Monthly Archives: October 2012

Goofy Foot Revelations

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I learned to snowboard during the huge December snowfall of 1998.  The day I first strapped on a board, there was over two feet of new snow on the slopes and it kept falling hard all day.

Not only my first day snowboarding, it was my first snow experience of any kind.  This girl from the tropics was pretty excited.

I took a group lesson.  At first it was awesome.  Everyone moment was magical.  Then it was frustrating.  I couldn’t stay balanced.  I spent most of my time on my butt (or face).  Snowboarding was hard.  It wasn’t fun.  I was cold.

Then a moment that changed everything: the instructor switched by board around.  “That’s the problem,” he encouraged me. “You’ve been leading with the wrong foot.  You’re a goofy foot!  No wonder you’ve been having a hard time.”

That switch was a game changer.  By the end of my first lesson, I was a skilled “falling leaf” snowboarder.  😉

My joy and success came from one important thing:  Knowing which foot to lead with.

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He moved me to tears.  His words were beautiful truth.

He said something like: The church is a family that is offending each other and forgiving each other. Over and over.

Forgiving each other.  That’s what makes us different.  THAT is our hallmark.

NOT that we are un-offensive.  NOT that we meet or hold others to some level of appropriate behavior.  NOT that we deserve to be loved.

Our cultural identifier is: Our unending forgiveness of each other.

Oh Francis Chan.  Thank you for pointing, once again, to the fullness of God’s Word.

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When I talked to my amazing husband about it, he asked “what about correction?” 

He is right, of course.  If it’s all about forgiveness, when does correction happen?

Correction needs to happen.  Mentors need to speak instruction and guidance.  People need to change.  God’s plan is to transform us towards holiness.

But, isn’t it all a question of which foot we lead with?

If we LEAD with correction and follow with forgiveness, are we truly behaving like God’s people?

In a world of regular-foot riders, God is a goofy foot.

In a world where we give forgiveness only when it is deserved, God gives it liberally while we are still inflicting Him.

“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. ” (Romans 5:6-8 NLT)

To mirror our Father Yahweh, we must LEAD with forgiveness and follow with correction.

Check out Matthew 18:20-22.   Two well-known passages that happen to be right after the other!

For where two or three gather together because they are mine,  I am there among them.
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
“No!” Jesus replied, “seventy times seven!” Matthew 18:20-22

In the midst of our community, God dwells… and forgiveness between humans is needed to the nth degree!

Riding goofy foot made my life better

Snowboarding regular foot was awful.  I was miserable.  I was struggling.  I was failing.  Riding goofy was fun.  My body worked better.  My balance was strong. I stayed on my feet.

How much better will life be if we live with the right leading foot?  Our church families will work better.  Our faith balance will be strong.  We will stay on our feet.

Forgiveness first.  Correction second.

The church is a family that is offending each other and forgiving each other. Over and over.

I have new glasses on:  I am expecting my friends and church family to offend me.  And I am bracing myself to lead with forgiveness.  I will choose it… (Help me Holy Spirit!)

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My community of goofy-footeds

I am now choosing to lean towards those people who ooze forgiveness.  I want to be a groupie that follows forgivers around.  I want to be bubbling with it.  I want my words to be full of grace.  I need to rub shoulders with people who lead with forgiveness.

Thinking again about 1 Cor 13 being a snapshot of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  It’s a passage about the Body of Christ (not marriage / weddings). Read 1 Cor 12 & 14 to see the whole picture.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud  or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

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This post is a response to the “Fellowship” topic in Francis Chan’s “Basics” small group study.

P.S.  I am not talking about abusive situations.  (Abuse is not ok.  Run.  Get help.  Stay away from dangerous people.)

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Escalators

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She has loved them her whole 4-year-old life.  She smiles with pride as she confidently steps on and off.  She giggles as we travel up and down. Up and down and up and down.

Today her world changed.  At the top of the escalator she froze.  Her body gripped with panic and screams.

I don’t know where it came from.  Fear.

She pulled away from my hand.  She backed away with wild eyes.

The only way to get my sweet daughter on the escalator was to pick her up and take her onboard with me.  Then she was happy to be put down and ride to the bottom where she stepped off with no problem.  It seems it’s the beginning that is the problem.  The launch.  The start.  The first step.

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Today’s escalator adventures has me thinking.

How does something loved become something feared?

How do I step onto the escalators of life?  The travelling into new seasons?  The journey to a new level?  The jump into the unknown?

I want to be full of excitement. Not fear.

When fears are born they rob your life. And the Body of Christ. And the world.

I have some praying and reflecting to do.

What areas of my life are being affected by fear?

For I am overwhelmed, and you alone know the way I should turn. (Ps 142:3)
O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. (Ps 62:8)
I command you — be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged.
For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.  (Josh 1:9)

Connect the dots

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She doesn’t know it, but I’m the reason she is going on the adventure of a lifetime.

It’s something I’m noticing more and more about how God uses me:  He uses my life to connect the dots.

