Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thoughts for a Thursday

Here are just some thoughts for a Thursday.

Psalms 18:16-24 The Message version

-But me he caught—reached all the way from                                                   sky to sea; he pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,
    the void in which I was drowning.
They hit me when I was down,
    but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field;
    I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!
20-24 God made my life complete
    when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I got my act together,
    he gave me a fresh start.
Now I’m alert to God’s ways;
    I don’t take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works;
    I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
    and I’m watching my step.
God rewrote the text of my life
    when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Music..some thoughts running through my head...

Image result for free picture of someone leading music at church

Recently there was some discussion that I came across about music and church.  I know, a hot topic at best.  But I've been thinking about it and a couple of things come to mind.  And I'm trying to write this in love but it's hard.  First, the flesh in me wants to say, "who cares what you think" but that's not nice.  But, maybe it's true.  Who says it's okay for others to judge my worship?  Or if I dance at church or if we sing the same song a gazillion times?   And by the way, why aren't you worshiping?  Don't say your whole thoughts are on Him if you can still look around and judge how others are worshiping.

But that's my flesh.  Let me try and put it in a kinder way:  I dance at church occasionally as I feel the spirit leads me.  I'm worshiping!   And as a person who has a hard time focusing I wonder if that is why the Holy Spirit leads the music pastor to sing the same thing over and over.  People like me can finally get all the thoughts from life out of our heads and can focus on worshiping God.  Also when I finally can focus I'm swept away, amazed at Him.  I get just a glimpse of his glory and I'm awestruck!  How can I not want to linger on the words that either praise him or tell of him or wonder at him?  I mean the God of the Universe holds my hand.  He is aware of ME.  If that doesn't move you, you need to have a talk with him, something is off.  Our relationship with him is a love affair.  We are lovesick.  We want to sing to him and of him.  We want to lavish praise on him.  If you see that as me getting worked up. Sorry.  You are wrong.  

Image result for free picture of someone leading music in church

As I tried to put emotions aside and examine this dilemma in black and white, a thought came to me. Maybe, just maybe it comes down to the fact that we are all different.  I love to worship one way.  You love to worship another.  And maybe there are others who love to worship a bunch of other ways.  Just like cooking or raising kids.  There are some basics but than we each do it differently. Maybe you like meat and potatoes cooking , maybe Suzy likes vegetarian cooking, or Martha is a gourmet chef and Jennifer just wants to feed her hungry crew.  In music if the message is true.  The basics are right.  Why do you have to have an opinion?  Especially if it's not your church?  Just like one family lives and breathes sports, another is into the arts.  Another is on the lake or camping every chance they get.  And another likes to stay home.  If they are loving their family and taking care of them what business is it of ours to tell them they are wrong?  We are all wired differently.  Let's give grace and mercy. Seriously, we are all so different.  How could the music pastor/leader please everyone?

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I have worked and attended many churches as we have moved often.  Small, large and in between.  I love my church now because of a few things.  They preach the Word!  We have people being saved. More than any church I have attended.  We are a family of believers doing life together.  We aren't perfect by no means but our focus is on God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  What more can you ask for in a church?  If your church has the basics right, don't question every move the leaders make. Pray if you don't like something. Pray hard.  But be ready, you might be the one that changes.

Image result for free picture of someone leading music in church

Music.. not everyone will like every song, every time.  SO WHAT?    If you worship at home to the music you prefer, you can worship at church even if it's not your favorite type of music.  Listen to the words, focus on HIM.

Last thought:  Let's quit being critical and let's love people and be about the most important thing: seeing people get saved and helping them grow as we ourselves grow.

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(Stepping down off my soapbox)      

Friday, June 12, 2015

Out of Sight

See you later, Alligator.
Out the door, Dinosaur.
See you soon, Baboon.
Give a hug, Ladybug.
in an hour, Sunflower.
Better swish, Jellyfish.
Better shake, Rattlesnake.
Gotta go, Buffalo. 
Blow a kiss, Goldfish.

Jack, our little grandson, likes to watch until you are out of sight when you leave after a visit.
He says "I watch you go".  He is two. He watches until your car is out of sight.

This brought back memories of different times, different places.

I remember my Grandmothers, when I was little, waving as we drove away.  It was so hard.  We lived in Michigan and they lived in Tennessee.  That was back in the time when there were long distance charges and you only got a phone call if there was a death or someone was near death.  The call was always bad/sad news.  So goodbyes were harder and longer.  Of course, these days I live by my grands.  If they lived far away I would have a hard time saying goodbyes too.

Image result for free picture of waving children at a door

My brother got married when I was 10.  He moved to Indiana around that time.  We lived in Michigan, when they would come to visit we would wave and watch as they left.  As my nieces and nephew were added to the family it became even more poignant when they would leave.

As I got older and went to North Dakota.  It was so far away, leaving was really hard.  We moved around a lot, not even aware how it probably affected our families. 

I remember the last time I saw my Dad.  We were visiting and he left early in the morning while we were still in bed.  He came in and kissed me and Mandi good bye. She was just 9 months old.  He wanted to see her before he left.  We were moving to Grand Rapids, a few hours away. He was going to miss us. I didn't realize how much I was going to miss him.  That was the last time I saw him conscious.  He was in the hospital when I saw him next and than he was gone. That was a long time ago.

We have lived in Tennessee 22 years today.  We have had many good byes since being here.  Family coming and going.  I remember the girls being little and as Paul's parents left or others, we would stand outside on the lawn waving till they were out of sight.  This was mostly before we used computers and visits were few and far between.

The hardest goodbye now is when we leave my mother in law.  I know she misses Paul especially.  He is her oldest, her firstborn.  She has always been so strong.  But she tears up when we leave.  My heart hurts at her tears.  She tries to look brave.  She watches until we are out of sight.

Sometimes, in this crazy busy time we live in we forget how to say hello and how to say good bye. Watching till they are out of sight says things.  It says: you are important to me.  I will miss you.  You are in my heart. You and I.  Family. Friends. Love.  Connection. Belonging.  I have the time for you. 

So take a moment, or a few,  slow down and watch till they are out of sight.  It doesn't take but a few minutes maybe even seconds.  Let your actions speak loudly what your heart feels.

Image result for free picture of waving children at a door