Friday, July 23, 2010

The Right to Lead

John Maxwell is definitely the go to guy for leadership advice-no arguments there. Occasionally I've thought his longer books were a bit much on the subject. That said, this book was perfect. Consisting of short quips and bios of leaders who have not just led, but led successfully this book is motivating, inspiring and concise.
In a world where everyone feels qualified to lead, this book exemplifies those who have gone through enough hard times to help someone else along. It puts the responsibility of leadership back on the individual and considers leading to be a privilege.
For guys, this is a great book. Start at the beginning, start at the middle or begin at the end and you will still find helpful advice usable in day to day leadership. For graduates this book is invaluable in beginning an education or career. For the average person it encourages the reader to lead where you are, make a difference where you live now, and develop skills to be a successful leader in the future.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fall Bible Study Announcement

Valdosta friends! We are set to begin Bible study again this fall with a study of The Patriarchs by Beth Moore. We will start September 7th at 6:30 P.M. Cost is $25.00. We will be meeting at Dorraine Webb's house. You can e-mail me for more information and directions. RSVP by August 20th. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Book Review The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven

(WHEW! It feels good to get back to regular Reading!!)
I was apprehensive about reading this book. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of of running by Heaven for the afternoon, having a cup of coffee with the Lover of my Soul and returning to Earth changed and transformed to face the rest of my day. That said, that doesn't happen! At least for me.
This is the story of a near fatal car accident with a father and his son. The son is paralyzed from the crash and wavers between life and death for several days. I thought the book was fascinating. The 6 year old tells of his experiences going to heaven, meeting with the angels, and even talking to Jesus.
It's a sweet story and at certain points I was even tempted to believe him. Somewhere in my desperate to connect with Jesus soul I found myself jealous of his encounters. I think he really believes that happened and far be it from me to question his experience. I don't know how God comforts people in extreme circumstances. I don't know that the angels don't come to visit when we are in need of some divine intervention. I don't know.
For me though I just don't think so. I don't think anyone has spent 90 minutes in Heaven, 23 minutes in Hell or any other amount of time anywhere except Earth.
If I walk through the doors of Heaven I'm never leaving and I don't see how someone could go from seeing and experiencing the Divine to willingly returning to Earth. It doesn't work in my mind.
That said, it's a good book! I enjoyed it and it made me mindful of the day we will live with the Lord for all of eternity.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Faithful to me

Lately I feel like I'm not making spiritual progress as quickly as I would like to. I feel like I need greater trust in the Lord and the process of getting this life from here to Heaven. I don't feel like I have enough security in his promises or faith in his ways. At least 90% of the time I feel like if I'm Christ's representative to the Earth-the earth is in BIG trouble.

But today I'm remembering exactly a year ago. A year ago I was sitting on a friend's couch telling her I did not have any idea where the Lord went. I couldn't find Him in this life. I wanted desperately to feel sure of my salvation but I didn't. I felt disconnected from the body of Christ and was finding that being a spiritual island was dangerous and depressing. I then met with the pastor of her church and had a similar conversation. He encouraged me to take my doubts and fears to the Lord and ask Him how to plug in better even if it wasn't the typical church times. I remember sitting there thinking, "Okay, God. I'll give you a year."

And what a year it has been.

If sitting there that day, on that couch you would have told me, "Don't worry. In the course of the next year you will do 2 Beth Moore Bible studies, be involved frequently in church on Sunday mornings, have your work schedule changed so you can go to church on Wednesday nights, be involved in a Tuesday morning Bible study, find lots of spiritual answers in lots of different ways and disciple 3 young women desperate for a relationship with the Lord" I would have called you crazy. If you had said, "365 days from today you'll be so in love with the Lord you won't remember what you ever did without Him," I would have told you that sounded wonderful but I kinda doubted it.

But you know what? You'd have been right :)

I stand amazed today at the ways he is changing me from the inside out. How the frustration of not being where I want to be with Him is still better than not being able to find Him at all! How the continuous tug on my soul to be like Him, to get to know Him and to surround myself with the things of Him-is in itself a gift unwrapped and available to me every single day.

