Missed Opportunity

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The senior pastor at our church quit. His last Sunday was this past week. He hadn’t preached in a few weeks due to the reason behind his quitting. The tension could be cut with a knife when he approached the pulpit. He stammered over his words which is not his style. You could tell he was nervous and uncomfortable. Of course he was. He’s leaving his church of 15 years. I am not him nor do I fully understand the depth of the pain he must be experiencing. However, I hoped for vulnerability in his sermon. He gave a regular sermon. At his benediction he said “I normally say I’ll see you next week but I won’t.” He’s a bit of a comedian and has a dry humor so it fit who he is. To me though, it was a missed opportunity.

I wanted to see a man of God admit he was hurting. Share a bit of his woundedness with us and how he’s leaning on God to get through this season of pain. We didn’t get that. Again, I am not aware of the depth of his pain nor the full story behind his leaving. However, this was a missed opportunity.

Two weeks ago I had a chance to face my own vulnerability. I got angry at a few friends and even used a few choice words. The next day, I hung my head and apologized for my outburst. I truly was ashamed by my handling of the situation the night before. No one wants to be humbled. No one wants to admit they are human and have failings. No one wants to be the one who has to apologize. Each friend responded differently to the apology too. One commiserated (that one felt good), another just received it and another received it and comforted. It’s hard to be humble.

Is there an opportunity in your life right now where you can model humility and vulnerability? Do you need to apologize for something you said or did? Do you need to acknowledge an attitude or thought life that no one would know was even going on? When we step out in humility, we may be rejected, comforted, empathized with, or treated with ambivalence. It’s tough but necessary. Why? Because the world doesn’t live this way. They hide, blame, shame and sue. As believers in Jesus Christ, we need to be open, humble, grace-filled and forgiving.

If you are the one needing to be humble or you are on the receiving end of someone’s humility, be gracious. Make this opportunity of vulnerability a positive one. The more we share from honesty, the stronger we become and the more glory God receives.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12 

Dream Big! Pray Big!

P.S. I am sorry I missed last week and am a day late this week. With almost 3 teenagers, my house is crazy. Some weeks I am going on fumes. I hope to stay on track for the rest of the year. Thank you for reading my blog faithfully. I appreciate you.

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God Friended Me

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I’m a TV gal. I grew up watching TV and I still love fall when the new seasons and shows start. I decided to try a few of the new ones. Already deleted a few from my TIVO. However, God Friended Me, surprised me. I really like it. I have no idea where they are going with this but so far, it’s not offensive in any way to my faith and who God is.

The premise of the show is that Miles, an atheist podcaster, gets a friend request from God. He continues to ignore it. When gets suggested friends from God, he pursues those friendships. Lives are changed and hope is returned. This past week (spoiler alert), he had his wallet stolen. Miles get a suggested friend from God for a man who is a private detective. Long story short, the man’s wife, who passed away, was the social worker for the boy who stole the wallet and the man ends up fostering the boy. Sappy? Maybe. Sentimental? Yes. Heartwarming? Definitely. Am I hooked? Yep.

You see, I think God does work this way. We make connections every day. We don’t need a Facebook friend request, we just meet people in circumstances. Those connections sometimes play out to make further connections that help people. For instance, I ran into a mom I hadn’t seen in a while at PTA. She informed me she was home-schooling her high school aged son. My daughter’s piano teacher just started doing the same thing. I immediately texted them both in a group chat and connected them. I know them both well enough to know they can support one another and they would really like each other.

As believers, we are given the opportunity to bring hope to the people we encounter. People who know Jesus, and people who don’t, all have one thing in common, we need reminders of hope. Coincidences or chance meetings – I call those divine appointments. The connections we have in life are purposeful. See what divine appointments you have in your day today. You may offer hope to a hurting friend or initiate a new friendship between strangers.

By the way, God has issued a friend request to each person on this earth. We don’t need Facebook to connect to Him. It’s as simple as just saying “good morning God” and your day is started out fabulously.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Measurable Prayers

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I have been enjoying a powerful sermon series on Anxiety from Christian Assembly in Eagle Rock. Yesterday’s sermon discussed a topic I have heard before but his example made the concept sink in deeper. He talked about praying more specifically. Usually we pray generically. When we pray specifically, the outcomes are measurable. God working is measurable.

