Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Butter glasses...

We took the kids to see the movie "Tangled" over the Thanksgiving break. We had wanted to go see the regular movie, but soon found out that the only one playing was in 3-D. I have been to one 3-D movie with our kids before and swore I would never go again. Between telling them to keep their glasses on 254 times, getting a headache from wearing them myself, getting scared several times from stuff jumping out at me, and having to turn them in at the end of the movie(even though I paid extra for them)....I swore I would never grace the doors of a 3-D movie again. But alas...I did!

We get our glasses and get comfy while Ric goes to get popcorn...cause seriously, who goes to a movie without the refillable popcorn bucket(ahem...3 times)! Shout out to Pops for spotting us the popcorn! The movie was so stinkin' cute and I was really into it. I am dishing out cups of corn...picking up Jesse's glasses 22 times when I notice that Shelby has her glasses off...I'm like "pssstt..Shelby you have to wear your glasses". She puts the glasses down on her eyes and then two minutes later they are back up. "Shelby...put your glasses on...you can't get the full effect without them on(like she knows what that means)." She slides them back on her little button nose...and then we repeat above actions about 3 more times. Finally she gets up and brings them to me...."Mom...I can not see anything out of these things...they are drivin' me nut's". Finally I just switched with her...gave up my glasses for the "ones you can't see out of!".

I seriously thought she was just having a hard time with them because they are strange to look through...that was until I put her pair on. I slid Shelby's glasses on my nose with a little chuckle under my breath thinking "she is so crazy...can't see out of her glasses", and then I got them up....and lo and behold, I couldn't see out of them. There was so much butter on her lenses that seriously Paula Deen could have used them in a recipe. I was dying laughing and Ric is all "what, what...what are you laughing at??". I proceed to tell him what had just transpired as I took my comfy sweatshirt and wiped those butter laden glasses clean. He giggled and just said "Shelby"".

As the movie wore on I thought about those butter glasses and how there once was a time that I was blind...my "vision" was messed up, but God came and interrupted my life. He sought me out and wanted to heal my broken spirit. Man oh Man...do I remember the moment that my vision was corrected...I was 19 years old and in the middle of a revival at Liberty. I don't know what was being preached...but I do know that God was drawing me...He had revealed my sinfulness to me...showed me a need for repentance. He wiped my dirty glasses...my dirty heart, and He made me clean. When I looked up...I could see...praise God...I could see. I knew He had a plan for my life...a purpose and I was running after it.

I am thankful that 16 years later, He still moves in my heart. He still teaches me things(even if it's through butter glasses)...He still loves me. Have you had the butter wiped off of your glasses yet??? If you haven't, I encourage you to let Him help you to see clearly....I promise the "movie" will be way better if you do!!

Mark 8:25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful for much...

I am sitting at my in-laws house this quiet Thanksgiving morning...I can smell the ham in the oven, I hear the soft breathing of my four kids just steps away, I know that the man I loves thinks I hung the moon...and I am thankful for much!

This year I am thankful for God's grace in my life...for His saving grace, sustaining grace, and His undeserving grace. God has stretched me and showed me so many things this past 6 months and I am so grateful for it. Thankful that He doesn't give up on me when I wanted to live comfortably, when I ignored His word, when I was selfish, when I sinned, when I ignored the poor, when I didn't go...when I failed. If you read my blog, you know I have been through a journey (Radical), and I am so glad I did. My faith has been challenged, encouraged, stretched beyond belief...and I'm thankful for much!

I am thankful for my sweet husband. Yes, the man that I met almost 11 years ago still has my heart today. He still makes me laugh...still makes my heart skip a beat...still loves me in my crazy imperfections. He's a good man...a faithful man...a man of truth and substance...and a man that loves Jesus. I can overlook his strong belief in Big Foot...yep, I can...and I am thankful for much!
I am thankful for my precious kids...for their tender hearts, the way they laugh, the way they love. I love being their mom...when times are tough and when times are just plain good...they are great kids that challenge me daily to be a better person. They are a gift from God and I am so thankful He trusted me enough to raise them. They put my heart in puddles...and I am thankful for much!

I am thankful for my family. I live away from my family, and although it has gotten to be "normal"...it has never been easy. I miss my parents...my sweet sister and her family, my funny brother and his. They have been with me through it all and I love them. Love that even though we are so far apart distance wise, I know in my heart that we are always close at hand. I am thankful for Ric's sweet family and the way that they love us. I never would have thought that I could fit in so well with people that I wasn't "blood related" with...but I do...bless their hearts! What a blessing it is to have family and to feel loved. They rock for reals...and I am thankful for much!