I'm thankful for all the times in the past year I've opened up my Bible and found His promises to be true. I'm thankful for the times I have fallen at His feet and let Him change me. Even though I get it wrong almost all of the time, I'm thankful for the days that my head has hit the pillow knowing that day was a spiritual victory. I'm especially thankful that I don't have to have it all together for Him to use this life and He is using it in ways big and small all the time.

I'm so thankful for the prayers He has answered in the last 365 days. I'm thankful that a year ago I could barely whisper the prayer, "I just want to know you're there." And today, a year later I can pray every day, "I just want to know you more!"

What an adventure!

Lord, in all the world there is no one like you. You take all we have to offer-ourselves and mold us into divine reflections of who you are. Infinitely patient, forever kind, and always for us-it's the least I can do to give this next year to you too. And the one after that. And the one after that. Forever. Amen.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

To be held

It's been a crazy roller coaster of a life relationship with the Lord the past few weeks and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Don't you just love when He shows up in the dailiness of life? I love when I'm not expecting Him to be a big part of whatever I'm doing and then without warning He takes center stage. He shows up and in a moment everything changes.

It's nothing major. It's daily! But here are some examples of His faithfulness to this little life lately.

Last week I was driving home from work and was stressing. I don't live in an extravagant neighborhood. I just live in a normal neighborhood, cul de sac, regular people with regular families living a regular life. BUT, for whatever reason they are OBSESSED with lawn care. Whoever the president of our home owner's association is currently can count me OUT for voting for him next time. Seriously, if your lawn becomes a centimeter above what it's supposed to I can just about stick my hand out the door and pick up the warning letter. It's ridiculous. I want to live in a nice neighborhood, I think you should take care of your lawn but seriously.

So, I was driving home wondering how in the world I was ever going to get my yard mowed that week. It takes 2 hours plus trimming, weeding, and edging none of which I find particularly interesting enough to do a great job. I was trying to figure it out and finally I just said to the Lord, "I can't make it work this week and I need your help." I feel certain that the One who keeps the world spinning had bigger things on the table than my lawn but He said, "Come to me." He didn't say come to me when you have something worthy of my time! So, I did. I came to Him.

I got home and was getting rid of some shelving in my garage. My neighbor across the street came over with her little girl and asked if she could have the shelving. Definitely. So she took it home and came back and offered to pay me for it. Nope. You can have it. She thanked me and left. About a half hour later her husband came over. He said, "I so appreciate the shelving. If you'll let me I'd love to mow your lawn this weekend in exchange. It would be my pleasure. As a matter of fact if you'd let me I'd love to mow your lawn every time it needs it. You can pay me or not pay me. I'd just like to do it."

I could have cried. You do not understand what a race it is for me to get my lawn mowed before I get in trouble! Plus it's a million degrees and I have ZERO extra time in a week. Jesus, you amaze me with your attention to detail and the care and concern you have for this life! THANK YOU!

Just this week I've had the privilege of watching the Lord fix a friendship, give me the grace and strength to end one, and have an amazing wisdom filled conversation with my pastor that changed a lot of things. I feel like I've fallen at His feet a million times a day just to say, "you show up and help me or we're going down!" And He has. Over and over and over again.

And my new prayer is that I wouldn't miss the opportunity to see Him at work. These are just the instances I've noticed. I feel certain there are countless more that I have taken for granted.

We do not have to live this life on our own. We do not have to have all the answers. All we need is Him.

I have said over and over again lately that I need concentrated time with the Lord in these seasons so this time I'm going to do it! I'm giving God the next 30 days as a sort of spiritual boot camp. I'm committed to spending time with Him every day, focusing on prayer and meditation and plan to journal every day about the experience. I can almost physically feel my soul crying out for more of Him and it's a cry I don't dare ignore. More than my next breath, more than my next step, more than anything - I need Him.

And the great news is, when we call to Him He promises to answer. Every time. I can't wait to hear what He has to say.

Have a great weekend :)