Supernatural God

Image

Sometimes I think about how a pessimist sees the negatives of life, an optimist sees the opportunities in life. I think about how the good things are still happening, but maybe for that “glass-half-full” person it’s just not there. They can’t see it, so therefore they don’t think it’s there.

It seems crazy to believe in a supernatural God in a factual, logistical world. Many don’t see things as miracles- they see coincidence or cause-and-effect. Many don’t think science or logic and belief in a supernatural God can occur together. (I’m not saying factual people are pessimists or that people with faith in God are optimists… I’m just pondering how if we allow ourselves to slow down and look around, we’ll see all the little miracles happening around us.) {Tweet This!}

My dad’s successful surgery may look like to his oncologist that it was one of many possible outcomes. A good outcome. But when I look at my written down prayers for my dad’s body, cells, digestion, rest, comfort— and how they were answered word-for-word as God promised… I see a miracle. A miracle using the very medicine and science God created.

When I started praying to open my eyes to all the miracles happening around me every day… I started becoming more grateful. And it was like a snowball effect. I started thanking and then writing them down one-by-one. Then I started praying more boldly. My faith was stretched even in the really hard stuff. But I still prayed really boldly. And God always came through!

The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior; thou saved me from violence. I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. 2 Samuel 22:3-4

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
    my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
    my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
    in your name I will lift up my hands. Psalm 63

Make Time

Image

Are you busy most of your days and then you find your free time is either work related, or doing all the things you didn’t have time to do while the work week was going on?

I do. It’s probably not the best idea. Don’t you think? I mean I spend my day off cleaning the house, or sometimes even doing stuff for work. (slap on wrist!!)

God wants us to rest in Him. We need to have time to unwind so our minds can focus clearly on the bigger picture of this short life.

Try to remember one thing that makes you happy that you haven’t done in a long time- and go DO it! Maybe it’s sitting to read a good book. If you’re like me, maybe you need to face a wall while you read with earbuds in so you won’t see the dirty apartment in the background! {Tweet This!}

  • Take a walk at the nature preservation (yes Midland has one! Thanks Benjamin!)
  • Fly a Kite
  • Swing at the park
  • Bake
  • Read a book
  • Play a board game with your spouse, kids, or friends
  • Schedule a movie night with your friends and make popcorn or bingo cards (make a game of it!)
  • Paint a picture
  • Listen to music
  • Look at the shapes in clouds
  • Take a nap
  • Write a song
  • Go for a jog to clear your head
  • Take a swim
  • Go to the museum
  • Go listen to a spoken word or poetry competition
  • (Crashed on the couch watching TV doesn’t count as rejuvenating your soul!)

Give yourself a few hours to do that thing that rejuvenates you– and put the to-do list aside! Make a promise to yourself you won’t look at it.

Meditate on God and all the things he’s done this year. Our Celebrations-jar (from earlier this year) is still going strong- and getting really full! It may be a series of jars because God is always at work in our lives! We tend to be in a better frame of mind to spend time with others, go to work, and even do our daily tasks if we have put our whole existence into perspective! And that perspective is that God is mightily at work– even when we cannot see– running interference for us, as my friend Robert from Our Savior’s would say.

The Pinterest and Selfies Age

Image

how-to-take-spectacular-selfie-ftr

I was convicted about something really tough recently. I was browsing through the Pinterest boards I’d created and it hit me.

Not only was it wasting precious time (a LOT of time…) but it was also a giant case of the gimme-gimmies.

If you’re a Pinterest user at all, you’ll realize quickly that the pins aren’t really bad… it’s the way they’re being used that can become a negative thing. For instance on a pin of a material item in the description we’ve all been writing things like, “I WANT” or “I NEED THIS”, “Gimme-gimme-gimme”.

I was feeling really convicted so several months ago I did a clean sweep of my Pinterest activity– naming each board with what I knew about God and His word pertaining to that category. Maybe to you that sounds doofy. But I needed to do it. It helps me use Pinterest less, and when I do use it, it helps me choose mostly inspirational, how-to’s, money-saving, or scripture pins. I’m not there yet, but I desire to convert all my social media to either lift others up or to not use it at all.

I used to take a lot of selfies or write facebook posts without thinking first. Then it hit me one day, am I using facebook/twitter/instagram as a platform? If so, what kind?

I read an article a while back about posting to social media. It asked the reader to examine their motive behind a post. Is it to cut someone down? Is it to promote yourself/set yourself up high? Is it seeking approval? That last one was an ‘ouch’ for me.

