Thursday, April 30, 2015

I'm Waiting

I like to do things fast. I like to drive fast. I often find it difficult to stay under the posted speed limit on an open road, so cruise control helps keep me legal. I prefer to walk fast –no slowly strolling through the mall for me. If I have to be at mall, it’s because I’m on a specific mission. Let’s get where we’re going, get it done, and get out. I read fast. I type fast. And in spite of being from Texas where we’re supposed to talk in a slow drawl, I generally speak fast. Have you ever been on DiveBomb Alley, the huge swing at Six Flags that lets you fall at about 80 mph? Swinging fast is fabulous! You know one thing that it is impossible to do fast? Waiting.

I love that quick line in The Princess Bride when Vizzini exclaims, "I'm waiting!" It drives me crazy to have to wait. It might be waiting in traffic that is not moving at all; waiting in a doctor's office way past the time for my appointment; waiting for my tax refund when it should have arrived weeks ago; waiting on my computer while that irritating rainbow wheel spins incessantly; waiting for someone to return a phone call or an email; waiting to see where God is leading us next; waiting for healing, for provision, for deliverance, for a word from God --- we all have to wait for something. Maybe you are better at waiting than I am, but I suspect most of us have some degree of difficulty with waiting.

The Bible verse that I have been meditating on and reciting to myself lately is "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord" (Psalm 27:14 NIV). Sometimes we may feel like God is so slow in moving and that we have been waiting so long for Him to move, to speak, to heal, to bless, to deliver, to reveal…but “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you…” (2 Pet 3:9 NIV). Learning to wait…learning to be patient…learning to wait patiently is part of our being conformed to the character of our God. Some have to wait longer than others. Abraham waited a very long time, but he finally received what God had promised him “after waiting patiently” (Heb 6:15 NIV). It could be a long wait. It could require a great deal of patience.

So, whatever it is that you’re waiting for, take time today to be still, to be calm, to sit in the presence of Lord, and let's remind each other to Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Today was my last opportunity (at least for awhile) to have the luxury of going to this beautiful park for an extended quiet time for prayer and reflection because I am starting a job tomorrow. It’s only a temporary office job, but it will help us with finances while I’m searching for a ministry position. I am very grateful to have this job….but at the same time, I’m a little sad because it is the end of this gift of time to spend in the Word and prayer. It makes me grateful, rather than resentful, for the months I’ve been off work and able to spend hours reading, reflecting, writing, and praying.
Henri Nouwen said, “Gratitude is more than an occasional ‘thanks be to God.’ Gratitude is the attitude that enables us to let go of anger, receive the hidden gifts of those we want to serve, and make these gifts visible to the community as a source of celebration. Gratitude is at the heart of celebration and ministry.”[1]
Habakkuk wrote, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” (Hab 3:17-18 NLT). 
I spent this morning in the beautiful Colorado scenery writing this list of just a few of the things I am thankful for.
  1. Even though I am still eager to get back into full-time ministry, I am thankful for the time of rest and the time I have had for family and to pray, read, and write.
  2. Even though there were some difficulties in my last ministry position, I am extremely grateful for that time because I was blessed with amazing, life-long friends while I was there, and for each Sunday I had the absolute privilege of leading others to worship and praise Jesus while I was there.
  3. Even though I am still in the process of asking, seeking, and knocking on various doors (Matt 7:7), I am thankful for every shut door and every “no” because it is all contributes to guiding me along the path to where God will have a “yes.”
  4. I am very thankful for the opportunity to serve and lead worship for a church plant in far north Denver on Sunday evenings and the new friends I have met there.
  5. I am very grateful for the gift of music and of song. I am so glad that God gave us this incredible gift that we can use to express our worship, adoration, and praise of Him. It is such a blessing to sing to the Lord (Ps 30:4).
  6. I am thankful that we took the leap to move from my home state of Texas to Colorado. It is such a beautiful place filled with awesome displays of God’s creation and handiwork (Ps 19:1-4).
  7. I am thankful for all the friends and family God has blessed me with who offer up prayers and very kind words of encouragement to me. And being several states removed from many of them, I am thankful for technology that allows us to still communicate and stay in contact with each other.
  8. I am thankful that I have a Bible that I can read so that I can hear from God. I am thankful that it is not just a book, but something living and active (Heb 4:12). God always has a word to speak into my circumstances, or words that reflect my heart and my prayers.
  9. I am thankful for prayer and the ability we have to boldly go into the throne room of God, with the knowledge that He will give us grace and mercy (Heb 4:14-16). I am thankful that we have the Spirit to intercede for us and to interpret our jumbled thoughts and words when we don’t really know quite what to pray (Rom 8:26).
  10. I am so very thankful that God sees worth in the seemingly worthless and He paid such a high price for us (1 Pet 1:18-19). I am thankful that the Creator was willing to sacrifice Himself to redeem His creation (Ps 8:4).  

