Below are my posts that are tagged "thoughts"

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Jan 29

Lord’s day preparedness


I wrote this post over a year ago and am just now getting around to posting it. HAHAHA. That is the story of my life. But it seems fitting as we have been going through the importance of worship in church. It’s been so encouraging to be reminded why we are there. And it’s so important for our littles to learn too.Lord's day preparedness

As my husband and I have set out to set the Lord’s Day apart from the rest of the week, we work hard to be prepared for it and enjoy it. Our whole week is around Sunday and we like it that way. I always forget how much my mind and week revolves around Sunday until we have to miss church fellowship for one reason or another (like being sick for the LAST 3 WEEKS!!!).

For as much of Sunday worship takes place in our hearts, there is a whole lot of preparation that goes into just getting us in the doors and ready to worship together as a corporate body. Because of how important Sunday fellowship is, I wanted to share some practical things that have helped me not only get my kids to the physical location but also have helped us teach our kids how to worship the Lord in the service with us, even if that is just sitting still for 5 minutes.

Most of our physical preparation for getting everyone ready starts Saturday. I lay everyone’s outfits out for the next day, while the kids are taking their Saturday night bath. This bath time routine is longer than baths on the other nights of the week. We paint toes in the summer, clip nails, and clean ears. They know even the bath before Sunday is different from the rest of the week. The goal is that at a very young age our kids will know Sunday worship is special and different than the rest of the week.

We also put the kids to bed earlier than usual so they are well rested for the next day. We also prepare the kids for the actual service, by always have fun snacks for them. Gum is also a good weapon to put in the arsenal. We had to do some practice runs at home to teach them not to swallow it, but now it’s a great tool!

I also try to have some new stickers and fun coloring things in our little church backpack to help them keep their little hands busy. I rotate a few cars and plastic animals in there. I try to keep these toys separate from the rest so they are special toys and will hold their attention longer. I’m always on the look out for fun, new, quiet things to add to his backpack. Most of the time for holidays, they get things with Worship service in mind – stocking, Easter basket, birthday, etc.

Now, how do we get them to sit there, quietly, for the whole 1.5 hour service? Practice, practice, practice. We start them right out of the womb. :) They stay in the service as long as possible. Job was a chatty little baby so we had to use the nursery more for him. We would try to keep him until offering. And then we worked our way to the sermon. Then 5 minutes of the sermon. Then 15, 20, 30 minutes of the sermon, until he reached the whole service duration.

I tell you all this to encourage you! It’s a process. It takes time and practice. It doesn’t just happen over night, but it sure pays off. We love having our kids “singing” next to us. Saying “amen” when the prayer is over. And listening to God’s Word being preached. We love them watching us partake in communion, kneeling at confession, and giving of the offering. We love that they are participating with us, even in small ways. We want church to be a place they love. Keep working at it parents. It’s so worth the work.

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Apr 9

balance or metrics?

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Why are there always pleas for BALANCE when talking about any issue that has “two sides”, especially in moral issues? Personally, I can’t stand the word “balance.” I don’t see it in Scripture and I don’t see how it helps clarify anything. I’m not saying that wisdom is not warranted – because I think it is. However, wisdom shouldn’t mean mushy, spineless, or “safely conservative.” If we see things by the right standard, we can confidently walk by faith – despite how others may disagree.

There are those with their head in the sand who only take it out long enough to get air but still hate what they see in the light. Then there are those standing so tall on the highest mountain peak claiming to see danger so powerful and imminent coming ahead, there is only doom and fear to be declared (and loudly).

I don’t think it’s a matter of balance so much as it’s a matter of metrics. How do you measure the world – by what standard?

With true metrics, a true measurement can be taken. We don’t have to close our eyes or freak out because we know the truth, and the truth sets us free.

