say what?

sitting at the computer, i heard zach laughing and yelling as tali chased him through the house... this is what i overheard next

tali- AAAaaAAAaaAAAAHHHhhHHhhHhhHHHhH!!!!!! [as she catches zach]

zach- oh man, i hate wedgie night.

tali- shoot!

zach- oh well, you can do wedgie night tomorrow.

tali- yeah, since i didn't get your underwear on that one.

they then walked together into their bedroom, sat down, and chatted about whatever was on tv.

as i looked on in utter confusion.



As we drove in to have supper tonight, I clicked off the "Jesus music" in the car and switched over to 89.1 for Jim. The kids were so wound up, that it really wasn't until much later, when we stopped for gas on our way home, that we could even hear anything coming through those little speakers... Suddenly Tali pipes in "Mom, is this a good song?" Listening for a minute I realized that, in fact, it wasn't a great song for the kids and answered her accordingly. "Well, where's our church music then?" I love that Tali and Zach both dig on mommy's Christian music... but am more than aware that at times it rubs a little thin on my man. And as he was currently pumping gas in single digit temperatures, I felt a little compromise was in order.

However, as he climbed back in the truck, she asked again - this time getting specific... "Mommy, can you play number 15?" Aaaah, number 15. That may work. You see my friend Carol accidentally stuck a song on the end of my Third Day cd (technically she gave me a cd intended for someone else I think). She wasn't even aware that she had done so until I mentioned it at a much later date. The song found at number 15 is My Savior, My God by Aaron Shust. It's a song that Roger, Courtney, and Jonathan sing frequently (and beautifully), one that Jim has heard them perform twice now, and one that he really likes.

A glance at him told me that he was okay with the genre change. I start the song and look out the window, praising the Lord that somehow He has managed to carve out this moment for our family. To speak to my hubby through this powerful song. To bring us closer together, and to continually woo us into His will.

And then the chorus hit...
First came Tali's voice, strong and proud. Then I could hear Zach singing with all his might.
And finally, I realized Jim was singing too. Quietly at first, but then building.

At first I could just sit there, still looking out the window, afraid to look at Jim and mess up the moment. I had tears in my eyes and a heart nearly exploding with the beauty of it all. I know, it's just a song... I know it's not that big of a deal to some... But I have never had the joy of hearing my family sing praises to the Lord together before. Not all three of them. Never.

In fact, there was a time that I couldn't even imagine it happening. But I'm not skilled to understand... what God has willed what God has planned.... So I thanked God. I thanked Him and thanked Him and thanked Him...

And then I sang too. And it was a thing of beauty.

My Savior, My God. Aaron Shust
I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned
I only know at His right hand
Stands One who is my Savior

I take Him at His word and deed
Christ died to save me this I read
And in my heart I find a need
For Him to be my Savior

That He would leave His place on high
And come for sinful man to die
You count it strange, so once did I
Before I knew my Savior

My Savior loves, my Savior lives
My Savior's always there for me
My God He was, my God He is
My God He's always gonna be

Yes, living, dying let me bring
My strength, my solace from this spring
That He who lives to be my King
Once died to be my Savior

That He would leave His place on High
And come for sinful men to die
You count it strange so once did I
Before I knew my Savior

My Savior loves, My Savior lives
My Savior's always there for me
My God He was, My God He is,
My God He's always gonna be (x6)

My Savior lives, My Savior loves
My Savior lives, My Savior loves

friday flashback

A good friend of mine suggested I share this story [for many of you- again] as a Friday Flashback. It's a fun story, but one with a point as well, so it seemed like a great idea. Then, this morning our fabulous church secretary called to let me know Tali will be the scripture reader and to provide me with the passage... which, of course, fit perfectly with the already requested story. So there you have it, confirmation that I'm to blog this and proof that God loves to use my own embarassment to His glory.

A couple of years ago someone I love very much was in the midst of the most profound grief one can imagine, and he asked a favor of me- "Could you run to the liquor store and pick up a case of beer"? Uggggggh. I am not judging his desire to have a couple of beers during such a time as this (or any other time for that matter)... I just hate to be seen at the liquor store! No time to argue though, so I hopped in the car and away I went. No big deal.

Until a week later at SonShine Kids. I was the group leader for second and third graders and I loved those kids and I like to think that those kids loved me. We were getting ready to move from one station to the next and I had my group all lined up. The little girl in the front was one of my favorites (I know you aren't supposed to have those, but let's be real here, we all do)... she was from somewhat of a rough home, didn't have much materialistically but had a love for Jesus and the sweetest heart. What happened next is inscribed in my memory to the smallest detail, like a movie.

Looking up at me, with her sweet little voice, she said "I saw you at the liquor store".
"No, honey, I don't think that was me. I don't drink..." I answered with a confused expression on my face.
"Yes, it was you, and you had beer".
This is where that sinking feeling started in my gut. You know that feeling.
"Oh. Oh, honey... yes... that was me. I can't really explain that, but it wasn't for me..." To follow was some stammering and broken explanation that I was doing a favor for a friend. And conviction from the Lord... The World is Watching.

