Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sticky Fingers

I love spending time with children, there is NEVER a dull moment.  There are many differences between "grown-ups" and children.  When does the time arrive in life that people stop honestly expressing themselves?  At what point do we no longer cry out loud when something hurts us?  Why do we not jump up and down when we are excited?  Why do we no longer wear sparkly dresses over our shirts and t-shirts?  Why does every home not contain plastic instruments to carry around and bang on when we feel like it?  What ever happened to nap time at 2 p.m. to keep us from getting grumpy later?  When do we realize we need to use a napkin and not have sticky fingers all day?

Change is a fact of life.  In Ecclesiastes 3 scripture teaches there is a time for everything.  Change is necessary, but there are many things we can learn from children.  There is one particular attribute that every child has on a daily basis that we should keep around...STICKY FINGERS.

1.  STICKY FINGERS are a sign that you have been active...
Proverbs 31:27 is describing a woman of noble character, it says that she watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Children are into EVERYTHING in their household.  There is no such thing as boredom or being lazy in the mind of a child, there is no time to be idle!  May we seek to maintain this energy from the Lord.  We will grow tired and weary and the Lord is our rest, but may we work unto Him and keep our hands busy.

2.  STICKY FINGERS are a sign of where we've been...
After just a few moments with a child it is not difficult to tell if they have had chocolate for a snack, just finished some "artwork", or even enjoyed some time in the great outdoors.  Children cannot keep secrets for very long, their lifestyle is evident all over them!

1 Peter 3:15 commands believers to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that they have.  Children have to live by this when they get into a variety of different "adventures."  They know shortly after engaging in an "adventure" it will not be long before they are questioned by a parent because the evidence of their "adventure" is all over them.  Oh to be questioned for our adventures because our faith in the Lord is all over us.

3.  STICKY FINGERS leave their mark on EVERYTHING...
A child's sticky fingers affect everything they come in contact with.  The countertops, the doorknobs, their toys, the telephone, the couch, and the list goes on and on!  Their mark is officially left EVERYWHERE they have been.

It is my desire that as a follower of Christ I would be able to leave a mark everywhere I have been.  This will not be a mark created by myself.  This is a A chocolate brownie with ice-cream sweet mark, a mark of my Savior Jesus Christ!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chasing Tail Lights

It is funny how situations in everyday life can be lessons in disguise.  A few nights ago I was on my way back to camp and experienced one of these moments.  For those of you who have been to Cedarmore you know traveling the windy roads in the middle of the night can be quite challenging.  I began my journey following a car which I knew was heading back to camp.

It did not take me long at all to realize that our driving styles were COMPLETELY different.  I was WAY behind before we had even started our journey.  On our drive through the country side I tried my best to catch up to the vehicle in front of me.  It never failed that EVERY time I would see the vehicles tail lights, I would immediately lose sight of them due to a hill or a sharp turn in the road.

I began the journey feeling quite frustrated.  Why in the world did this car have to go so fast in front of me?  I wanted to be able to follow but I never could get the speed to keep up.  Of course, I would get close at times and think I had made it but INSTANTLY I would lose sight of the tail lights time and time again.

After several minutes of the game of catch up and lose sight I became nervous.  Here I am trying to catch this car, which is IMPOSSIBLE and now I realize I am all alone on these dark windy roads.  I have traveled these roads several times in the daylight, but when night falls everything changes.  I found myself wondering what would happen if a deer came running across in front of me while I was trying so hard to find the strength within myself to catch the lead car?  Or what if I had car trouble?  I didn't have cell phone service, what could I do if something happened?  Who would even know?  There is a great deal of danger along the roads at night that I would never choose to face on my own.

After 45 minutes of frustration, isolation, fear, and worry I was quickly approaching one of the final turns before reaching Cedarmore and what did I notice sitting and patiently waiting at the top of the hill?  The car that I had been trying so hard to catch the entire ride.  It was then that I realized the ONLY chance I had of ever catching up with this car to begin with was if the driver intentionally took the time to stop, wait, and let me catch up.

Why do I tell you this story?  I tell you this because INSTANTLY upon meeting up with the car in front of me I was filled with a peace and a satisfaction that I was safe and on my way home.  This crazy driving experience is a beautiful picture of the Gospel and our relationship with the Lord.

We can drive our hardest and speed heavily toward God using our own strength and determination.  At times we will catch a glimpse of what we think is "safety" or "security" however it will quickly fade.  The magnificent part of this story is that God does not want to have this constant separation and struggle with us.  This is why he sent Jesus.  He was sent to patiently wait...

He chose to make a way for us to enter into a relationship with Him.  Without His willingness to send His son to make a way for us we would still be running a never ending race.  Praise God He has come to us, chosen us to enter into a relationship with Him and there is NOTHING we did to deserve it.

1 Corinthians 9:25-27
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Therefore I do not run like someone running AIMLESSLY;
I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.
No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after
I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

It is my prayer that I am not aimlessly running or chasing after headlights that I will never catch.  My faith is firm in the one who has chosen me and now through faith and complete dependence on Him I may run with a purpose.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Friday Night Date!!

The students were gone, property was clean, and the staff meetings were complete which only leaves room for one thing...a night out on the town!

We took the doors off the jeep and headed out to a mexican restaurant in Shelbyville last night.  It was such a refreshing time to simply be together without an agenda.  It was definitely a restful occasion that brought with it excitement about all that lies before us this summer and over the next several months.

I love doing life with my best friend.  Trey is always full of encouragement and leads me through Scripture and is ALWAYS pointing me to the Lord.  He knows just what to say when I may be a little "tense" and can always make me laugh.

After our jeep ride with LOTS of country music we finished the evening with a little Dirty Jobs with Mike Roe. I am pleased to say Friday Night was a success!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Crossings Cedarmore, WK 1

Today is the last full day of the first week of camp.  It has truly been a great week.  The Gospel has been proclaimed day in and day out.  We have seen the lives of students transformed as they accept Christ for the first time.

The staff and program directors have worked very hard this week and it has definitely been a success.  Camp days are very FULL.  Psalm 29:11 says, "The Lord gives strength to His people, the Lord blesses His people with peace."  The truth of this passage is evident in the lives of those working at camp.  The daily schedule requires them to rely heavily on the strength of the Lord.  They are not burdened or overwhelmed with the tasks of the day but overwhelmed with a peace about what lies ahead and eager to embrace every opportunity.

Before Evening Worship the staff scatter throughout the Worship Center to pray for the students who will be in attendance.  We ask that you join them in prayer as well.  Pray that the Gospel will be clearly preached.  Pray that after many activities from the day that the students will remain alert and have hearts that are ready to be taught and eager to listen.

On the first night of camp all of the staff are introduced to the students they will have in their Bible Studies.  Music is pumping and  energy is high as the students anticipate meeting their Bible Study Leader and the staff are pumped about getting to know their students.

The main job of the staff is to pour into the students at camp.  Trey and the other Program Directors work hands on with the youth leaders.  While the staffers are with the students the Program Directors are meeting the needs of the leaders.  Above, Trey is welcoming the leaders to camp and laying out the vision that Crossings holds for their students and briefly explaining all they hope to see happen within the week.  I'm so proud of him and his hard work for the Lord.

So thankful for a great week 1 and ready for a slight change of pace this weekend.  Pray for rest for the staff this weekend and hearts that a willing and ready to get up and running for week 2 on Monday morning!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Accepting the Call to a Cautiously Carefree Lifestyle

After a great amount of prayer and lots of talking with one another Trey and I would like to announce...WE ARE MOVING TO HAITI!

Our trip to Haiti before the summer started could not have gone better.  On the plane rides back to the states we had a great amount of time to talk.  Can I just say that I LOVE doing life with my best friend?!  We openly shared fears and concerns, excitement and dreams, and even made a pros and cons list :)

Trey shared with me that he really thought moving to Haiti is what God had in store for us.  I love it when he shares his heart and speaks about his desire to lead me and to follow the Lord.  It is truly a blessing to be with him.  When Trey and I were dating and he first told me he loved me I did not say it back.  I waited...

I wanted to know with confidence that I was not going to say "I love you too," simply because he had said it first.  Of course I knew I loved him...but it just took time to say.  That's a big step!

The same is true with our decision to move to Haiti.  I knew the decision to move to Haiti was the direction the Lord was leading us.  However every time I would almost tell Trey that I agree and think that we should move to Haiti I would feel this HUGE lump in my throat.  Over the course of several days I sought the Lord and the courage to willingly and eagerly lay down the decision of moving to Haiti.

My time in the Word and morning devotions the week after returning from Haiti ALL discussed trust and willingly following the Lord.  I KNOW this was not by accident.

In his book "My Utmost for His Highest," Oswald Chambers speaks on Matthew 6:25.  He said, "Our Lord pointed out that from His standpoint it is ABSOLUTELY UNREASONABLE for us to be anxious, worrying about how we will live.  Jesus did not say that the person who takes no thought for anything in his life is blessed--no, that person is a fool.  But Jesus DID teach that His disciple must make his relationship with God the dominating focus of his life, and to be CAUTIOUSLY CAREFREE about everything else in comparison to this."

The above is one of MANY lessons and truths that the Lord brought to my attention as I worried and wrestled with the opportunity to move to Haiti.  I want to TRUST in the Lord with all of my heart and not lean on my own understandings, knowing that HE is the one who will make my paths straight!

This morning I have just begun a devotional by Jennifer Rothschild, "Walking By Faith: Lessons Learned in the Dark."  The focus of today was on Hebrews 11, those in Scripture we see who walked by faith.  Jennifer challenged me to read further about these people of faith to learn from them.  She said that Noah teaches us to go against common sense when we sense God in an uncommon way.

I am learning that I often put way too much focus on my thoughts and opinions and the opinions of others.  The opinions of others and myself are common sense, at least this is what I often believe.  However, God calls us to be willing to do what may be uncommon or carefree.  It is my desire that Trey and I will ALWAYS be willing to follow the ways of the Lord and live in a CAUTIOUSLY CAREFREE way TRUSTING fully in Him.

This picture was taken after some heavy conversations about moving to Haiti on the plane ride back to the states.  I am so thankful for the true JOY that comes from serving our Lord and the blessing it is to be called Sons and Daughters of God!

Living a cautiously carefree lifestyle may cause us to look a little different.  It may be difficult at times as we push to walk in the ways of the LORD and not the ways of the world.  I pray that you too would daily choose to live cautiously carefree and walk in the way that the Lord is leading you.  May we all look crazy when the world looks our direction and sees the uncommon way we walk.