pray about them?
 (I really want to know. Leave me a comment…)

Let’s pray

Father God,
Help me to remember that you are concerned with all things in my life and that I can bring everything to you in prayer. Let me not be hesitant to ask my church family and Christian friends to pray for the things that give me anxiety or cause me to worry. Help me to remember that nothing is to large or too small for me to bring to you in prayer.

Monday, October 12, 2015

"good" isn't enough

I have struggled with this post for ages. I have struggled with how exactly to put my thoughts on being "good" in order so that they make some sort of sense. Until now, I have come away sounding something like a lunatic.

Being good is important. It is. I think we need more "good" in this world. Seems like there is sooooo much bad....we need some positive stuff, some good, to at least somewhat balance things out.

Here's what has my heart hurting...
Someone told me that their neighbor isn't a Christian, but he is "better than most Christians I know". Another told me that his sister is "more moral than most of the people I go to church with and she doesn't even believe in Christ." Still another told me that she has a difficult time believing that Jesus is the only way to heaven when she knows so many good people who don't believe in Jesus and so many hateful people who do believe in Him.

I have struggled with just how to express the fact that "good" behavior isn't enough. Good behavior isn't the point. We need Christ. We need Christ to change our hearts. We don't need to change what we DO, we need Christ to change who we ARE.

I read the following recently and it struck a chord with me:

"Goodness without Christ is powerless to prevent itself from becoming self-righteousness;
purity without Christ is powerless to prevent itself becoming pride..."
You can read the rest of this post at Shiny Ginger Thoughts.

THAT is what I see. When we don't allow Christ to change the very fiber of WHO we ARE, we become prideful, self-righteous, judgmental, pious church members.

We don't need to be "good". We need the powerful all-mighty earth-shattering life-altering soul-changing touch of Jesus Christ. Being good isn't enough. Being a good church member isn't enough.

We need Jesus.

Scripture says this:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Painful Restoration

Please join me on at the Internet Café today.

Painful Restoration
Internet Café Devotions

My friend Shellie owns a B&B named Clyde and Marie’s. It is a beautiful Victorian home filled with treasured antiques.
But this wasn’t always the case.clyde and Marie's
The house stood empty and neglected for years on a tiny lot in the middle of a small Mississippi town. Shellie purchased the house,  had it cut in half and moved in two separate pieces to its current location. Issues with the contractor  led to the house sitting on its current property totally exposed to the elements for months (in two pieces). The resulting damage was so extensive that everything but the hardwood floors had to be gutted and replaced, giving the restored house new walls, ceilings, electrical work, etc. Shellie celebrated opening the B&B by dedicating the home and business to the Lord. Once nothing but an empty neglected house, Clyde and Marie’s now hosts weddings, class reunions, rehearsal dinners, and all sorts of travelers, but the guests Shellie treasures most are young women, hurting couples, and women’s groups who utilize her home for a place of ministry.

I love this story. It resonates in my heart because I AM that house.

Before Christ, I was a list of failed relationships, shattered dreams, and broken promises. I felt discarded and worthless. I was beaten down and worn out… empty and hopeless…a shell of the woman I am now. What changed? God saved me.

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Life is Like a Cookie Sheet

Last week 2 of my favorite women reminded me of a post I wrote  several years ago for our church's Ladies Ministry blog. I dug it up and it made me smile. Thought I'd share.
Lessons learned from a Bridal Shower, Pt 3

I sat next to Mary and Willie and had the BEST time with them as the gifts were being opened and passed around. We talked about how you can give a new bride all the advice in the world, but nothing will really prepare her for marriage, and how you can tell a mom-to-be all you know about parenting, but nothing can prepare her for motherhood. Along with this serious conversation, we joked about slipping some of the gifts under our chairs because our (toaster, coffee maker, sheet set, etc.) needed replacing. The Bride-to-be got a WONDERFUL set of cookie sheets. (amazing what I covet these days) As I admired them, I told Mary, “I need these. Mine look just like my mom’s”. I was startled when Mary whispered in a wistful voice, “yeah, mine look like my mom’s too.” Now, I am not ABOUT to speculate on this wonderful lady’s age, but I am thinking she is closer to my Grandmother’s age than she is to mine, and at that moment, we bonded…over missing “mom” and ……of all things…cookie sheets…
And that’s when it hit me:
Cookie sheets, the new shiny ones, the ones that dark and spotted, or ones that are stained and even dented, are a lot like the women at that shower.

The new cookie sheets look so pretty, all shiny, smooth and new and so full of potential… so much like the Bride-to-be…unblemished, radiant, glowing, excited about the adventure before her. As I admired (and perhaps envied) the Bride-to-be’s youthful beauty (and her new cookie sheets), I was reminded that the old-worn out cookie sheets are the ones that make the BEST cookies and pizzas! While they appear spotted, stained, blemished, and maybe even dented here and there, they are seasoned, tried and true, reliable, durable and able to do the job well….

The same can be said of women. We may be a little rusty around the edge, a bit spotted, a little blemished, stained, and maybe even dented…not by cookies and pizzas, but by marriage, jobs, friends, pregnancies, kids, joy, laughter, heartache, and tears….. but nothing can take the place of the life experiences that influenced and made us into the women we’ve become (and are becoming) ...seasoned, tried and true, reliable, durable, and able to do the job well.
Proverbs 31:30-31 says, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.