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Monkeys watched us from their bamboo scaffolding viewpoints.  A small group of friends were following me as I directed us through the system of narrow dirt streets.  I knew this place but I had never been there before.

I had this dream every night for several weeks.  There were three things that stood out: 1. It was asia. 2. My friend Phil was in the group. 3. I was supposed to go there.

A few weeks later I saw “Beyond Borders,” a movie set in several refugee camps.  Cut to an asian jungle scene.  My heart stopped and my whole body froze.  It was the village from my dream.  Cambodia!

I dove into research about the country, people, language, history and the plight of her refugees.  I randomly started meeting Cambodian people literally everywhere in my city.  A restaurant waitress.  A grocery checker.  A salon team.  A new lady at my church.  I began practicing Khmer phrases with all the Cambodian people I was meeting.  And I set my heart to go!

Opportunity in Cambodia #1: A missionary serving in Cambodia came to our church and I went to a luncheon afterwards and asked him, “Can I come and serve your ministry?”  His answer, “No.”

What?!

Opportunity in Cambodia #2: One of my mentors invited me to join her on a women’s trip to Cambodia. I prayed and considered it and felt I wasn’t supposed to go.

What?!

I called my dad and shared my confusion.  His wise suggestion: Maybe it’s not Cambodia, but refugees that God was putting on my heart.  He connected me with a family friend who was working with refugees on the Thai-Burmese border.

Opportunity NOT in Cambodia: One email to him and it was arranged:  My husband and I were going to Thailand.

In February of 2007, eight of us (yes, including Phil) spent three weeks in on the Thai-Burmese border (plus a couple of hours in Burma) working with refugees and orphans.  We had favor.  We saw things very few people see.  We heard the stories of people who survived being hunted like dogs.  It was an incredible three weeks.  When we left, the door was wide open for us to return for as long as we wanted.  Maybe God was calling us to Thailand full-time?!!

We flew back to the US.  We shared with our church and friends about the trip.  And then, the fire that had been burning in my heart, disappeared.  Gone.

It left me questioning what was wrong with me.  Why had I been so crazy passionate?  Why was that passion suddenly gone?  Had I mis-heared God?  Was I a flake?  Or was I a fake?  What had this Cambodia / Thailand thing been all about??

_ _ _

Some months later I learned something incredible:  The Cambodian scenes in “Beyond Borders” had been shot on the Thai-Burmese border… in the region where we had worked!  Those images from my dream were not Cambodia… they were the exact region of Thailand where we ended up.  Yep.  Our Father God had given me a merciful, loving confirmation of His work in my heart.  The dream had been from Him.  The trip had been from Him.  The reason for it all?  Time would reveal.

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God used my life to connect the dots for someone else’s life.

One of my best friends in the whole world was on that trip to Thailand with us.  Guess what?  She now lives in Thailand, teaching at the orphanage school we visited all those years ago.

Connect the dots.  God gave me a dream about a country I didn’t know.  He knew that I am prone to acting on crazy ideas.  He knew that I would get to that country.  He knew that my friend would come too.  He used me to connect the dots:  Thailand and her life.

This week, a friend of my friend is going to Thailand to work at the orphanage too.  Connect the dots.

Like I said: She doesn’t know it, but I’m the reason she is going on the adventure of a lifetime. She’s going to Thailand because I said yes to a fire God put in my heart six years ago.

Now I have no question why the fire in my heart disappeared when we returned home.  My role in that part of God’s plan was over.

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– Sometimes crazy dreams are from God.

– Sometimes being passionate about something may only be for a season.

– Sometimes God uses us to connect the dots of other lives.

If I could give some wise advice to my younger-self, I would say:  Don’t be confused.  Don’t worry.  It’s not always about you and your life calling.  You asked God to use you.  And He will.  Just not how you expected.

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

Poop Insights

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Proverbs 14v4“I pooped and I feel better.”

Once again, my small child is speaking deep insights to my heart.  Today’s bathroom announcement has made me think about every part of my life.

In life, just like with poop:

– There are things in life that are meant to be temporary.  It’s unwise to hold on to temporary things.  I want to hold on to the right things, and let go of the rest.

– Letting go feels good.  I want to make time each day to purposefully and consciously let go of things and emotions.

– Babies wear diapers and don’t know how to clean themselves.  Mature people don’t sit in their own poop.  I want to be quick to see when I mess up, and be quick to ask for forgiveness.

– It’s not bad to poop.  Everybody does.  I want to always be honest and vulnerable about the process of my life.

– Pretending that one does not poop doesn’t help anyone.  I want to be part of a community that mentors with truth not facade.

An empty stable stays clean, but no income comes from an empty stable. Proverbs 14:4

Got any other poop insights?

Thinking. About my thoughts.