For example, what we eat is more and more a topic of conversation these days. What are you eating? Do you know where it came from? Why are you eating what you are? These are questions that are we are often asking each other – whether directly or indirectly. However, I think there’s a subtle error that we often make when asking these questions. We talk about “eating right” as though there was a “do eat” and “do not eat” list sent down from heaven that we are trying to follow. No, the point is to eat in faith. If you cannot do it by faith, don’t do it. Eating a “balanced diet” or eating “right” is not the answer – though there may be some truth in that advice. Our measure must be Christ.

But we must not stop with only taking measurements – we must also take ACTION. Without action we are only hypocritical fatheads with all the data but no plan of action. If we don’t do it, it’s not in us. If IT is not in us, something else is. Our fruit will betray our true identity.

Let’s be those who bear fruit in keeping with repentance. Those who don’t over-react to the blind, bold statements of those in the dark. Those who can ably handle the arrows coming right at us – not merely defensive but also on the offensive. Let’s stand with our heads up – not in the sand or in the clouds. Let’s leave the balancing act for those who are ok with “truth gymnastics.” Let’s MEASURE by the right standard, PLAN with wisdom, and ACT with clarity and decisiveness, taking God at His word that He blesses faith-filled obedience.

More needs to be said on this for sure, but hopefully it’s a step in the right direction…

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Oct 23

battle in the trenches

battle in the trenchesI am not even really sure where to begin this post. I was just telling Ian that I wanted to share a bit of my struggle with all the crazy hormones that came with having a baby and maybe encourage someone who is in the same battle. There are few resources out there that come at this from a Biblical perspective and while I have not “arrived” by any means, I am right in the midst of this battle and know what it’s like in those dark valleys.

If you would have asked me three years ago what I thought about depression and postpartum blues, my answer would be very different from the one I would give you today. I don’t want to get to into a debate, but rather encourage you. It’s strange how the Lord is giving us new and unexpected trials to over come. With my first child, Job, my struggles came hard and fast right after he was born. I had never felt such deep sorrow in such a “happy” time of life. I remember going to bed when he was just 5 days old and hoping I didn’t wake up. It was a hard 6 weeks for me. But by the time 6 weeks rolled around, I was feeling much more like myself and enjoying my little blessing so much.

With number two, Ruthie, I was prepared for the worst right after she her birth. I even had my mom come for extra time to help me through the first 6 weeks. Much to my surprise, I was great those first 6 weeks. I loved every moment of it. My struggle came in much later this time around. Every time I dropped a feeding in her nursing schedule I would feel much like I did after having Job. I wasn’t sure what was wrong and why I was feeling so sad and overwhelmed. Life was good and I had much to be thankful for, and I knew that. Yet, I couldn’t seem to kick my feelings to the curb. The next few months were rough. But knowing that things would get tough with each feeding I dropped made it all a little more bearable. We knew it was coming and we could prepare (at least a little) for what was to come.

I am still in the midst of the slight fog, but things are looking bright. These emotions God has given us are good. They are apart of what make us human. They are apart of this struggle in life. So, keep asking for faith to keep giving yourself to your family, even when you feel like you have nothing left to give, because just like the woman with the oil (2 Kings 4:1-7), the Lord will keep giving you more to give. So keep pouring and lavishing it on.

I want to encourage you to keep fighting. Confess sin where there is sin. Ask Christ for the faith and strength to make it through another moment, hour, or day, even if you don’t feel like you can make it another second. Ask your husband for grace, prayer, help, and hugs. And look to Him who is able to keep you from falling. This is a fight worth fighting and winning!

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Aug 2

thankful thursday #3

I am sure I’m going to say this every week, but how is it already Thursday? I thought I would format this week’s post a little differently for a couple of reasons. First, my computer is down so I am using Ian’s computer. Which in turn means I don’t have access to any of my pictures. And second, this week marks our church’s 5 year anniversary so I thought I would pay a little tribute to my local church, Redeemer Community Church.

