Pardon the Opportunity

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I don’t know about you but I do not enjoy being interrupted. If I am mid-sentence or task I do not like stopping for something. At work this week I found myself getting annoyed with one of my coworkers. It felt like their goal was to interrupt any and everything I was doing. I tried to be nice. I tried to not let my agitation show. I definitely failed a couple of times. Then in the middle of my morning, the Holy Spirit began to check my bad attitude. After being interrupted for what felt like the hundredth time, I heard the word opportunity.

That was enough for me. I knew exactly what God was saying to me. I needed to stop looking at these moments as interruptions and start looking at them as opportunities — opportunities to help my coworker, show Christ, and simply be kind. I needed this lesson.

Jesus was interrupted multiple times. The Pharisees would interrupt his teachings to try to find wrong doing. The disciples would interrupt because they did not understand. The crowds would interrupt to receive healing. I can imagine this was frustrating at times. There was even a time when Jesus was trying to find a break from the masses and they followed him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14). Jesus did not snap at these people. He did not blow them off. The Bible tells us he had compassion. Jesus saw all the interruptions as opportunities to teach, correct, and love. He saw the people and had compassion.

It is really easy for me to get caught up in what I’m doing. I can be stingy with my time, grace, and compassion. The Lord spent the other morning reminding me that it is not about me. He has me at my job for others. I needed to stop being selfish. The focus needed to come off of me and my tasks and turn to my coworker. I needed to stop using the word interruption and start using the word opportunity.

Source of Hope

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but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faintIsaiah 40:31

 I have always loved this particular verse. It tends to be a constant reminder of where my strength comes from. During times of weariness or exhaustion, I can take confidence, through this and other verses, in Him and His power carrying me through. However, as I have recently been reading this passage of scripture, I am beginning to understand this verse and chapter in a whole new light.

Obviously it speaks to the Lord being a source of strength and stability. However something that I find encouraging is that this verse powerfully addresses the truth of hope.  I think I tend to look at hope as an automatically positive thing. I too often forget that hope is quite a neutral force. Just because I hope for something better or hope that my circumstance will change does not mean my hope is placed in the One who ultimately and currently matters above all else. Too often I find myself placing hope in the things of this world like instant happiness and immediate gratification. And yet it never ceases to amaze me that as I continue to hope in these finite things, any victory or peace that I might occur is fleeting and temporary.

What we place our hope in directly affects what we do with our dreams, aspirations and moments of opportunity. It directs what we do with the resources that have been loaned to us. And yet, how many times do we stop to consider this? How many times do we realize where our hope is being placed?

Placing ones hope in God goes beyond simply recognizing intellectually that God is who He says he is. Genuinely placing one’s hope in God is a deliberate awareness birthed from a spirit led conviction that causes one to recognize God as the only thing that matters; that even though situations might not “resolve” or have the happiest of endings that He and only He is enough.

This truth radically transforms minds and thoroughly purifies hearts of rampant self-centeredness. As I experience and grow in this truth I sometimes see myself forgetting these realities and continuing to operate in my limited and flawed perception. I am so grateful that through the scriptures I am renewed and allowed to see God for who He really is. It is incredible to me that as my hope is placed in Him, so my realization of the things that truly matter are directly affected and changed to reflect Him. As we continue on in this mad and unstable world may the Holy Spirit continue to remind us not only of who God is but also where we have been called to place our hope. For it is here and only here that we can mount up with wings as eagles.

Where is your hope?

A Wind Change

The season in life between the colligate years and entering the “work place” can probably be described in a numeration of adjectives-pretty much describing a slew of emotions.

What happens when what “you thought” and what “you actually do” didn’t line up with the plan? What if that plan consisted of a commitment that required “x” amount of school years, a move, a career that contradicted expectations, etc… ?  And you were ready, motivated, accepted to the school of your choice, and you had it all planned out…but then a change in the wind…

 Life happened.

You could fill in the blank and every answer given or every reason had could justify the- wind change.

The Atlantic online posted in April 2013, “53% of college graduates are either unemployed or working in jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree.” Work Trends-Rutgers May 2012 posted, “Many graduates were disappointed with their starting salary; over half reported that it was less than they had expected it to be.” (NCES) posted since 2004, 42% did not complete a 4 year education.

It happens-life happens and many of us could probably find ourselves in the category of the wind change, by experiencing dissatisfaction or the drive for more. And we cannot forget the ever haunting thought did we miss- the calling? You haven’t miss “the calling” God has for you because you experienced a “little wind” or dissatisfaction.

 “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had His eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.” Ephesians1:11-12 (MSG)

 So the wind changed…What do you need to do to change it back?

2 tired 2 care?

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Written by Lacee Romero. Want to write for our blog? Email us!

I like to stay busy, but the month of June crossed over from busy to insanity. As I look at my calendar I have all of my little girl’s camps & events, my best friend’s wedding, all of my work appointments, and stuff at church.  Each space on my calendar has a list of to-dos, want to-dos and find time to-do.  Just as soon as I made time for what seemed like EVERYTHING I received the email from Pastor Cody.   This email had one sentence “what do you think?” and a file attached.   I thought I was going to see something that would take a few minutes to look over and give feedback.  WRONG!   It was a summer reading challenge.  After skimming over the reading list with my to the minute schedule in the back of my head I wanted to reply with a witty remark about never sleeping again.  I like a challenge so I told him I thought it was a wonderful idea and was secretly praying for a 25th hour in my day.  My head was saying challenge accepted and my calendar was SCREAMING you’re crazy! My heart and my head were not on the same page.  My competitiveness had taken over and I was going to complete this 100 day summer reading.

