A Common Life Lived with Uncommon Joy

Posts tagged ‘comfort zone’

The God of Immeasurably More

immeasurably more

After an almost eighteen month sabbatical, I’m finally coming back to writing!  The past year and a half has been a whirlwind of change and activity as God knocked down obstacles, challenged us to shed old crutches and habits, and stretched us in new areas of ministry.  It has been a season of preparation and our prayer through it all has been that God would make us “fit for service” so we could live a “life lived loud” instead of just a life in survival mode.  We wanted to thrive and grow and be used by God in whatever means He saw fit.  We are beginning to see the fruits of those prayers.  Here’s a quick update to catch you up to all the changes and goings on:

 

made to crave1. One of the first major changes in my personal life was reading Made to Crave.  This book defeated my idolatry to food and helped me see that God was my strength and strong tower, not doughnuts or brownies.  He is all I truly need.  I first went through the book with a friend.  Then, in January, I assisted another friend of mine in teaching it at Morning Grace.  Now God has opened the door to allow me to teach it at my own church to my dear sisters in the faith beginning next month.  Teaching and being an active part of women’s ministry has always been an unfulfilled passion of mine so I am excited to see what God has in store for me as He gives me the desire of my heart.  I’ve set up a Facebook group for those who would like to follow along online as we study the book in class.  You can request to join the class here.

 

 

2. Our house has undergone a major transformation! As we prayed for God to make us fit for service, asking Him to remove anything that might hinder us from being effective in ministry, He quickly helped me see that Satan was effectively keeping me occupied within my own four walls, constantly battling clutter instead of reaching out to others.  The devil is so cunning and crafty and he definitely had a stronghold in this area.  I went through our belongings with a new level of determination, got to know my local Goodwill drop off crew members really well and finally took back control of our home.  Last month I finished the final room in the house and we all feel like we can breathe again.  Clutter sucks the life out of you and you really don’t even realize how much it takes away from living your life until you actually get rid of it all.  This big step led to #3.

 

3.  In the spring, we made a major move from our long-standing Community Group at church to a new group – one closer to our house, full of couples about ten years younger than we are.  God is growing us as mentors, using us as examples (talk about accountability!), and stretching us into deeper roles of participation within the church.  This week, we will also begin hosting our new Community Group at our house – something that would have been impossible to do eighteen months ago.  What a testimony it is just to be able to tell the story of how God brought us to this place in our journey!

 

g and occ4.  Gracie (our little future missionary) has been busy with a big project for Operation Christmas Child.  Inspired by my friend’s son, who set a goal to pack 100 shoeboxes for OCC last year and then surpassed it with over 160 shoeboxes filled, Gracie decided that she wanted to pack 100 shoeboxes too.  What started out as a little Facebook page to tell friends and family about this and her endless parade of other mission projects she gets involved in, has turned into a major display of God’s faithfulness and care for the heart of a ten year old girl.  Gracie has over 120 fans on her Facebook page, Cup of Cold Water.  She’s watched in amazement as God multiplied her efforts and provided $700 to pay the shipping costs for her 100 shoeboxes.  She was overwhelmed by the number of people and the amount of items donated when she hosted an OCC packing party last month.  Every day, when she walks in the front door, she’s greeted by 80+ shoeboxes stacked almost to the ceiling, waiting to be shipped to children around the world, all because she asked God to help her do something big with her very little.  It is so exciting to see her faith come to life.

 

Over and over again, these past eighteen months have given us glimpses of the God of immeasurably more.  Time and time again, we’ve given Him our hopes and dreams and plans, then watched as He blessed us with over and above our wildest imaginings.  I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I know Who holds the future and He is willing able to do immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine.  I’m excited to begin to write about all the things that God is doing!

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21

Advertisements

Even More Undignified Than This

The Joy of the Redeemed (King David Dancing)

The Joy of the Redeemed (King David Dancing): John the Baptist Artworks

A couple years ago, my kids went to Bible School at a neighborhood church.  The last night of Bible School, the church set up a carnival in the gym.  The kids played games and won little squirt rings, temporary tattoos and way too much candy. The most anticipated event of the night was the pie eating contest.  Every day of Bible School, my son had taunted and bragged to Frank, one of the leaders, that he could easily defeat him in the contest.  When the time came to belly up to the table, Ross was disappointed and frustrated to learn it would be kids against kids.  Still, he sat down and ate his “pie” (a plateful of whipped cream) as if it were his last meal but in the end, he lost to a faster, hungrier kid.  The chance to be redeemed came when they announced there would also be an adult challenge.  Eagerly, Ross begged my husband to beat Frank in his place, but Michael wasn’t about to make a fool of himself.  I immediately volunteered and made my way to the table.  Ross’ eyes were as big as saucers and he had to pick his jaw up off the floor before he could start cheering me on.  The announcer yelled start and I inhaled a plateful of whipped cream in no time flat.  I had whipped cream in my hair, behind my ears and all over my face but I had defeated Frank and, more importantly, risen to the ranks of coolest mom ever in less than thirty seconds.  I learned that night that sometimes being foolish is worth it.

In 1st and 2nd Samuel, we read the story of King David.  David was chosen by God to be king of Israel at a young age.  The only problem was…Israel already had a king – King Saul.  Saul hated David and for years he tried to kill him, chasing him all over the countryside, hiding in caves and waiting for the perfect moment to destroy him.  David was constantly on the run, but through it all, he trusted that God was in control.  On two different occasions, he spared the life of Saul when given the opportunity to kill him.  The day finally comes that Saul is dead and the throne belongs to David.  David immediately goes to defeat the Philistines and return the Ark of the Covenant to the City of David.  After so many years of hiding, running for his life, and living in caves, God gave him the victory!

