Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Odd things that I like:

-sappy chick flicks
-rainy days
-when the phone doesn't ring
-being alone
-hating cheese
-the Weather Channel
-Barry Manilow (yep, I really do!)
-Free Credit commercials
-conflict resolution at any cost
-taking a book with me when I leave the house-always
-women planting churches (happens all over the globe where no one has told them they can't!)
-to-do lists
-killing sacred cows (LOVE it!!)
-destroying stereotypes (yes, it's spelled right and it is the best blog out there!)
-Johnny Depp (because he dares to exist outside the box)
-telling people the truth
-a gotta shoot for something
-talking to old people (they are a hidden treasure)
-not reading blogs that are just diaries or brag sheets

Life is so great and so worth the trouble. I like being me and being a little odd...what makes you odd??? Find out and love yourself for it!


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Restaurants and Churches

This past Friday, my husband, a prince among men, took me away for the weekend to celebrate my birthday. We went to dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House and, if you have never dined there, you should make it a priority. This restaurant has long been known for its’ unmatched preparation of some of the finest beef to cross your lips and for its’ incredible service to its’ guests. While I was considering the amazing dining experience I was having, I was asking myself, as is my habit, what the church could learn from this. The wait staff there is careful to explain who Ruth Fertel was and what makes her establishment exceptional and, as our waiter, Julian, was talking, I made these observations.

Any good business is careful to train their staff by “indoctrinating them”, if you will, with the philosophy of its creator. All employees of Emeril's, for example, have been “Emerilized” with the beliefs and convictions of Emeril Lagasse. He, the creator of his restaurant, wants his patrons to be treated a certain way and to be given a dining experience that is unforgettable. It was just that way at Ruth’s Chris on Friday night—an indelible mark was made on me and I walked away from there not only supremely fed, but with a sense that I had somehow been touched by Ruth Fertel and what was important to her.

Many people serve others because they love people and serving them brings pleasure. This is, by definition, simple philanthropy and, while it may be deemed noble and sublime by the average Oprah viewer, it won’t get you very far. Oswald Chambers puts it succinctly this way, “If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and broken-hearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love to God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men.”

So what is my point? Those who take care of you in a fine establishment like Ruth’s Chris or Emeril’s are allowed to be there because they have been identified with the creator of the establishment and they are trained to leave the creators mark on every guest. What would the church look like if we all understood the heart of the Creator of the church and we acted on His behalf in every interaction with the unbelieving world? What if we were motivated only by the love of the Creator for His creation and we left, not our own interpretive mark, but His mark on every person we served? What if we allowed ourselves to become background, like the wait staff dressed all in black and white, and only His best was evident to those we serve, and they walked away impressed and changed, not by our service but by the touch and the vision of the Creator? Certainly the church, and all she touched, would never be the same.


Saturday, April 12, 2008


I think we would all agree that we use numbers to assign amounts to things. It is an elementary fact that we learn when we are very young. The number of dollars in your wallet is equal to how much money you are carrying around. The number of children you have is equal to the amount of time you (or your wife, if you are a man) spent going to the bathroom during pregnancy. The number of degrees on your wall is equal to how much time and money it took and the amount of sleep you lost to acquire those nicely framed pieces of paper. The only exception to this rule is that the number of shoes in your closet is actually in direct proportion to your gender (If you have more than three pair of shoes—you are either a woman or you are a man deeply in touch with your feminine side). Actually that exception also applies to the amount of toilet paper you use in a week, but that is another blog entirely.

I said all of this to say that today I am 40 years old. Even as I write these sentences, it feels like an introduction of myself to a support group. “Welcome to Forty-Something Anonymous…please go around the circle and state your first name and how long you have been over thirty-nine.” As I presume most people do, I have given this recent change in my life some thought and, as I know you are dying to get a peek into the deep, dark recesses of my private thoughts, I have decided to share.