Dear Friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us. [1 Peter 2:11-12]

The world is watching... and God asks us to live our lives in such a way that even if they accuse us of doing wrong the lives we live will testify differently. Someone said recently- the best sermons are LIVED, not preached. So true! Are you living out your sermon?

Now, I have to honestly say, I probably wouldn't have changed going to the liquor store that day. The time and the requestor was such that it was not the appropriate time to argue about a case of beer, he was in the midst of grief at it's rawest form, so who am I? But the lesson in this for me was to always keep in mind that people are watching. If you profess to be a Christian, if you say that you are trying to be more like Jesus, they are watching. What do they see? Of course we are going to fall short of perfection, and there will be times we are "caught in the act"... but overall am I living a life worthy of the call? Am I living up to His command: "Be holy as I am holy"? When the world sees me, do they see a "peculiar" person (well, of course they do! but not THAT kind of peculiar!)? Do they see something different about me? Do they see Jesus?

This is what we are striving for, friends. We should be different. We should respond differently to the trials of this old world. We should behave differently. We should live our lives as aliens and strangers, because this world is not our home! We are called to something much greater... Now let's live like we believe it!!!


With Our Doors

A week or two ago I was perusing our church website. It's recently redesigned and so I was clicking all the links, checking out the spread, when I found a little error... the Sunday School class I teach, Without Walls, was incorrectly listed as "With Our Doors". At first I laughed, because this is a typically Seth typo [no offense, Seth, it's just the truth]... But as I emailed him about it, a hard truth began to settle in. I realized that as much as we as a Body strive for a life without walls... what we usually achieve is a life with our doors.

Doors that we open and close at will. Doors that we use to let people see what we want them to see. Even our best attempts at transparency, when we feel as though we are letting others see the dark side of our thought lives, can be veiled attemps to garner appreciation or affirmation or sympathy. I've done that. I've unloaded on someone and then said "just trying to be transparent"... but I really want them to see how bad I have it or how poorly I've been treated [at least in my own mind]. Ouch.

Instead of living in complete unity as Christ asked us to do, we build denominational walls. Walls of gender. Walls of age. Walls of beliefs. Walls of status. And once we realize the call of Christ and determine to tear down those walls... more often than not we just end up installing more doors. Right? Installing a door to let this group in... but that one is still a little "too fringe" for me. A door to let these people in, but let's keep it shut on those folks that are so "strict" in their beliefs. What about the walls we've built around people who have hurt us? Those within our own church family who have stepped on our toes? What kind of doors to you have installed to let them in on some parts of you, and keep them out of others?

And what about those outside the four walls of our church buildings? What about the lost and dying world we encounter every single day... How many walls do we have built there? How many friends do you have that are non-believers? How do you respond to brothers and sisters in Christ who have walked away from the faith? Jesus had no walls when it came to people... he taught in the synagogue and then ate with sinners. He met the demon-possessed and repentent with the same kind of grace. He still does. Do we?

And worst of all, are the doors we have installed in our relationship with Christ. Do you still have walls built around parts of your heart? Do you still have a door to the world, a place where you can go and visit at will without that pesky Jesus hanging over your shoulder? Hmmm? I do. Have you built a wall of justification around the sins in your life? I have!

I'm going to be transparent here. I don't like writing this right now! And I'm not looking for affirmation or sympathy or any of that. I'm telling you that this revelation has been MIGHTILY convicting for me. I'm not preaching at you friends, He's preaching at me. I've had this nagging thought since I read "with our doors"... and it's taken me at least two weeks to put this post to screen because therein lies the conviction.

I haven't torn down the walls in my life.

I have installed doors.

And I have comforted myself with the thought that with a nice big door- there's LESS wall there.

But there can't be a door without a wall, can there?

I do want to live a life without walls. I want to be transparent, honest, real... I want to get myself out of the way so that Jesus can do His work... in me and in this world. I want to live in unity with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I want to love this lost and dying world with the same passion Christ does. I want to mourn for those who don't know Him. I want to speak to the hearts hardened against Him. But mostly I want more of Him. I want to live FOR HIM. I don't want what this world has for me, because all it has is death and disappointment... but in Christ I find fulfillment and LIFE. Who would want to build a wall around THAT? And with more of Him, friends, the walls will come down. As we seek to become more like Christ we will stop installing doors and instead begin the work of steadily chipping away at the walls.

I am often reminded that one of the last things Christ asked the Father for in the Garden, was that we would live in unity. Why? So that the world would see that and KNOW that Christ was the real deal. And complete unity has no walls. It just can't. We may not get there this side of eternity friends, but Jesus is asking us to try... and the only walls we have control over are the ones we built ourselves. So lets start pecking away and then stand amazed as God moves!!!