I am thankful for friends and our church family. I am blown away by what great friends we have had placed in our lives. People that have stuck with us through the good times and bad. Friends that we can call on to help out...to feed a guinea pig...to help us when our cars mess up...to mow our grass...to take our kids when we need a break...to encourage us...give us a shoulder to cry on. Yep, I love my friends...my church...and I am thankful for much!

On this day I will remember how God has blessed me. I will acknowledge His hand in my life...and I will be thankful for much!

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your

hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

5 things...Radical Chapter 9

I can't believe it's here...I can't believe I actually stuck with this...and I am sad that it's over, yet excited to see what happens in the next year. Reading this book has brought some many mixed feelings up...feelings of regret, conviction, embarrassment, excitement, expectancy...oh I could go on and on. All through the first 8 chapters, I knew what was coming in Chapter 9. I knew there was a commitment...I knew there were specifics. I have never been the type of person to read the end of the book first, and so I have waited...I didn't even peek. My book is so tattered and worn, but the pages of Chapter 9 are fresh...untouched until this past week. I would hush my mom when she tried to tell me about the commitment. I would tell my friends that I didn't want to know what was in Chapter 9 until it was time for me to get there...and I'm glad I didn't.

Can you imagine if I had just read that last chapter and that was all I did? I would have been like...sure I'll pray...read..."sacrifice"...go...get involved in my church...big deal. I would never have stuck with any of those things if I had done it that way. But now when I see "pray for the whole world", specifics are brought to mind...4.5 billion specifics and I really do want to pray for them. I want my kids to pray for the world and know that their prayers make a difference. I'm excited to pick different countries and tell the kids who we are praying for...my prayer for us is that we realize that we need to personally be invested in the gospel.

The second dare was to read through the Bible in 1 year. Gulp...I have to admit, I have been a Christian since I was 19 years old and I have never read through the ENTIRE Bible in a year. Sure I read my bible...that's enough right?? I am excited to take this challenge underway....I am ready for the challenge and anticipating God growing me through it. Why would this be part of the Radical Experiment you ask? Platt said "we hold the matchless Word of God in our hands, and it DEMANDS a superior position in our lives, our families, our small groups, and our churches. If you and I are going to penetrate our culture and the cultures of the world with the gospel, we desperately need minds saturated with God's Word." May my mind be saturated...may I hide His word deep in my heart.

The third challenge is to sacrifice you money for a specific purpose. This is one I so saw coming...I mean the whole book has stepped on and broken my toes over sacrificing. I am so grateful that I already know what I will be sacrificing my money for and I can't wait to share it with all of you...I am literally busting at the seams(and not because I am eating chips and salsa at 11:00 at night) to tell people, but I have to wait for the right time. So I know where my money will go...now where to take that money from. I am horribly convicted over the money we spend in eating out and unnecessary trips to the grocery store...I know that through planning and using coupons I can cut our budget in more than half in that are, but those things take discipline and that is something I am short on sometimes. Not now...it's now a choice...it's a commitment and to me that is binding so I will strive to sacrifice in that. We are looking to cut back on many other things in our lives just to be able to give together. We want to sell this house that looms over my shoulders now....Lord willing we will get to that point as well. This challenge makes me crazy nervous...if I'm being real and all. Lord help me to sacrifice.

The fourth challenge is to spend our time in another context. Well...I kinda know where this one is going too and I am beyond excited for it....I mean beyond! But above that, we, as a family are going to do one mission trip every summer so that our kids lives aren't eat up with free for all vacations, but teaching them to minister to others. I am praying that God will specifically lay a ministry on our hearts that we can get involved in and really invest our lives in.

The fifth challenge is to commit my life to a multiplying community...my church. Some could say that I have this one in the bag since I am married to the ministry per say...but I believe it goes so much more deeper than just having our names on the role. If I am to encourage my church body to live radically, then I have to live a radical life out in front of them. I have to be involved because I want to, not just because I am expected to. I want to take that extra time to pray with people...encourage people...love on folk! I won't lie...ministry is tough and sometimes I feel like the church gets more of my husband than I do. Sometimes I feel like it sucks the life out of us...and that my friends is what happens when you minister in the flesh. May I throw all that aside and just minister for Christ's sake, because really, it's not about me or my wants at all! May my precious church in Georgia get on board with this Radical Experiment...I can't wait to see what God does in spite of us!

