Monthly Archives: October 2009

Sometimes I think that we miss the miracles in life because we don’t stick around long enough or dive deep enough into people’s lives to see them. This week I was a bystander to literally one of the most amazing miracles that I have ever experienced in ministry. It’s someone else’s personal story, so it’s not my place to share the details, but I feel the need to say that GOD IS AT WORK in the lives of people. We serve a God who performs the miraculous. He heals lives, hearts, bodies. He restores relationships and He redeems the unredeemable. He is ABLE.

Sometimes we look at the middle of the circumstance and frame our view of God. Our human flesh is SO short-sighted. God always shows His awesome power in the end, so if you don’t see the awesomeness of God, it’s only because you’re in the middle. He just isn’t finished yet, so don’t get discouraged in the journey. Live your life with the confidence that God always has the last word.

You may have seen in the news lately about the horrific story of a 15 year old girl who was brutually raped at her homecoming dance by multiple men while 20 others watched, took pictures, laughed, and…most horrificly…didn’t help her. It is truly the worst of humanity on display.

If I could look into the eyes of that young woman, I would tell her a parable about two thieves who broke into a jewelry store, but instead of stealing the jewels they simply switched the price tags. They put high-priced tags on cheap jewelry and low-priced tags on valuable gems. For several weeks no one noticed. People bought cheap jewelry for exorbitant prices and rare jewels for spare change. The point is pretty obvious: sometimes we have difficulty discerning between what is valuable and what is worthless when the price tag says a specific thing.

We especially have difficulty when we look at the price that the world has put on us and it’s of little worth. What happens in your life does not define your worth! Just as the thief didn’t truly change the value of the jewelry, the horror of your past doesn’t change your value. God made you a valuable gem! The good news is this: you have the power to switch the tags back! Reclaim your original value. God never changed His mind about His redeeming love for your life.

Delaney is going through the process of having her hearing tested. She’s failed three tests and basically has severe hearing loss in both ears. Thankfully it seems as though this problem is temporary and there’s a solution. That’s the good news!

It’s been interesting to watch how this has played out. She probably has just a tiny bit of fluid in each ear, but the result has been that she can’t hear her teacher, is struggling to follow directions, was temporarily placed in a special reading group because she couldn’t answer the questions correctly (now we know she just couldn’t hear the instructions!), and is generally considered to be “spacey” because she always seems to be in a world of her own. My intelligent daughter was on the path to learning problems because of a microscopic problem deep in her eardrum.

There’s an interesting similarity in our walk with Christ. The smallest sin can have massive repercussions. What we consider to be insignificant can actually be keeping us from our full potential. We may just be letting something slide, like gossip or complaining, but God doesn’t let that slide. He wants the problem dealt with and progress is put on hold until that is done.

We need to be SERIOUS about quickly solving problems in our spiritual life. I’m not willing to wait one day to get Delaney’s problem fixed. She’s my daughter and I’ll do WHATEVER it takes to get her healthy. What area of your life do you need to take seriously? Don’t wait. Remedy the situation, get your tongue under control, get some dicscipline in your life, whatever it is, but don’t think for a minute that it doesn’t matter.

One broken system can impact an entire body of working systems.

Mark Batterson preached at his church this weekend on tithing. Here is what His blog said yesterday:

Continued our Ritual series this weekend. Talked about a 4000 year-old ritual called tithing that traces all the way back to Abraham. Honestly, I used to hate talking about money. Thought people would think it was a money grab so I was almost defensive about it. But the longer I tithe the more I love talking about it.

We need a paradigm shift. So many people perceive the tithe as an obligation. It’s an opportunity! Yes, Malachi 3 says you are “under a curse” if you are not giving a tenth. But what a promise! God wants to open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing on you that you cannot contain.

Here are a few principles I shared this weekend:

1) God can do more with 90% than I can do with 100%
2) U cannot out give God
3) 2 be blessed beyond your ability u need to give beyond your ability
4) When u start tithing, your financial problems become God’s problem
5) The tithe keeps money from becoming your master
6) Tithing positions u 4 blessing
7) Tithing = Trusting

In my personal experience, tithing makes finances fun. It infuses me with economic optimism because I’m walking in obedience. I live in holy anticipation to see the way God is going to provide!

All of this is second nature to me. Mark and I have given 10% of every paycheck, birthday gift, honorarium, or blessing we’ve ever received in 12 years of marriage. Tithing is just easy these days, even in the midst of being really tight in the last couple of years.

That being said, recently God pushed me in the area of giving. Giving is any money above the 10%. During the winter I work a couple of nights a week at a homeless shelter. It gives our tight pocketbook a little extra breathing room, which is a welcome change. That change didn’t last long. During some of my prayer time I felt God tell me to give a certain amount more in the offering every week. I literally said outloud, “You’re kidding me.” Here is the litany of excuses that went through my brain:

What about the family vacation I want to take?
Wouldn’t it be more responsible to save that money, just in case?
I give plenty of my time to the church for free, doesn’t that count?
The economy is really rough right now, God. Ten percent is fine, isn’t it?
We get paid marginally, God! Can’t you ask someone who is a little more blessed than me?

And then I was reminded that I can’t outgive God. My worries are just flesh, because I BELIEVE the Bible. And therefore, for the last two weeks, I have written the check knowing that God will take care of me and my family. I look forward with great anticipation to what God will do in our lives and in the lives of others. The new bumper sticker on my life is this, “I can’t outgive God, but I’m sure going to try.”

So, my challenge to you is this…just pray about what God would have you give and then do it. No worries!

Church highlights!

I walked into the Great Adventurer’s class today to count, since our beloved usher, Ivan, was out of town. I stopped in my tracks and started crying when I saw my 5 year old helping to lead worship. She’s really shy, so to see her up there was awesome. Thank God for a church that lets my little girl experience serving and leading RIGHT now. I want her to “own” her church, ministry, and her relationship with Jesus.

Rachel Torres was in the highlight video this week talking about her private disciplines. I love that woman. Her discipline of reading her Bible daily has given her a peaceful spirit, wisdom, and a voice in my life. A habit of being in the Word really makes a difference when you look cummulatively at one’s life.

Marcus did an excellent job with worship today. I love his heart and his loyalty to our church family. He is a partner in ministry and in each of our journeys with Jesus.

Helen was back at church this week after surgery. She was in a wheelchair, but she wanted to be with her church family so bad that she went above and beyond the call of duty. We all need to get that spirit in our hearts!

Last week I verbally filed a complaint with Kris while we were at church. I did it out of frustration and have now apologized. Why am I including this in my highlights? Because I was reminded that our unspoken rule at North Creek is not to complain or dive into issues on Sunday mornings. We all get to come and not walk around in fear that the bomb will be dropped in our lives at any minute. It’s been my favorite part of our church and I treasure it. So, no complaining at church. If you see something that needs to be addressed, email or call the appropriate person on another day. Sunday is about loving our church family and Jesus. Back off! Every church should have that rule.

Go on the journey of faith with someone. Sometimes we write people off too quickly when they struggle. If their marriage is going through a rough patch, if they experience a death, if they are questioning or doubting, go through it with them. The reward of seeing God work in their lives is a great one.

Board meeeting tonight. Great people who love Jesus putting their heads together to make sure this ship sails smoothly. Gotta love ’em!

Ahhhh…another week ahead of us to make a little dent in the world. Grab ahold of life with great excitement!