My Mission:

Engaging, Equipping, and connecting children and their families to their most strategic role in completing the Great Commission.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Learning to Listen

I spent last week in the hilly land of Fayetteville, Arkansas. I had an amazing week out at the US Center's Regional office. I am still processing a lot from my trip....asking some big questions and seeing what God wants to do. Yet God seems silent...or isn't he?

I am learning to listen. I am beginning to hear him speak in ways I haven't before. Maybe I don't hear an audible voice, but I see his visible hand. I pray and he answers. Doors open. Hope and peace reign. I think I've become so focused on only making decisions based on hearing the audible voice of God but he speaks in so many other ways too. What do you think?

I'm headed today to Pasadena for 3 days. We will be exhibiting at the CMTA (Christian Ministries Teacher Association) conference tomorrow and Saturday. I will be teaching two workshops as well at 9am Fri and 8:30am Saturday. Nancy will be teaching on closing session Saturday. Please pray with us for this event. I am teaching on some big topics, skipping over preschool crafts and how to tell good Bible stories, and addressing the needs for our kids to be introduced to a God-centered life and guided into a life of purpose for the Kingdom. Pray that the right people will come to each workshop, their hearts ready to hear and be challenged. 

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

First Things First

I've been doing a lot of "soul searching" it seems. There are a  lot of big, important questions looming over my future to which I don't have all the answers for. It's easy to become paralyzed by the unknown. In the process of trying to figure it all you, it's easy to just give up too. I'm still waiting for God to speak, waiting for answers and direction. In the mean time, I'm doing only what I know to do- seeking His Kingdom first. For me, that's living each day serving faithfully as if nothing is going to change.

This devotional below came to me just a few days ago. It was perfect timing and encouraging to this sometimes weary heart. I want to share it with you:

Imagine you've moved into a new house or apartment. What would you unpack first? Probably not the Christmas tree ornaments or the show polish or the bridesmaid's dress you worse in your sisters wedding a decade ago.

In Matthew 6:31-33, Jesus urges us toward a first-things-first lifestyle. Then he identifies our "first things" for us: "Seek first [God's] kingdom and his righteousness," our Lord says.

What would it mean to seek God's kingdom first? We see the answer-in perfection- as we reflect on the life of our Lord Jesus: loving God by loving people.

There was no syrupy, soap-opera love. This love went way beyond expectations to care for those in need. This love told the truth, never mind the consequences. This love refused to be manipulated. This love took our Lord into uncomfortable situations, and it created unlikely relationships.

What's more, Jesus' love was by no means cheap. In the end, he paid the ultimate price, and unimaginable price. Jesus' love- his love for you and me- cost him his life!

Our Savior died for those times we focus on ourselves rather than on him. He died because we choose to chase after second and third and fourth things. He died for our cowardice in "being nice" when real love would "be honest." He died for the times we've done what was convenient rather than what was best for the other person.

And now, Jesus call us, his forgiven children, into his first-things-first lifestyle. We may feel timid about stepping out into that kind of risky, self-giving love. But we can do it, knowing we will never walk alone. He walks right beside us, filling us with peace and leading the way.

We can lay aside our worries about every detail, right down to what we'll eat or drink or wear. He promises, "All things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33). It's an all-inclusive promise by our every-loving Lord.