It's been a great ride these last 9 weeks...one that I am glad doesn't end just because the book did. May God be please with my life! This next year I will ...pray...read...give...go...and commit. To God be the Glory!!

I'm joining in the Radical Read Along over at www.MarlaTaviano.com. Come on over...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Somewhat life long dreams fulfilled...

This past weekend we had our youth group come out to our 4 acres out in the country and have a good ol' bonfire and several (vicious) games of capture the flag. Yes it was tough terrain to be playing said game on...yes there were several injuries(including my husband and our pastor)...and yes, a good time was had by all!

I had walked up to the house to check on all of the littles (youth workers kids) that were in the midst of a serious game of hide and seek too...there were no lights on in the house! When I cam back out I almost got choked up....I looked at the big bonfire blazing in the night sky and could see the shadows of more than 50 teenagers singing to Jesus. When we built our house....this was our dream, our vision. We wanted to open our home to friends...family...church folk...and make it place that would honor God and it was so neat to finally truly see that!

The kids played...fell down the hills...ran into trees(along with my good buddy Heather)...many flags were captured...then taken back...and I got to wear a flash light on my head. It was a good night that only got better.

My husband believes in Big Foot...yes, you heard me right. It has kind of become the resident joke around our youth group and even in the church that Ric thinks Big Foot is for real...to the point that my oldest daughter even made the statement to him several weeks ago when he told her the tooth fairy was not real "so you're telling me that you don't think the tooth fairy is real, but you think Big Foot is??". So I got an idea...just one to make my husband laugh. I decided to rent a Big Foot costume and have our 6 foot 5 inch friend Scott run across my backyard in it. We(the few of us who knew about Operation Big Foot) were dying to see Ric's reaction...and we were hoping to scare a few kids in return. The only one who got really scared was my 2 year old Jesse(who is still talking about it) and one of our teenage boys...whom you could have heard screaming in Alabama...ahem...Tyler Shaw!

Ric was surprised...laughed really hard...tried to figure out who the Sasquatch was...and then they sat down and had a coke together. It was a great night!! One that was filled with fun...a little bit of mischief...Jesus...and some crazy teenagers! I love being a youth pastor's wife...can you tell??

What were the life long dreams you ask??? Mine was getting to wear a head light(seriously I have wanted to do it forever and my husband surprised me with one that night)...Ric's was to have a legitimate sighting of Big Foot(although it wasn't really legit)...ours...to have our home filled with teenagers and friends...praising the Lord! What a great night of fulfillment!

My house was trashed...carpet now needs to be replaced...yard looked like Samford and Sons...but boy was it fun!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Worth the Risk…Radical Chapter 8

I sit here tonight writing this post with my four sweet babes tucked into their own beds. Chris Tomlin is softly playing in my youngest son's room…"where the spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty" can be heard all the way down here where I sit on my super comfortable couch. I'm on my laptop while my husband works on our other computer…and both of our iPhones are close at hand. I fixed a great supper for my family and some of our friends tonight…we had family worship and jammed out to some Shai Linne and Kim Walker…and then we went over the study we are doing through Luke(awesome Study that Mark Driscoll has done). We have a good life…a real good life…I can't complain, nope not one bit. And then I read Chapter 8…

When I was in college I read Elizabeth Elliot's book "Passion for Purity". Her story was riveting…it drew me in like no other book (other than God's word) had. I began to read everything I could come across that had anything remotely to do with Jim Elliot or Elizabeth. I wanted to risk it all…just like they did. I imagined a life in the jungle…one where I would scoop up my babies out of the dirt and lay them down in our hut to go to bed. I wanted to live the life of a missionary….one who denies themselves and gives all they have to further the Gospel. But now…now I live the life that I described above…a good life…but a life far from the one I imagine as a young college girl. The question that Platt asks towards the beginning of the chapter "do we believe the reward found in Jesus is worth the risk of following Him?"…and that question stuck with me for the next 20 pages. Is it worth the risk?