We had the privilege of attending Redeemer for the first time three years ago on the anniversary Sunday. We had just moved here from WA and didn’t know a soul. We felt very alone being so far away from everyone we knew but we were warmly greeted and overwhelmed by all the invitations to lunch and dinner. The invitations were so abundant we were booking weeks out! We knew that first Sunday that this was the church for us. And just three months later, we became members.

It has been so refreshing to be at Redeemer. It’s just enough like our old stomping grounds but at the same time, the Lord is using it to challenging us in new areas. It’s been a joy to be apart of the Redeemer family. We love the people, fellowship, and worship. We are so very thankful for this body of believers and for its leadership. It’s been so great to see the Gospel lived out by the leaders and the congregation.

So on this muggy, dreary, Thursday I’m feeling very thankful. My husband told me the first month we were here, that by the time it came time for us to leave, I would be sad. I didn’t believe him… but once again, he was so very right.

happy thursday!

PS- We still have at least one more school year here! We aren’t leaving tomorrow. :)

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Jul 20

life through sacrifice

I have been thinking about this quote for a few weeks now. I have had it displayed on my chalkboard for awhile and think about it often.

IMG_9677“Live hard. Enjoy every moment. Get blisters and on your deathbed receive death as the grace it was intended to be.” – ND Wilson

How can we receive death as a grace? Isn’t death scary, sad, and the very thing we strive to avoid? In Christ, on the contrary. God has designed it to be a blessing. At the end of a long, hard, and happy life, death IS a blessing. I love how death is indeed a grace for those in Him, who have worked hard – putting it all on the line, and for those who have enjoyed the struggles and the joys life has thrown at them.

Along these same lines, Ian and I have been talking lots about sacrifice. It’s a good way to live life, sacrificing for one another. Laying down our lives daily for one another. Christ sacrificed for us and therefore, we sacrifice for others. It’s only through the cross that sacrificing even makes sense. We as Christians should be the foremost in laying down our lives with joy!

I have struggled being grabby with “Ian time.” When he is home, I want him all to myself. I don’t want to have people over too often or let him go get too many coffees with other guys. But just in the last few months Ian and I  have been talking about bleeding for the church. And that has gotten me REALLY excited to lay down my life (time, naps for the kids, my agenda, and money) for His people. Just a few ways we have been trying to apply this is by having people over more regularly (and focusing more on them then whether my house is perfectly clean or not), by me being excited to have Ian meet with other guys, and by getting together with others more often during the week. I have found when I am thinking about laying down my life and leaving a piece of my heart here in NC, I get really excited to bleed!

And I love how when you feel like you have nothing left to give or to sacrifice, Christ just keeps giving you more grace. What a kind God we serve.

I can’t wait to see what other good thoughts are in ND Wilson’s new book, “Death by Living”. I am sure it won’t disappoint.

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Jun 23

a house worth keeping

A topic that has had a recent resurgence of popularity in the evangelical cyber-world is that of women’s swimsuits. While I realize that swimsuit modesty is not a popular topic among men, I do think we should have something to say about it especially as husbands and fathers. This brings me to why I am even talking about this – often what we say regarding matters like this has little thought behind it. If we are trying to build multi-generational faithfulness, ham-handed treatment of issues that pertain life and godliness (which is everything) is not the way to go.

I think the swimsuit issue serves as a good example of this sort of thing. We buy into the reasoning that goes something like this – the modesty and thus godliness of a swimsuit is a simple calculation of skin to cloth ratio. If there is more skin than cloth, Jesus isn’t happy with us. We even appeal to the history of the swimsuit as though there was a holiness that existed in the past that we ought to somehow return to. Now granted, it may be a good thing to return to something of the past but let’s not assume it’s age makes it the better choice.

A formula like the one above might be a convenient way of calculating your standing with God but it simply isn’t a true measure. There’s nothing wrong with contending that we really ought to consider what we wear, why we wear it and even promoting principles and guidelines to help direct people. But reducing principles to rules and formulas only makes the issue messier because the ones keeping the rules feel holy and the ones who don’t share those convictions often have unnecessary guilt or imposed convictions that lead to a searing of the conscience. If we take this thinking in the above example to it’s furthest extent, we are really being quite modest in our reformation – a burka would be the MOST pleasing to God.