When I’m tempted to post at the end of a long, draining day (we all know that’s a disaster waiting to happen) I try to ask myself “why” before I post. As a twenty-something who has every form of social media available it’s really easy for me to get wrapped up. I knew I had a problem when my sense of humor shifted to speaking in status updates in my head. (I know, laugh away.) I had created a monster. I said Heaven help me. Literally. Christ in me– purge this gimme-gimme-pinning-monster and selfie-taking-narcissist! Take away the snarkmonster. Make her new.

If I use any social media as a platform, my prayer is that it’s to lift up the broken hearted, encourage the discouraged, and shout Christ’s name to those who don’t know Him. {Tweet this!}

“Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless.” 1 Samuel 12:21

“Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman? Or an image that teaches lies? For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.”  Habakkuk 2:18

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Speak Life

b71c62489283f4796ff7aaca18e320ec

It seems like I always brush right by passages I think I’m doing okay on. But I bet if we all analyzed our days we’d realize we fall a bit short.

What if all Christians took a challenge today- to see each person as a story? A story that has good parts and really painful parts. What if we saw each person and then tried to imagine their hurt? What if we realized our words have the ability to either speak life or death into their soul?

Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
    and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

Let’s choose to breathe life into people. God breathed life into our lungs when he created us. Because of Him we see green growth in the ground or babies being born- new life is all around us! A kind word is like sweet desert rain on a soul. One word of heartfelt encouragement can turn around a whole life. {Tweet this!}

Let’s be those kind of people who breathe life with our words! Rise up to the challenge!

“Challenge accepted!” What a fantastic idea!

Image

Thanks, Suzanne from http://tattooedmissionary.wordpress.com and my good friend from college. She’s starting a chain-writing. nomination-based writing competition. I loved my time studying and being hall-mates with Suzanne. She always challenged me in my faith and has pretty awesome tattoos too. That’s what I love about her. Always blowing up the boxes we as Christians try to put around God. She just loves God and loves people. She encouraged me to apply for an internship I never thought I could do, with extroverts running all over the place. It ended up being the best two summers of my life! Maybe soon I’ll finally get my “soli deo gloria” inscibed on my forearm to tell all WHOSE I am because of her influence.
I have some pretty awesome friends who blog, + then some bloggers who’ve turned friends. Other leaders, people who used to mentor me, do still mentor me, or people I’ve come to know because they write about things we have in common.
It doesn’t matter how often we write or keep up with our blogs. Because each person I’m nominating has a statement of faith bigger than the internet. Maybe this will encourage some of us with smaller blogs (like mee!) to continue shouting Jesus’ name from the rooftops!

The rules to play:

  • Thank the blogger who gave it to you.
  • Answer the 11 questions they ask you.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers with less than 500 followers.
  • Ask those 11 bloggers 11 questions.
  • Let those bloggers know they’ve been nominated so they can continue the chain!

Suzanne the TattooedMissionary’s questions (& my answers):

  • What three words would you NOT use to describe yourself?
    Complacent, Shy, Adrenaline-junkie (sorry if that’s not one word.)
  • What would thirteen-year-old you find surprising about your life right now?
    Um everything. The fact that I actually talk now, that I lead people several times a week to worship God… and on a guitar to boot. Also that I have pink hair.
  • If you could go back to school (for free!!), would you? What would you study?
    Oh gosh. Pre-seminary with a counseling or outreach focus.
  • In a movie of your life, who would portray you?
    Sandra Bullock. Hands down, didn’t have to think about it. Next!!
  • If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it include?
    Chipotle veggie burrito bowl with extra sour cream and gauc.
  • If you had to play Never Have I Ever (a game where each player says something they’ve never done and everyone else who has done that thing loses a point) with three celebrities, who would they be?
    Definitely Jimmy Fallon, Jim Gaffigan, and Anthony Mackie from Captain America. “Yall gon’ make me unleash the falcon!” I want to BUST a gut laughing.
  • What are your three favorite things about yourself?
    My strange humor (I think I’m hilarious). The musical skills God gave me. The tender heart God instilled in me.
  • What is your movie version of comfort food?
    A tie between The Proposal and Pitch Perfect.
  • What’s the last thing you did that really scared you?
    Confronted a friend about something. I may or may not have worn an adult diaper during.
  • What’s the next thing you’ll do that really scares you?
    I can’t say yet– but I think it’s a job– coming to the theaters of my life this July! *Soon to be updated post*
  • What’s your dream job?
    Serving the local church with a huge emphasis in feeding the hungry + sending-out young, eager-folk like me on missions. 😉 ————————————————————————————————Okay bloggers-extraordinaire- These are my:
    Questions for YOU!
  • If you could do or be a cause and money was no issue- what would it be?
  • What do you wish people would say about you after they spent any length of time with you?
  • Try to place your very first memory from childhood. What was it?
  • What are 10 questions/advice you’d write to your 16-year old self?
  • If tomorrow you woke up with no-to-do list, what would you do?
  • What Bible verse are you clinging to right now?
  • If you were a superhero what would your superpower be?
  • What are the 3 top books you’ve read?
  • ^ … and why?
  • When was the last time you were nervous?
  • John 16:33 says, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
    Name at least one thing you’ve overcome in your life thanks to Christ.

