Sunday, March 30, 2008

On Clearance Now!

Easter is such a good deal right now.  Only one week later, and it's 75% off.  I even saw 90% off at one store today.  I bet it's gone tomorrow. today, gone tomorrow.  If only they knew what I know. The cross, the love, the sacrifice, and the resurrection were all the sweeter in worship today, precisely because they long outlast the lilies and and the eggs, and speak to the need of every single day.

I'm a mom.  I love to stash things away before holidays that I think will make them more special to my family. Especially ideas for bringing the true meaning of the event to life for my kids.  Often times this makes it more of a busy time and less of a time of personal reflection.  I love it when my kids "get" what Jesus did for them at Easter.  I especially enjoy leaving out the remnants of it to be revisited afterwards when the pace is more relaxed. And most of the time it's well after the dust has settled that it really comes home to rest again in my own heart what He has done for me.

Easter.  In the stores they make it really cheap so they can get rid of it. In Christ, it cost HIM everything, it's available for free every day of the year, and it lasts forever. Thank you Lord, for your precious gift of forgiveness and life!

Friday, March 28, 2008

New Life

Since it's spring, and we've just celebrated Easter, I thought I'd give a little plug today to new life of a different kind.  Organ donation.

I can  only recall one person I've known before who had an organ transplant, but it just so happens that right now I specifically know of three people who are waiting for new organs. One liver, one heart, and two lungs.  They can't wait much longer.  It's not that these folks need someone to die in order for them to have a chance at life.  The fact is that healthy organs may well be buried today that could have given them that chance.  One life, already lost, could have saved all three. What these folks need is for someone to make their wishes known to someone who will pass along this incredibly precious gift.  

Have you made your wishes known?  Do it today!  Check your driver's license to make sure you've been identified as a donor. Mention it again to your loved ones.  Go to this site about organ donation if you need more information to think about.  Someday, even though it's hopefully a long way off, somebody, and their family, might be forever grateful.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

We are the Church

Today our pastor printed this in his weekly newsletter. It brought tears to my eyes. We are the church. I often wish that somehow we could see the full extent of our impact. That will have to wait until heaven, because God's children are not flashy about what they do as they go about their days. Praise God that the impact of the church is so far beyond what any one of us can see!! So here it is, from Pastor Stan:

This is the second of the two-part series spotlighting YOU, the church family. You are the church and you are exceptional.

What are you doing? It's impossible to capture it all in one little column because you are doing so much corporately, as families, and as individuals. Some of it is known and some of it is underneath the radar. Some of what you are doing has been going on for years. Some of it is brand new. Some of the things you are doing can be described as cutting-edge, risky, daring. You are out of your comfort zone but you are giving it a go.

You are a flag-ship church blazing a trail. You are one-of-a kind church charting new waters. You are a faithful church maintaining the faith of the fathers. You are a futuristic church thinking, planning, giving toward the next generations.

In the essentials, you are united; in the non-essentials, you give liberty; in all things, you show love.

You are growing quantitatively, willing to reach out. You are growing qualitatively, going deeper in faith and practice.

You are the church and you have a great past but a greater future. You are the church and you cannot stop, pander, wait, or linger because you have a commission and a calling to go, and make disciples, and baptize these new disciples, and teach these new baptized disciples, all that Jesus commanded.

You are the church that God can count on. You are the church that proclaims His love to all people. You are the church that majors on the majors and minors on the minors.

You are the church!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lessons from my garden: Improvise

If there is still snow on your garden during Holy Week, it's probably a good time to pick up a bouquet of flowers at the grocery store.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Palm Sunday

As a little girl, I used to love Palm Sunday almost as much as Easter. I don't know what it was about processing into church waving palm branches that made me so excited, but I like to think that I somehow knew this was a way of continuing the celebration that began on that day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, with people shouting his praises. What a great king!

Today it was our kids' turn. Last night Bethany was thinking about it. She popped out of bed this morning, so excited. We had an unusually big group of kids today, which was perfect. They were so cute. (You can see the video here.)

Our pastor preached today about living a life that makes a difference, based on some of the events from Jesus's last week. He challenged us to follow His example this week, by showing compassion on Monday, celebrating who he is on Tuesday, examining what is of value to us and to Him on Wednesday, staying connected spiritually on Thursday, and seeking reconciliation on Friday. I'm going to give it a try.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

We shoulda thought of this a long time ago!

I mean, seriously, is child labor such a bad thing? They don't look too abused do they?

This project has been in the works for two years, give or take. Wallpaper. Need we say more? We have removed other wallpaper in this house, but THIS wallpaper was hung with superglue. So it's gone now. Hallelujah! The walls aren't perfect, but they will have to do.

P.S. If you think we really let our kids paint their whole bathroom, vaulted ceilings and all, we've got a good deal on some real estate for you along the Gulf shore...but the part about the imperfect walls is the absolute truth.

(Originally posted on Tracy's Scrapbook)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

This is heavenly!

If you don't live in a climate like ours, you can't IMAGINE how blissful 5o degrees can feel! We have no idea what it's like to hunt for Easter eggs outside, especially in March. We're just hoping MAYBE we won't be wearing winter coats. Today it's feeling like a possibility!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Beauty of Liberty

Since I got down off my soapbox of the last post, I've been thinking about a visit that Lee and I made to New York a few years back.  I just went back and checked out the journaling I did in my scrapbook afterwards.  Here's what I wrote.

Our visit to the Statue of Liberty helped me reflect on my identity as an American Christian. Her inscription reads: 
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Emma Lazarus, 1883

She is to America what Christ is to the Kingdom of God:  an open door for the nations. God has used our country, our freedom, and our open door in mighty ways to give individuals from every tribe, tongue, people and nation access to the light of the Gospel.  It is our privilege to have the opportunity to share His love with the world right at our own doorstep.  Along with this privilege comes the reality that our society is truly diverse, and our government reflects our society.  My prayer is that God would give His people an even greater passion to see His kingdom come--not by externally imposing "Christian values" on people who don't have a clue who He is, but by introducing them to the Savior who says, "Come to me, you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."