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For a couple of years I worked for an awesome non-profit where I got to create a company-wide marketing, promotion and PR plan.  My days were full of strategic and creative tasks including writing, design and photography. It was one of my favorite jobs.  But my direct superior was focused on building his own reputation.  When my initial marketing proposal was complete, he told me to put his name on it and send copies to the Executive Board.  This became a daily issue.  Everything I did, he put his name on and presented as his own.  I confronted him about it and he was so puzzled by my issue.  He was an old-school businessman.  His response was, “All my secretaries have happily completed the work I assign them so I don’t understand why you are unhappy.”

Oh. He thought I was his secretary.  In actuality, I was an experienced marketing & PR professional with an industry-designed degree from one of the nation’s leading universities.

In his eyes, I was a merely a young girl who could use one-of-those-computer-thingys to type.

It made me mad.  Not his view of me, but the fact he was getting paid almost triple my salary and didn’t seem to do anything.  He was getting the credit and the cash from my hard work.  It was unjust.  It was sucking the life out of me.

I talked it all through with one of my mentors.  I was frustrated and depressed.  I wanted to barge into the CEO’s office and… and… lose my cool… and… say stupid things.  Thankfully, my mentor talked me down with Proverb 16:3.

Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established. (Prov 16:3 NKJV)

She challenged me: Is the Lord my god?  Do I trust Him to be my life shaper?  Am I willing to allow Him to be my defender?  Or am I pushing my timeline and my agenda?  Have I prayed about it all?  Will I commit my works to Him… and trust that He will bring to pass the things that are on my mind?

This story has a pretty good ending.  I did not talk to the CEO.  I prayed about my attitude and I purposed to do my work as if I was working only for God.  About a month later the CEO called me in for a meeting to announce that my supervisor left the company with very short notice.  They were not planning to replace him in the short-term.  They knew I had been doing the work and were happy to have me continue on my own until a long-term staffing plan could be made.  No extra pay but at least I got freedom and credit.  Like I said, a pretty good ending.  Then, a few months later, I received a great offer and left the company.  I wonder if the CEO had paid me what I was worth, if I would have stayed?  I think I might have.  Hmmm, my life would be so different now.  Wow.  I’m glad I was underpaid and took the better offer!

The reason why this story is on my mind:  Today’s SOAP reading schedule has Proverbs 16 for the Old Testament reading.  Ahhh Proverbs 16:3.  Hello old friend.

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. (NLT)
Put God in charge of your work, then what you’ve planned will take place. (The Message)
Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed. (Amp)

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Humans have thoughts.  Some have a LOT of thoughts.  Others have a few.  But everyone has thoughts.  Dreams. Plans. Frustrations. Complaints. Ideas. Thoughts.

So when do thoughts actually happen?  What does it take for an idea to become reality?  For a complaint to produce change?  For a plan to beat the odds?

Consider the weight of this Proverb if we unpack it in reverse:  Your thoughts will happen when you commit your works to the Lord.

Consider the implications of the opposite: Your thoughts will not happen.

Consider the effect on the Body of Christ when God is actively establishing the thoughts of His children.  That’s world-changing.

Consider the effect when He is not establishing our thoughts.  The thought of that void scares me to the core.

We need God to establish our thoughts.  Proverbs 16:3 says the way to get there is by committing our works to Him.

Today I’m looking at myself:

– Do I have thoughts that I am trying to establish myself instead of trusting God?  Are there things that should be taking root but aren’t?!  Is it because my efforts are totally “my” efforts?

– What is the work God has put in front of me to do now?  Have I committed my work to Him?  Am I being faithful with today’s tasks?  Am I serving and trusting Him?

Excuse me if this seems simple.  There are lots of awesome wisdom verses about the Ways of God and the activities of man.  They provide a spectrum of insight that is needed when trying to know our amazing and huge Yahweh.  Proverbs 16:3 is just a speck in the full picture.  Truly it is just one piece to the puzzle of life.

But today I’m dealing with this one piece.  Holding it and letting the weight impress on my life.  That I would be more and more free from ineffective ways and bound to God’s Ways.

Thinking. About my thoughts.  Selah.

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Want to read through the Bible with me?  Today’s readings are: Proverbs 16; 1 Corinthians 10:1-33

Reblog: Rogue Saints Film Review

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Dear Readers:  It has been an honor to be involved with Rogue Saints, a new Christian movie that releases to DVD on Oct 16, 2012. Check out this awesome review by Film Reviewer, Dale Ward.

Dale Ward

Rogue Saints” is a high-class gem of a film. Like the diamond that the main characters seek to uncover, it is multi-cut, and from any angle, the film is equally impressive. I first saw “Rogue Saints” on the big screen at The Attic Film Fest, and I was looking forward to seeing it again – which says a lot about how I feel about the film. Does it hold up on the small screen? You bet it does.
Director Adam Lubanski does a stellar job in this film about Nick and Dylan, a couple of inept aspiring thieves, who spend their days and nights digging for a one-of-a-kind diamond buried under a church. All the while, church business continues-as-usual above them, completely unaware of the shaky foundation underneath. Like a classic Donald Westlake novel or a Cary Grant screwball comedy, this film is one part…

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