So let’s do this! (in no particular order because you’re all that awesome!!)

1. http://courtneyraerobinson.blogspot.com – friend + coworker from Fourth Pres. She is a beautiful, Jesus-loving talented artist.

2. http://thehesaidshesaidexperience.com/ – my fun-loving soon-to-be-parents friends, Kari & RJ blog together on all the arts, food, and entertainment you could want!

3. http://passionfortheordinary.wordpress.com – an awesome cousin of Jonathan’s and sister in Christ writes about the ordinary and how she feels the heartbeat of God through it all.

4. http://williamattaway.com – Um so my first official church job’s pastor, William taught me a lot of what I know and turned me into an avid reader. He also just wrote a book called Lead- Leadership Lessons From The (Not so) Minor Prophets! Miss that place every day.

5. http://baldworshipguy.com/about/ – Darren Brown, one of the most Jesus-like people I have met in my life. Mentored my husband at Burke Community Church and was his direct supervisor. He and his family have been so good to us in the past and secretly wish they’d move back to Texas so we can hang out.

6. http://makeusnew.wordpress.com/about/ – My good friends and supervisor from Southview– Andy and Krissy. Lead worship with them and learned a lot from them. Loved their little babies (not so little now :(..) to death! Can’t wait to see more of what God does in and through them.

7. http://theycallherblessed.com – My good friend from Southview Jenn is a superhero. Superhuman. She works full time, is married with one precious son and another on the way… all the while finding time to blog about what God’s teaching her. Her awesome hubbs Alex drummed for us in band- and was also superhuman. So naturally their sons will be superhuman too.

8. http://denningham.com/wp/ – Mi padre Chuck. He loves passing on thought from God’s word, good sermons, Bible passages, and LOTS of music. He was never afraid to talk about his faith with me as a kiddo. Every morning when I rose to get breakfast he was already gone, but the pages of his old Ryrie study Bible were still warm on the table and the music still going. A faithful worker, provider, and lover of God. I love him a whole bunch and can’t talk about how I live 2,000 miles away.

9. http://christmycovenant.com/?page_id=2 – My parents’ awesome Pastor friend Moe Bergeron. He thought the internet was cool way before it was. And he used it to promote Jesus Christ & share the gospel- be the gospel should be free, and easily accessible! I looked up Sovereign Grace Fellowship in 2008 with the help of my mentor, Dr. Taylor Ferranti and promptly referred my parents to go check it out. They have been attending there and hugging granmas and kissing babies ever since. Moe is a dear friend of their’s. he’s also at http://www.moebergeron.com

10. http://becominghismrsblog.wordpress.com/about-2/ – Laura Gabbert was a colleague of Jonathan’s in college and when he + I started dating, I got to know her. She’s really awesome, and talented. She is on the road to learning more and more about the Proverbs 31 woman and shares it with all through her adorable, well-designed blog. Check it out! She’ll bless you!

11. http://isingbecauseimfree.wordpress.com – Julie Harris from Charlottesville, VA is a mom, wife, and worship Pastor! Which I think is pretty darned awesome. We’ve never met, although I used to live in Reston, VA. We found each other’s blogs as fellow female worship pastors and leaders. We’ve shared comments and encouragement. Her music is a blessing in a way mine could never be, because she writes all her own music! Beautiful. Check her out.

Happy blogging!

It’s not a prank!

20140601-000427-267232.jpg

In his book, Love Does: Bob Goff charms many with his story of being like a “yes-man” for God. He just doesn’t say NO!
Like the story of Joseph in Genesis- Bob points out we should all be daring enough to accept God’s calling on our lives even if we feel like that unlikely person: a boy sold into slavery, a baby put in a basket in a river to escape death, a shepherd boy facing a giant with a sling shot.
Bob talks about an event where he said yes to becoming a diplomat for Uganda when he though he was saying yes to be a lawyer. Oops.
He speaks of those inexplicable times in his life where he ends up loving what God had for him, Ugandan flags flying around his home and on his car bumper.
He says

“So the next time God asks you to do something that is completely inexplicable, something you’re sure is a prank because it requires a decision or courage that is way above your pay grade, something that might even save lives, say yes. You never know- there might be some cool flags in it for you.”{Tweet this!}

Joseph ends the story by saying this about his God,

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20