If I wanted to be all spiritual in front of you few that read this, I would say "sure, whatever happens is worth the risk…just to follow Him", but I would be remiss in saying that. If I'm being honest, I think about those four sweet babes tucked in their beds upstairs and my wonderful husband in the next room, and I don't want to risk them. I don't want anything to happen to my family…it hurts my heart to even think about it. I am a mom, and by my nature I want to protect them at any length possible…when deep down I truly know that I have very little (ok absolutely nothing) to do with them being protected. I know God is in control, and then I read about how he has called us into danger. Our society would say that a loving God would never put His children in harm's way….well I beg to differ. Y.E.S. He would. As I read through this section of the book where Platt talked about how we are sheep sent out among wolves, my eyes were opened big time. Why would Jesus send His sheep into a pack of wolves? Why would He send us amongst evil…vicious people, and that be His design? To further the gospel. I read example after example of men and women being killed on the mission field…giving up their lives to just share with a people group that had never heard. It was worth the risk for them. We like to think of God's will as a comfortable place…and if there is no conflict…no tragedy…no cost…no problems, then it's for sure God's will…right? No…just the opposite…there will be conflict…tragedy…we may pay dearly…there will be road blocks, because He told us there would be. Sheep among wolves isn't safe…nope, not at all…so why do we expect our Christian life to be?

I liked to be liked. I want people that I am around to like who I am…I surely don't want someone to dislike me. Hold the phone people…I'm about to drop a bomb…the bible says we will be hated…disliked…people will stab us in the back…mock us, if we become like Jesus. We will be hated because He himself was hated. I loved the quote on page167 "to everyone wanting a safe, untroubled, comfortable, life free from danger, stay away from Jesus". It's so true when I read this, and then I think…am I hated…uncomfortable…troubled…in danger?? No…No…No…and No. Hmm…well let's see what conclusion I came up with. It seems to be that I am not enough like Jesus, because if I was then those things would be prevalent in my life. Why am I not hated? Do I conform to the people around me? Why am I not in danger? These are all questions I have been wrestling with…studying through…figuring out. Lord, help me to wade through these waters and examine my life for what it is.

"Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all things. But in the end, such risks find it's reward in Christ. And He is more than enough for us."

I am taking steps, yes, I really am. I am letting go of some fears…my husband will board a plane in the next year to a place that scares me…to do something that I believe God laid on my heart years ago…and I know…it's worth the risk!

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

I'm joining in the Radical Read Along over at www.MarlaTaviano.com. Come on over...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

We are His plan…Radical Chapter 7

I can't believe we are already on Chapter 7 of our Radical journey. As I ventured into this chapter, I wasn't sure what to think. I have been warned about other chapters…wrestled through my feelings about things that Platt has brought to light and fought through wanting to throw this book across the room at times or bury my head in the sand. This chapter was different for me to start off with. I agree with everything Platt said and these are truths that I have learned for years, so there was no wrestling with what he wrote per say…but it brought to light some critical things for me.

The question posed in this chapter is what happens to someone who dies never having heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some people believe that we will all be in heaven…some believe that those who don't ever hear the gospel will just "get to go in"….this chapter breaks down the truth behind the scriptures so clearly…and it reveals that yes..Hell is real, that real people will go to this real place, and that we are His plan…and there is no plan b.

We struggle to believe that a loving God would send people to hell, but if we are being fair…that's what we all deserve. You see we fail to see that we are all evil…that we deserve God's wrath and that it is only by His grace that He holds that wrath at bay. God is loving, but He is just. We all know of God…we all reject God…we are all guilty before Him…we are condemned if we reject Him…God has made a way of salvation…people can't come to God apart from faith in Christ…and the last truth is that Christ's church is commanded to take the gospel to all people. That's where I want to sit for a bit.

As I read this chapter and heard about the 4.6 billion people that have NEVER heard the gospel of Christ and that it is our job to take the gospel to them. I loved the verse in Romans 10 where Paul quoted a verse from the book of Joel:

"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of who they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?"

God sends His servants ->His servants preach->People Hear->Hearers Believe->Believers call->Everyone who calls is saved….that's the simple plan of taking the gospel to those 4.6 billion people and the only way that plan gets messed up is at the beginning…when servants of God don't preach the gospel to all peoples. We are the plan of God…and there is no plan B. So what do I do with that? This is God's will for me…bottom line, to share the gospel. I sat there and thought about how blessed we are…why are we (people here in America…affluent countries) the ones who hold the Truth in our hands? And if we are the ones that hold this truth in our hands…why are we wasting our time on this American Dream? Why am I concerned with the things I am. People are lost and dying…going to hell never hearing the name of Jesus…because I won't go. Because you won't go.

I loved the story Platt told about the man who went to minister to a group of people that were completely unreached…unengaged. They were kind to him and invited him in to have a drink. The man went into his shop and got a drink and came out with a classic red Coke can. It hit him immediately that a soft drink company here in Atlanta had done a better job getting brown sugar water to those unreached people than the church of Jesus Christ has done in getting the gospel to them. 4.6 billion…an astounding number. May I never forget that I am His plan….here am I…send me!