So what does David do to celebrate?  As the parade makes its way into the City of David, here comes David dancing with all his might…in his underwear.  His wife is mortified and gives him a piece of her mind.

When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!” 2 Samuel 6:20

So much for a little show of support from the wife, right?  Michal was the daughter of Saul, the same man who had pursued David and tried to kill him for so many years.  Naturally she wasn’t too happy with the whole situation to begin with, but seeing her husband dancing down the street half naked was more than she could stand.

David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel – I will celebrate before the Lord.  I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.  But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” 2 Samuel 6:21-22

David reminded her once again that God has chosen him, not her father, to rule the people of Israel.  He was willing to be foolish in the eyes of man if it glorified God.  He didn’t care what the slave girls or anyone else thought.

Think about that for a minute…if God told you to celebrate something incredible he had done in your life by dancing down your street in your underwear, would you do it?  Maybe that’s a little extreme, so let’s be more realistic.  If God asked you to look a little foolish by saying no to something everyone around you is saying yes to, could you be a fool for Christ and say no?  If He told you to share the gospel with a friend or a coworker or your neighbor, could you get past the fear of man and be willing to look foolish in order to witness to them?

So many people think of Christians as uptight, stick-in-the-muds that play by all the rules and never have any fun.  Christians aren’t supposed to be silly or foolish or do something that might call attention to themselves…they’re supposed to be dignified!  Really…are you sure?  Let’s see if the Bible backs that up.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.  Brothers, think of what you were when you were called.  Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were influential, not many were of noble births.  But God chose to use the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose to use the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He     chose the lowly things of the world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.  It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 1:18, 25-30

We can’t proclaim the good news of the gospel to those who are lost without looking foolish because the gospel is foolishness to those who have not yet been saved.  Think back to when you were saved…I don’t know many people who were saved because of their intellectual pursuit of God or their logical findings.  If you’re anything like me, you tried living life on your own terms and made a royal mess of it.  It’s hard to see a way out when your life is falling down around you and everything looks hopeless.  But then God put someone in your path that told you the craziest thing you’ve ever heard.  They told you there was a God who loved you…and not just an ordinary love but an incredible sacrificial love, a love so deep and wide that he sent his only son into the world to die on the cross for all the things you did so that you wouldn’t have to pay the penalty for all those bad decisions.  Not only that, but you didn’t have to do anything to receive his sacrifice in your place except to acknowledge you needed it and thank him for it.  How crazy is that?! It’s unbelievable!

When we go against the grain, the world takes notice because it’s foolishness in their eyes.  To the world, nothing is more important than being accepted. God calls us to be in the world but not of the world.  We need to stop worrying about fear of man and do whatever it is he’s calling us to do.  You can‘t fit in and be popular and follow Christ at the same time – it won‘t work. Jesus says the world will hate you…not might, it’s a sure thing!

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  That is why the world hates you.  John 15:18-19

David understood that his outspoken love for the Lord was undignified in the eyes of the world.  He was willing to be humiliated in order to bring God glory.  His famous underwear dance says, “This victory isn’t about me, it’s about the God who made it possible.”

I want to let go of the fear of man and live a life out loud for God.  I want to worry more about the state of my heart before God than the state of my popularity before my peers.  I want to trust God enough to let him worry about my reputation.

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life, will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very soul?  If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.  Luke 9:23-26

Jesus makes it clear that this life is not about me and it‘s not about you.  I’m pretty sure he won’t ask us to dance in the streets in our underwear, but he may ask us to reach out to a hurting friend or say no to something the world says is okay.  He may lead us to be excluded or outcast. If our lives make sense to unbelievers, then there’s something wrong with the way we’re living our lives. I’m willing to walk to the beat of a different drummer and stand out from the world.  I want to be undignified and foolish…because this is one time I know it will be worth it all.

As always, your comments make my day!  Have you done anything undignified or foolish in the world’s eyes recently?  I’d love to hear about it.

Welcome to the Adventure

I’m so glad you’re here!

I want to invite you to join me on an adventure – a fantastic journey of learning new things, pushing boundaries and living outside your comfort zone.  I want to do the things everyone else only talks about doing…someday.  I’m taking this common, everyday, ordinary existence of housework, grocery shopping, endless laundry, homework, dinners, bedtime drama and those few minutes with my husband every night – and I’m choosing to crank it up a notch.  I’m gonna stop wishing I could_____________ (you fill in the blank), and just start doing it!  And I want to take YOU with me along for the ride.

We get one chance at life, and one day it will end.  There won’t be a second chance to run that race, start that business, lose those extra pounds, write that book…do what I’ve always said I would do someday.  No second chance for me, and no second chance for you.  So why not do it NOW???  Seize the moment, grab the bull by the horns, squeeze your eyes shut tight and then jump in with both feet.

This blog will be my adventure diary.  I want to share my journey with you – the things I learn, the crazy things I do and the new things I attempt.  And I want to hear YOUR adventure story too!  So will you join me?  Let’s walk through this life off the beaten path.  Let’s grow and stretch and dare to dream…and then act on it.  Let’s take this life we’ve been given and use it all up, squeeze every drop of wonderful out of it.  Let’s live a LIFE LIVED LOUD.

Comments make my day! Let’s cheer each other on and share our adventures with each other.

%d bloggers like this: