Sunday, July 12, 2015

Dream BIG

God is doing some really cool stuff with some super cool folks that I know.  Two of them go to church with me [and one of them just happens to also be my Coop and the other is a friend, Lauren] and I am super proud of the work they are doing in Cañas, Costa Rica.  My mom and dad's church, Denver United Methodist, partners with a church.  Each year they send a team of folks to continue construction projects, minister to the community, and serve alongside the congregation in Cañas.

This is Cooper's second year and he absolutely loves, loves, LOVES the people down there.  He is boy man-child after God's heart.  He is so passionate about sharing the love of Christ with anyone who will lend him an ear.[ could we, as his parents, be any more proud than knowing that he is walking in the way of the Lord?]  What an awesome experience for all of those involved in the trip!  

One of the desires of the trip is that not only do they grow their relationship with Christ but also that they grow as a grow as a group. Sometimes, especially with folks that are used to having phones as a part of every day life, that can be hard.  The leader of their group ask that they unplug for the trip. [Not going to lie, last year was very difficult not hearing from Coop at all. I mean, if you've EVER been around him for longer than 10 seconds then you know he isn't every quiet at home.  When he isn't here, though it isn't quiet by any stretch, his voice is missed.]  I was more prepared this year for just being content [and a tiny bit nervous] at knowing that God is keeping him, Lauren, and the entire group safe. As an added bonus, they are using the church's blog as a way to post pictures of what they are doing. [And to be honest, it did this mom's heart a world of good to see a couple of pictures of that sweet baby boy's face. How I love that kid!] 

Another sweet child that I know is also off serving the Lord in a very far away place - Thailand. [I am praying hard for these two girls but I am praying super hard for their parents.  That is a llllloooooonnnggg way to send your child!]  I know that both of these young ladies are very excited to see what God has in store for them as they serve in Thailand.  They will actually be there for 4 weeks. [Again, I am praying for safety, endurance, and some parents that are anxiously awaiting the end of these four weeks.]  You can follow their adventures at this blog. [And I LOVE how she sign's off with the words, "Dream Big"  That is exactly what God is asking us to do for Him.]

My favorite coach [and new favorite assistant principal] also just returned from a mission trip in Spain.  I am anxious to hear all about the trip and how God moved and worked with this group of 10 men.  [Just as a side note, it is also totally cool how God will even use American fútbol as a way to spread the gospel. Wow.]  I would love to share some pictures and stories about his trip but since returning home last night he has been semi comatose. As soon as he catches up on his sleep I will post more about his trip.

Molly has a friend that spent the first 5 weeks of her summer in Sweden, sharing the love of Jesus.  The youth from our church, along with MANY other youth from our area, are serving or have served in communities all over the south through MFuge. Molly is a camp coordinator with CCC.  These groups are also serving through missions in areas all over NC.

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
Isaiah 6:8 (ESV)

So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty, 
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, 
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
And be led forth in peace; 
the mountain and the hills before you 
shall break forth in singing,
"For you shall go out in joy
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."
Isaiah 55:11-12

What I think is even cooler about these people is that most of them are high school and college aged students.  They are the next generation of believers and they are following The Great Commission:

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe al that I commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:16-20

I'm going to be honest, when I was in 16, 17, 18, even in to my 20s, I wasn't a bit interested in anything but what I wanted to do. [And to be even more honest, I had no clue what that even was at the time.  I eventually figured it out. Later than sooner, according to my father.] These young people are picking up and flying around the world, literally, all in the name of serve others.  For several of the ones I mentioned above, this isn't the first, second, or even third trip but one of many. And these are just folks I know

But [nothing good ever comes after using the word "but"] God doesn't always ask us to fly to Thailand or Spain or Costa Rica or even drive to western NC. [Let me preface this by saying that when I'm using the word "you" I am including my own self too.] 
He might be asking you to keep the nursery at church. 
He might be asking you to teach a Sunday school class.  
He might be asking you to volunteer at the local soup kitchen or food bank.  
He might be asking you to visit the shut-ins in your church. 
He might be asking you to invite someone else to church.  

The mission field is wide open and God needs us everywhere.  

Dream BIG.   