4 days later I am sitting front row at the Inspire Conference.  I was very excited to hear Matthew Barnett from the Dream Center. He spoke three little words “I get to…” and began telling a back story of the Lord revealing the moments that changed his feeling of HAD to serve to moments of GETTING TO serve!

I walked out of the sanctuary feeling like the Lord sat me on that front row so he could do work in my heart.  That girl who had a child out of school for the summer, a friend who was getting married, a job that at times is too busy, a place to serve, and a summer reading challenge had a shift in mindset.  The next few days the Lord started to show me how blessed I am. I get to be a mom, I get to watch my friend marry an amazing man, I get to work, I get to read my Bible wherever… I have watched and prayed for friends who desire a baby, I see people that long for authentic community, who are out of work, and hear of people who cannot sit down at Starbucks to read the Bible because it is illegal.  I am blessed to “get to”!

Even after hearing this message I find myself slipping back into my feelings of “having to” and the Lord has been faithful to remind me “I get to”.   If I could I would tattoo “I GET TO” on my forehead because in the moment it is so hard to remember, but instead I have written it on my mirror, a sticky note in my office, and in my car.  Shifting my mindset to “I get to” is not easy, but when I rest in it good things start happening.  I am a better mom, friend, employee, and servant.

The shift has made those extra minutes in the morning that I would have hit snooze easier to forego because I am getting more time in the Word.   Summer might be a new level of busy, but I am blessed in this season.  Blessed to “get to”!

How is your attitude? Join us on our summer Bible reading plan…download it here!

Stop Praying

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Prayer is a powerful tool. With prayer you and I can communicate with the creator of the universe. We can communicate with Him face to face- without any limits or boundaries. But sometimes we can use prayer as an excuse to maintain a lazy comfortable lifestyle…after all who is going to complain or correct us for praying too much.

Let me explain it in more detail. Did you know there is ministry in churches and in your life that need you. They don’t need you because without you they would fail- they need you because without them you become a lazy Christian. Its easy to use prayer as an excuse to get out of doing things we are uncomfortable with. There are children in children’s ministry who need you to be involved. But that would demand too much time, so the easiest way to get out of it is to let the Pastor know “I will pray about that.” Are we really praying about it or are we backing out gracefully.

Did you know that there is a ministry or a life group you are supposed to be in to, connect relationally and grow spiritually? This takes time but the reward is huge. However, often times the time it takes is what leads us to use the phrase, “I will pray about getting involved.” excuse.excuse.excuse

There are certain things God doesn’t need you to pray about:

  • We don’t need to pray about reading our Bibles
  • We don’t need to pray about going to church
  • We don’t need to pray about loving our neighbor
  • We don’t need to pray about forgiving
  • We don’t need to pray about serving at church
  • We don’t need to pray about being involved in the Great Commission
  • We don’t need to pray about being connected to Christian Community.

 There comes a time when prayer becomes a form of spiritual procrastination. We need to stop praying and start doing.

Stop praying about serving and start serving. Stop praying about being involved and be involved.

Please hear what I am asking you to do. I am not asking you to stop praying. Pray often! Pray about everything…but there is a time where we need to stop praying and start acting. What do you think?

be a reBel

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The problem in Christianity today is two fold: 1. There are Christians who would rather look more like the world and less like Jesus. 2. There are Pastors who will never challenge them to live above the preceded mindset. We can’t acknowledge Jesus with our lips and go on with a life style unchanged by His name. There has to be something more. There has to be something different- something more. A desire sits deep within the recesses of my heart. A desire to see God move. A desire to see an abandonment from sinful living and turn to one that is pursuing God as hard as I can. But in this desire something gets in the way…me.

I begin to become the problem because it is easy to be more like the world. It is easy to live the way I want, to do what I want. It’s easy but is it better? In my desire to be different I see myself living the same. I do what everyone else is doing. Then the thought hits me, in order for me to see God move in a powerful way I have to move out of His way. In order to move out of his way I have to chose to live as a rebel. I have to rebel from how the world operates. I have to rebel from the way the world thinks. I have to rebel from the way the world choses to forgive. To get out of God’s way I HAVE to become more like Jesus.

I submit to you today that it is time to start a rebellion. To chose to live above the ways of this world- to live as if we are citizens of another (Philippians 3:20).

I challenge you- be a reBel! Be the difference. Don’t just use Jesus as a trophy- let Him use you to change the world. Join me?

Get Your Hands Dirty

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Get your hands dirty! These are the words I heard from Jesus. What is that supposed to mean- “get your hands dirty”? It made no sense. Then we started our summer Bible reading plan. I we are reading through Matthew I am beginning to understand what Jesus is demanding of me when He said, “Get your hands dirty!”

In order to be more like Jesus- I have to in fact live exactly like Jesus. When I read the way He lived I see that His hands were always in someone else’s mess. He wasn’t there to meddle. He wasn’t there for pity. He was there to bring healing, restoration, hope and wholeness. Through His life I find my mandate. To put my hands in the mess of others- for the sole purpose of seeing them receive their healing, restoration, hope and wholeness…eventually even their salvation.

Far too long I have lived my life in Jesus as if I am the only beneficiary. That Jesus saved me from hell and now I simply must wait for Him to call me on to glory. This thinking is jaded and selfish. I was saved and a direct result of that is I get to spend eternity with Him, but what does that do for me now? Does that mean I continue to live my life the way I want? Nope! It means I must actively find people and situations that demand for me to get my hands dirty. It means that I was found to become the finder. Simply put if I am not sharing my faith, make disciples than I am in fact as lazy and pious as the pharisees.

That last sentence stung me a little. I want to live a life where my hands are constantly dirty with the lives of individuals in need of the saving message of the gospel.

 I pray my hands become dirty so others hearts can be cleaned! Join the movement…get your hands dirty!