Generic prayers:

  1. “Lord help me on my test.”
  2. “God I need your confidence to have this conversation with my friend.”
  3. “Open the door for me to get this job.”

Instead, if we get specific we can pray like this.

  1. “Lord help me to recall what I have studied when I take this test. Give me a sense of calm as I begin writing. Allow me to walk away from this test feeling confident.”
  2. “God give me words of gentleness when I speak to my friend. Prepare her heart to receive what I say and to not respond in anger. Allow us both to feel good about the conversation. Let us grow closer as a result of this time together.”
  3. “If this is the job you have for me, allow me to get it. Let me be heard and seen for my abilities by this potential employer. If this isn’t where You want me to work, give me a sense of peace. Let me leave the interview seeing it’s not a good fit for me. Guide my next steps.”

In each of those prayers, you can clearly see answered prayer. In the top, vague prayers, you may be able to assign answers to God. I got an A on my test, thanks God. But in the specific prayer, regardless of your grade, you can say, “I felt a peace while taking the test and I felt confident afterwards. Thanks God.” Huge difference.

Measurable prayers help us grow in faith. We don’t have to look hard to see what God is doing. We see it in the answers. Also, giving God glory comes much easier. “After I talked to my friend, we were so much closer. God did that. We should have been in an argument for a lot longer. God restored my friendship.”

Even when we aren’t happy with the outcome of a situation, we can still praise God. “I didn’t get the job but I know why. I saw this company wasn’t the place for me. God showed me that so clearly in the interview. Where I am going next is unclear. What is clear, God is in this with me step by step.”

Can you see how much easier it is to give God credit (a.k.a. glory) when we pray measurable prayers? Try it today. Be measurable. Be specific. Afterwards, be grateful and grow in your faith because you clearly saw God at work.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

The Hole Truth

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I fell in a hole yesterday. Yep. You read that right. I was mowing the lawn and suddenly I was on the ground. My right leg slipped in and kept on going down. I honestly thought it was a sink hole. I just kept going down. Somehow I fell forward and my leg scraped the edge of the hole when I went down. The feeling of hard ground comforted me because I truly felt I was going to be entirely swallowed up by my backyard. Amazingly I didn’t break or sprain anything. I must have screamed loudly because my son came running out to check on me. The picture looks bad but it’s mostly dirt. I am just a bit tender today. Grateful. (You can see in the before and after picture above.)

What did I learn from the hole?

I posted this picture on Facebook. I got a ton of responses.  Mostly “oh my.” It was rather sweet how many people were concerned. I even got two phone calls to make sure I really was OK. My kids were laughing at the incident (once they knew I was OK). I thought maybe my Facebook friends would find it humorous too. A few did but most expressed concerned. I learned that my Facebook friends are caring individuals. I am sure the humor hit them at some point once they too knew I wasn’t hurt badly. I will be more careful what I post to not alarm those who are tender-hearted. I appreciate you.

I learned that life can change in an instant. The lawnmower could have injured me too. The hole could have been deeper, or more narrow, which would have led to extreme injuries. I didn’t plan to get hurt. I was mowing the lawn. No one plans for an accident. Hence the name – accident – “an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.” Thanks google. I need to value every day because I don’t know what that day holds.

I learned that my dog loves me. When I fell, all he wanted to do was lick me. He was by my side the rest of the day. Sweet and a bit irritating too. Cooper is a loyal, loving pooch.

I learned that I need to not put off things I need to do. I had planned to teach my son to mow the lawn and make it his chore. Unfortunately, due to a rain forecast (rare in California) I wanted the lawn shorter before it got soaked. I didn’t take the time to train my son. Had I done so, I hope the hole incident wouldn’t have happened at all. I guess it could have happened to him – hmmm – maybe it’s better I procrastinated on that one.

I just wanted to share my wild adventure from yesterday and encourage you to value each moment.

Dream Big! Pray Big!