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

I'm With Her

Read this FIRST:

Y'all know I believe, more than anything, that God will tell you [me] like it is when you [me] truly need to hear it.

The link above was what I needed to hear. 

At just the right time.

I, too, am going to kiss social media goodbye. [Huge gulp.]

Honestly, before I even read that [on Facebook...again, well played God] I was considering all that social media is and is not and honestly considering taking a much needed break for an extended period. [For me. This is about how I feel about it and in no way condemning your choice to use it as you wish.]

What it is:
1. A way to connect with family and friends from all different walks of life.  
2. A way to share vacations, pets, children [sometimes those two are the same], and all of the ups and downs of life.
3. A way to advertise your business, yard sale, stuff for sale, blog, interests, etc.
4. A source of all kinds of political and hot button social issues of the day.
5. A super easy way to ask a question about issues with kids, opinions about vacations spots, the best way to bake a cake, and everything in between - literally. 
6. An avenue to share religious and political beliefs and opinions [and more times than not, a place to openly disagree, piss off, and/or just be rude to folks that you disagree with for all the world to see].

What it isn't:
This one is easy. One statement.

It isn't the Bible.   

1 John 5:3-5
This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Psalm 1:2
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

For me, its also about boundaries. [I'm not very good at setting them.]  I always try to be as honest and open about my inadequacies [just how long do you have?] and I have trouble not reading and forming opinions about what I read on social media. I also have trouble not worrying about what is going on with social media. [And that is just stupid. STUPID.]

Social media is the world's view [much of it twisted, distorted, and interpreted so that everyone gets to feel good] of what God has already said so why I am worrying about what everyone else thinks about gay marriage, the Confederate flag, or terrorism? I am certainly not saying that others are not entitled to give an opinion or think what they choose to think about a certain topic but the problem is that words on a screen are often:

  • misinterpreted
  • without feeling
  • overly aggressive
  • insensitive
  • insincere

[I am JUST AS GUILTY as the next person for all of those things, and more, in that list.]  

Blame it on old age, a little more wisdom, or a lot of both, but I am to the point where I am not interested in what someone thinks or doesn't think about what I say or do or agree/disagree with on Facebook, Twitter, etc.  I've read this a time or two [or 1000] times recently, "It's a free country. We're all entitled to our own opinions." [Of course, that sometimes only applies if you are in agreement with the opinion giver.  I've read some pretty nasty comments when people disagree with other's opinions. So much for that whole "free" thing.] I have seen some really nasty, ugly, downright mean things in the last several weeks over gay marriage and the Confederate flag. Many have suggested just "unfriending" people but, in my opinion, that isn't real life either.   

And it is funny because I have to wonder, in an open room with the opportunity to debate these same issues, would we [myself included] be so nasty and ugly to one another face to face? I would venture to say that some [myself included] wouldn't even open their mouths to give an opinion.  I've learned valuable and powerful lessons about the power of words when they are written for everyone to see.

You can't take them back.

But above all of these things, for me, it is about being hindered by my need for social media. [I can hear some of you saying, "Well that is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard" and maybe it is.] For a lot of folks, social media is an excellent tool for them to share their voice and be heard by people that need to hear the word of God. I sincerely applaud people who are able to use social media, filter out the nonsense, and really use it for good. And I will be praying for you.

But for me....  

I just need Jesus.  
I need His word. 
I need to spend more time in prayer. 

I don't need social media to do any of those things.  I've tried that and all it did, for me, was teach me too much about how the world wants me to be. God ask us to be bold, and I will continue to be bold and share my faith, but I have to unplug and get away from the world's twisted views. [Honestly, I read a story on Facebook about a Satanic monument being put up in Detroit and it made me physically ill. I remember, about a year ago, a person who is a friend, from Facebook and says they are a Christian, applauding this freedom of religion.
There shouldn't be a Bible believing Christian, walking on this Earth, ANYWHERE, that believes this is an OK idea to stand up for anyone who supports satanic beliefs.] 

From now on I will simply be blogging and occasionally using Instagram [I'm a sucker for pictures..what can I say?] to share about what God is doing in the life of my family.

As always, unplugged and free, life as a Short could not be better.

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