I don’t think that the number of years you have been on the earth is really about age or your nearness to buying the proverbial farm or pushing up the proverbial daisies. I think the number of years you have lived should be quantified by the difference you have made in the little world in which you live and how much pleasure it has given your Heavenly Father. Each year that we are given is, in reality, a 365 day opportunity to live a life of radical obedience to the King of Kings. So I ask myself, “Have I done that? Have I thrown myself head-first, with abandon, into the deep waters of following the only One who can love me like I desperately want to be loved?” Perhaps you are not 40 yet. Maybe you are agonizing over turning 25 (if so, someone should smack you in the head!) or maybe you have seen well over four decades and you think someone should smack me in the head. In any case, I challenge you to set aside some time once a year or so and take inventory. We get so busy “doing” things for God (or for ourselves) and we forget that we are not human doings, we are human beings. I desire to “be” so much more than I “do”. I can’t wait to see how much pleasure I can bring to my Father in the next 40 years ! Happy birthday to me!!


Monday, April 7, 2008

For Those Who Dare to Dream...Part 2

If you are contemplating your big dream or maybe just another dream in a succession of “God dreams”, then consider this:

Your dream lies in the direction of an overwhelming obstacle. If you go toward it today,
you will bring God honor. And you will experience a life marked by miracles as God inter-
venes on your behalf.”

This is an excerpt from Bruce Wilkinson’s book The Dream Giver. If you are considering a big launch in the direction of your dream, I strongly recommend this book to you. I read this little book five years ago at the time of death of one of our big dreams. It was a crucial time as I considered the cost of the launch while I swam about in the deep waters where my boat had sunk. But land was a short swim away and another launch towards another dream was just around the corner. Life is like that if you dare to trust His plan and you believe that your destiny lies in the palm of His hand.
Dwight L. Moody was one of the biggest risk-takers of the nineteenth century and this was written about him by his own son:

It may be safely said that in the beginning of all his greatest and most successful efforts he
stood alone, acting against the advice of those best able, apparently, to judge of the matter-
with the one exception of his most valued human advisor…his wife.

This is not to say that Godly counsel is to be disregarded. On the contrary, you must take such counsel to your place of meeting with God and allow Him to show you truth. But once you have heard from God, my friend, then run towards your dream and trust that He will see you through. There is just nothing like it! On your mark, get set…..GO!!


Sunday, April 6, 2008

For Those Who Dare to Dream...

I must tell you that lately I have been investing much of my private thoughts in the arena of dreams. More specifically, my dreams, but also about this whole process of realizing the big dreams that our big God gives to His children. I have a Bill Johnson quote on my desk that I read every day: “Why would anyone want to get up in the morning and not shape the course of world history?” I love that!! I love it because I know that this happens even when we are obeying God in the seemingly mundane tasks of life. Even there we are changing the course of history through our obedience to Him in the routine moments of our lives.
But there are also seasons of radical obedience, or at least that is how some would see it. You know those times, when God asks you to do something that will cause those around you to scratch their heads and say, “You are going to do what??!” I am sure there must be something wrong with me, but I LOVE the deep waters because it is there that I see God do what He will never do in the safety of ankle-deep. What has always bothered me is the inevitability of being misunderstood by those that you love. This rips me up. It hurts to have friends look at you and call you a flake or ask you when you will ever be really happy and just “stay put”. God has taught me that His pleasure over our acts of obedience way outshines the dark clouds of misunderstanding and that being misunderstood is inevitable when we launch out into deep waters.
So what about your horizon? Any deep waters just up ahead for you? My next blog will give you courage to just launch out!


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Another Nod to Books

I know, I know...I'm repeating myself, but honestly, aren't some things worth repeating? So, where have I been lately? Spring Break, of course. I took some time off of work while school was out and, yes, I will admit it, I have been reading. I read a book by Dave Barry (one of my favorite humorists) called A History of the Millennium So Far. Very funny! I also read a biographical work by Nicholas Wapshott called Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: a Political Marriage. This was a great book that highlighted their political and personal friendships. If you never take time to read biographies, you are missing out. I know we all have our personal preferences where books are concerned, but biographies open up a whole new world of experience and thought. They make how I view others more three-dimensional and full-color. I enjoy reading teaching books and I love the way they stretch my mind and my perspective, but sometimes I just need a good piece of fiction or a biography to “cleanse the intellectual pallet”. You will be surprised by how much better your own writing (even if only blogging)will become when you fill your spare time with quality books. If I sound like a broken record, then forgive me…and go grab a book!