My point in addressing this issue is to point out how we can so easily adopt convictions regarding traditions, clothing, and culture that are built on foundations of sand. We often mix just enough of a knee-jerk reaction to the world’s standards with a little bit of conservative zest to make it palatable to the Christianese culture. As Doug Wilson says “It’s not enough to be right. You have to be right in the right way.” – or something to that effect.

In other words, it is easy to use the right words but put them in the wrong order. We know the evangelical vocabulary list and so we pull a random selection from it, throw some verbs and other connecting words in there along with some Bible verses (if we really want to make our point) and that is what we use to support our choices. (And notice, I am not excluding myself from this folly.) Part of the problem is, though our reasoning may “work” for us and our kids for now, that sort of haphazard thinking will not last. If we want to lay a foundation that we can pass on we must build on principles that will outlast our present situation.

So men, let us be vigilant in how we approach things and how we lead our families – even thru the most trivial of things. We show what we really think about God in our everyday decisions and interactions. So let’s lead with convictions and articulate our decisions with principles that won’t be sold at the posthumous auction with the rest of our worthless goods. Let’s build a house worth keeping.

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Jun 22

death and dirt

A thought struck me the other day as I was meeting with a group of guys, talking about the topic of humility. Humility is something that we rarely ever talk about but yet most, if they were asked directly, would admit that they aspire to at least to some form of it. We rarely talk about humility probably due to the fact that (1) most of us are not really too excited about being known for humility – because it often appears weak – and (2) we are afraid of appearing “holier than thou” (as though holiness were something to avoid). Though many of us may get excited about the honor that is directed at the humble – we just want the honor, not the humility.

We are often disgusted at those “fakers” we see who go through the motions but obviously have selfish motives. Though we may despise others for insincere motives we have no problem with it when it comes to our own practice of it. We find avenues to display what have been labeled “humble actions” to avoid having to do anything that might look weak or spineless in others’ eyes.

Whatever our rationale is for our aversion to humility – whether that be to the idea of it (which we may be fond of) or to the actual practice of it (which is on completely different level) – the truth is that humility could not be more opposed to our fleshly nature. Being that Christ is the ultimate example of humility we might say that to aspire to humility is to aspire to holiness. And it is at this point that we realize our dramatically distorted concept of humility is only echo of the true form.

We would much prefer the veneer of humility that we have adopted because it only requires going thru the motions of sacrifice but lacking the necessary death and dirt that is associated with true humility. True humility does not seek to maintain a squeaky-clean reputation as we commonly esteem “cleanliness” because it is more concerned about the one being sacrificed FOR and not itself. Christ taking the form of a man and being crucified like a criminal seems silly if the point was to keep a squeaky clean image. He displayed the true essence of humility in bearing our stripes and going to the grave.

We, however, are afraid of the dirt of sacrifice because we’ve spent a lot on building our wardrobe of humility. We act as though humility can be assembled with all it’s necessary parts like an outfit we pick out for the next day. If we simply put on these clothes, we can still maintain a good image and no pain or dying is necessary. If people recognize our “humility clothes” and associate those with humility our only remaining task is one of laundry, not heart change. Chances are, if it is true humility in action, on-lookers won’t be complimenting your outfit, they’ll be laughing at it.

True humility is only possible because of Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection. It only makes sense in his economy. Let’s not settle for the cheap stuff. Look to him as the example by and for which to live that example. If we are aiming for true humility we must not be afraid of dirt and most importantly the necessity of death. Because it is only when we die that we will find true life.

So in all our “doing”, men, let’s be known for humility. Let’s lay down our lives for our families and for one another and be the type of people worth following and hanging around. Stop gawking at others humility outfits or encouraging a culture where pride is a masculine necessity. If we are not striving for humility, the default of pride will most certainly take over.

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