[1] Henri Nowen, Michael J. Christensen, and Rebecca J. Laird.  Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit. New York: HarperCollins, 2010.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sharing a Great Treasure

We live in a very rich country. Many of us may struggle to pay our bills at times, but we are blessed to have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food on our plates every day. You may not think about it much, but we have another treasure here that is very rare in other parts of the world.

How many Bibles to do you have in your house? If you’re like me, you might have a study Bible that you use most of the time, a smaller one you can take with you, and maybe several others in different translations --we have NIV, NLT, ESV, HCSB, study Bibles, chronological bibles, archaeological Bibles, application Bibles, apologetics Bibles, children’s Bibles, etc. We can even go to websites like and instantly read the Bible in 42 different translations –and that is just in English!

With so many to choose from, I tend to forget that having even one copy of the Scriptures in my hands so that I can read it any time I want to is a luxury. LifeWay Christians Stores are currently collecting Bibles to send to people in China who have never been able to own their own copy. Watch this video that talks about the desperate need for copies of the Word of God in China.

In the video, they speak about seeing the joy in the faces of the people when they hold their own copy of the Bible for the very first time. I am very thankful that I cannot remember the first time I held and read a Bible because I have always had one – or many of them. Please consider visiting a LifeWay store and purchasing one or more Bibles for only $5 each to be sent to someone in China who needs it. This is a great opportunity to bless people in China with their very own copy of God's Word.

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path…Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight…I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure (Ps 119:105, 111, 162 NLT).

Let's work together to share this great treasure.  

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Mile Markers

What tangible things do you have that remind you of a meaningful event in your life? Maybe it's a photo album of your wedding. Maybe it's a very significant letter or email that someone sent you to encourage you. We all keep some sort of reminders to keep certain events real and fresh in our memory. 
God has always given certain mile markers to His people to help them remember. He had the Israelites write things down (Ex 17:14), learn songs (Deut 31:19), wear special tassels (Num 15:39), erect altars (Josh 4:4-7), and observe special feasts (Ex 12). He gave us the Lord’s Supper so that every time we share in it, we remember that Jesus died for us, rose again, and is coming again. He gave us baptism so that we can always go back to a physical event when we were buried with Christ and born again into His family.
I will confess that I have been struggling recently with a certain mile marker that I am very privileged to have. I even found myself almost wishing it never happened –that maybe it was a mistake. But none of this thinking can change the fact that this mile marker was set up, it happened, and it marks who I am. No one can change it, wish it didn’t happen, or make it disappear. I have audio and video recordings, photographs, and a signed certificate as physical reminders of it so I know it was real and I can always go back to revisit it.
I was ordained as a Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ last June. Unfortunately, this important mile marker was quickly followed up by the ending of a ministry assignment when we moved to Colorado. That change has now been followed up by nearly six months of frustration, discouragement, and lots of "no" while trying to discern where God has planned for me to serve Him in ministry here. So I started thinking that maybe being ordained was a mistake. Maybe it should never have happened. It was supposed to be a mile marker, not a dead-end sign. Or maybe it was a gift to help solidify what I have been called to, to give me strength in the wilderness -- a gift given at just the right time. 
If I did not have this mile marker to look back on, it would be so much easier to just quit, to give up in the midst of my frustration and travel a different pathway –to just forget the past few years ever happened and go back to an office job and just attend church on Sundays. It would be so much easier. But the fact is, this mile marker did happen. I was ordained into ministry – I have been set apart for service to God. This stake was driven into the ground at just the right time so that in my time of frustration and discouragement, I would have it to look back on in order to help me remember who I am and what I am called and set apart to be.
Thank you so much to all who participated in or were present for the ordination service --to all who made this mile marker possible. Yesterday, I went back to that mile marker. I listened to the recording of the charge into ministry that was given to me, and I was reminded of a few things:
  • “God’s timing is always perfect…You have been called by God”
  • There will be seasons of fatigue, weariness, and discouragement, but keep your focus on the goal. Go back to the day you were officially set apart. Listen to the charge and to the words of encouragement.
  • “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal 6:9 NIV).
  • “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor 15:58 NIV).
  • You are not here by accident – it is all part of God’s grand design. God orchestrates events we don’t understand.
  • Remember today, June 8, 2014, the day you were officially set apart as a Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I hope that this can be a call for all of us to look back on our mile markers to remember who we are and whose we are, and to know that God has created each of us to do good things for Him, things He has planned long ago (Eph 2:10), whether or not we can see them right now. 

Please keep me in your prayers as I continue to pray, knock on doors, ask, and search for what God’s plan for me in Colorado is. Pray that I will stay strong and courageous and not give up, and please let me know if there is any way I can pray for you and for your faithfulness to the mission to which God has called you.