Vision

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Beth Moore brought God’s word to Mariners church last weekend. An incredible place to be with 3300 of us in attendance. I love to learn and I value the teaching style of Beth. I actually bought my ticket a year ago. As the day approached, I realized my normal Beth friends weren’t going. I planned to go alone. I was there to listen anyway. However God had great plans. A last ditch effort to find a friend was made as I posted “anyone going to Beth Moore” on Facebook. My childhood, and current, friend was going. She saved me a seat with her church group. It was nice to have a friend in the midst of so many people. (Thanks Jill).

What did I learn last weekend? In no particular order…

1) We make plans and God has plans within those plans. Reconnecting with Jill was wonderful. To share this type of spiritual depth with a childhood friend warmed my heart. I saw God’s hand in it all.

2) Our spiritual vision is easily clouded. By what, you ask? Judgement is one. Remove the plank in your eye before you judge the speck in your friend’s eye. Sin is another reason. We may be so strong in our faith but blinded to an area of sin in our life. She gave an example of her godly grandmother. She loved Jesus but had issue with anyone not white. It was acceptable in that era but still sin in God’s eyes. What sin are we blinded to that is clouding our vision?

3) God brings 3300 people to one place for unique reasons. To get a break. To be refreshed. To encourage another attendee. To be encouraged. To reach the masses. One young woman was singled out because Beth read a letter she wrote. The young woman has prosthetic eyes. She couldn’t see. The young girl shared how encouraged she was to understand her spiritual vision was more important and embraced that as her way to “see” on earth. Wow. Powerful.

4) Humility means giving God all the glory. We ended the conference with worship. The worship team played and sang. The last song was acapella. Each musician slowly left the stage. When we sang the Amen in the song the stage was empty. Only God’s presence remained. I get chills as I remember that moment. True humility. A moment God received all of our focus.

If Beth Moore and her team ever come to your area, it’s worth it to attend. God is there. You will be changed. Thank you for your ministry and example Living Proof Live.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Oscars

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I have an Oscar Night party every year. It is one of the highlights of my year. No one wants to watch a 3 1/2 hour show alone. It is much more fun with friends and food. Over the years I have done various contests, door prizes, and much more. The best part is the people. Last night I had 5 newbies at my Oscar party. They enjoyed the night and will definitely be on the actual invite list next year. While I could go on and on about how Parasite ruined everyone’s Oscar ballot, I’d rather talk about connections.

Two of the guests found they had a ton in common. We are planning a summer gathering to have a Sangria contest. They both make “the best” peach Sangria. Random. Also my favorite drink. They are both teachers and even own the same sweater. Point is, when you meet someone new, take the time to explore a bit deeper. You never know what will come of it. I believe a friendship may form here.

As for me, another Debbie came to the party.  Woohoo! Debbie’s rock. Our mutual friend has wanted us to meet for a long time. We enjoyed each other’s company and chatted a bit. At the end of the night she looked me in my eyes and said, let’s connect again when we can really talk. Oscar Night is laughter and eating and surface talk. I felt touched at her intentionality. I would love to connect one on one and talk deeper. I live for stuff like that.

What is the point of this blog today? Make a new friend. I have spent the past few years out of community at church. My excuse, I have enough friends and no time to add new ones in. Lie. I didn’t want to expose myself and be vulnerable to new people. Friends, be vulnerable. We need to be wise in who we share our lives with but when you meet another Debbie or someone who has your same sweater, take a risk and dive deeper. Life is not meant to be done alone or in a bubble. Expand your bubble. If you live near me or wanna make the drive, I guarantee next year’s Oscar Night will be epic and you just might make a new friend.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Kobe

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Many of us have spent the week reeling from the helicopter crash last Sunday that took the lives of 9 people including 3 teenage girls. Shock is the word that best describes our collective attitude in this country over the loss of a basketball legend. I found out while walking my dog. A friend drove by and pulled over to say hi and “did you hear about Kobe?” I hadn’t but then that was all I thought about the next few days. Many asked me if I was a Kobe fan. I wasn’t. I like basketball but am not an avid fan of any team. However, I am a fan of people and their eternal destiny. My prayers immediately went out to the family left behind. I prayed for God to be near them. I hope all 9 of those on board had a personal relationship with Jesus. However, that isn’t for me to guess or judge, only God can do that. My prayers are for those left behind. I pray they seek God and His hope.

I talked to my kids about what happened. They were less impacted by this. I think as you get older, mortality hits deeper. I thought my daughter may be affected because she played against Kobe’s older daughter in soccer one time. Kobe was at the game too. It was memorable. I knew, even though my kids weren’t as impacted by this as I was, it was a teachable moment. What I shared with my kids was this, “tell everyone you know about Jesus.” That’s a big takeaway from this. Tell everyone about Jesus!

A few people struggled with the accolades of Kobe because he has a past. We all have a past and I am not here to say if his past is better or worse than mine or yours. He made huge mistakes. Have you? Regardless of his past, he restored his marriage, his family became his priority and he gave back to the community. We aren’t all good or all bad. If we were, I’d be in trouble. I’m in the bad more than the good category many days. God doesn’t work that way either. We are given grace. Do you know the definition of grace?

Grace: an undeserved gift.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

We deserve death but are given life. We deserve punishment and consequences but many times we are spared this. Some sins are more visible than others but even the secret ones are still sin. Before we judge others, let’s remind ourselves of our own imperfections.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? – Matthew 7:3 NIV

Friends, we lost 9 people in a terrible accident. Because one is famous, the rest are being noticed too. The good part of this tragedy is an opportunity for believers to share our hope. When someone brings up Kobe, bring up your faith. When someone points out his past, let them know how grateful you are that God is forgiving and full of grace. This is a teachable moment for you to use in your sphere of influence. Whether you are a Kobe fan or not, God wants us to seize any opening we have to talk about our faith.

Dream Big! Pray Big!