Friday, February 22, 2008

Do You Dream?

I dream.

I mean I have vivid true-to-life full-color wide-screen filmstrips that run through my mind as I am supposed to be rejuvenating my body through REM sleep.

Sometimes my dreams are simple and realistic.

Sometimes my dreams are far-fetched fiction concepts that 'might' make a great novel ... if the story would just complete itself.

You see ... that's where my problem lies. Most of my 'great American novel' type dreams are not finished before the alarm goes off. For example, a few nights back, I had a dream that something we all use every day didn't really exist. This could have been the basis for a science fiction book. The only problem was, even though I spent much of my night 'exploring and discussing' this missing thing, when I woke up, I had no idea what 'it' was. I woke up before the dream was ... finished.

We all have dreams. Sometimes we can envision the whole concept of the dream. Other times the dream is sketchy. We know the framework but we don't know the whole story. Sometimes one of the main themes is unclear.

But we are in luck. We know the Dream Giver and He knows all the details. He has the plans and abilities to see our dreams through to completion. There's only one catch. Your dreams have to line up with His.

Will you give your dreams back to the Dream Giver? Will you trust Him to fill in the gaps in your dreams? Will you see Him daily to ensure that your dreams are truly what He wants for you?

John 16:23b-24 (The Message)
23-24"This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I've revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he'll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Are You Shattered?

Last summer, dear hubby and I went on a cruise to Mexico for our silver anniversary. In the port of Ensenada, we purchased a beautiful plate with a lighthouse surrounded by rocks with wave crashing in on the rocks. This plate was hand painted. Literally. The painter used their fingers and fingernails to paint the picture. No brushes. Just fingers. The plate was placed on our mantel for all to enjoy.

For Valentines Day, dear hubby gave me roses. Beautiful yellow roses (my favorite) with coral tips. The flowers were placed next to the plate on the mantle.

On Saturday night, dear hubby and I had just got to sleep when we heard a loud crash. We rushed to the den and found ....

Pieces ....

We found five or six pieces of what once was an unbroken plate.

No. It did not jump off the mantle by itself. One of our 'lucky to still be alive' cats had gotten too curious about the roses and had climbed on the mantle and in the process knocked off the irreplaceable plate. Oh, I know we could possibly find a similar plate somewhere but it would not be the special plate that dear hubby picked out for us during our walk in Ensenada.

We picked up the piece and it looked like we might be able to glue it back into one piece. But it was late. Very late. So we headed back to bed.

As I lay in bed, knowing that we were both very disappointed about the plate, I did the only thing I knew to do ... I prayed. I said, "Lord, I know it's not possible but I sure wish we could wake to find the plate back in one piece." A little while later, I finally went back to sleep.

Then Sunday morning came.

We got up and went into the den. Our eyes seemed to be playing tricks on us. Sitting on the fireplace was our plate ... on the plate stand ... appearing to be whole again. But how?

Our son had come home after we went back to bed. He saw the plate in pieces and knew the significance of the plate and the emotional value of it. He pulled out the bonding glue and lovingly put the pieces back together. Restored. Almost as good as new. One small chip still seems to be missing but looking at it from across the room as I type this, I can't tell that the plate has ever been shattered into pieces.

Our son displayed an act of love for us that was an answer to our prayers ... prayers that he did not even know I prayed.

Is your life shattered today? Do you feel like you are in pieces? You, too, are irreplaceable. And there is a Son that is just waiting to put your pieces back together. The Son of the living God. Jesus. Our Loving Lord's blood was shed to give you give you a reason to go on ... it the glue that restores the pieces of your life. He knows your significance better than you ever will. And when He restores you, you will not be almost as good as new ... you will be better than new. You will be white as snow. Will you give the shattered pieces of your life to Him today?

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Would You Change Your Name?

Believe it or not, we are still visiting churches trying to find our home. Right now we are visiting a church that, you might say, is having an identity crisis.

The question is: who are they? They were started in the post-war 50's when 'memorial' was a popular name for a church, thus they were chartered as Memorial Baptist Church. However, over the years they moved to a beautiful campus in the heart of the metroplex where a fifty foot cross lets those driving by on the freeway know that the church is there.

In recent years, they have added what some might refer to as a 'tag line'. The Church at the Cross.

As we have visited, this church off and on for many months, I actually thought that the name was The Church at the Cross. Perhaps I thought that it was "The Church formerly known as Memorial Baptist". :-)

So at this time, they have a recommendation from the church leadership (Pastors and elders) to officially change the name to "The Church at The Cross". Yes, it will stay a Baptist church. No, Baptist would not be in the name.

Obviously, this is creating quite a bit of lively discussion around the church campus.

A name change is often very hard. I loved my maiden name as it was different. It had meaning. It literally meant "the mark of God" ... Godsmark. However, a change happened in my life (marriage) and now I have a new last name (Okay...not so new as I've had it for over 25 years).

I think God has been preparing His people at Memorial for this day for some time now. I don't believe much in coincidences but I firmly believe in God's incidents. In preparation for this time, some time back, He ordained that the SBC literature (put out by LifeWay which used to be called Baptist Book Store before they changed their name) would be a study of the book of Genesis.

I find this interesting on a number of fronts.

First of all, Genesis means the origin or beginning of something.

Next, we find a name change happen in Genesis 17:5. "No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations."

Then, we find another name change just ten verses later in Genesis 17.15. God also said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah."

Do you think that our Loving Lord just might be using this to confirm for the congregation that name changes are okay? Do you think He might be using Abraham as an example? Just as Abraham was father of many nations, do you think that many may come to know our Loving Lord after, if, Memorial Baptist Church becomes The Church at The Cross?

I can't help but think of another name change that had great impact on the world. Saul to Paul. If Saul had never become Paul, how vastly different could Christian history have been?

Change is usually uncomfortable. Change can be hard. Lest we forget, change can also be very good and beneficial. What if the primary bread winner in your family had never changed into his or her current job? What if they had refused to change?

If you are a follower of our Loving Lord, you've already gone through some title changes. You were once called 'lost' but now you're 'saved'. You were once 'condemned' but now you are 'redeemed'. You have a new name of 'Christian'.

If you have never met my Loving Lord, if you don't know His saving grace, will you check out His invitation today? Then will you consider changing your name to His?

Finally, will each of you join with me in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ at this church? Will you pray that the hearts of the members will be open to what God wants them to do? Will you pray that they will put aside personal preferences and tradition and see where our Lord leads them?
Isaiah 62:2 (New International Version)
The nations will see your righteousness,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.


Friday, February 08, 2008

Are You What's Stopping The Flow?

At my day job we have those faucets in the bathroom where the water in the sink comes on automatically when you place your hands under the faucet.

Recently I noticed that quite frequently when I approach the sink the water comes on then I put the soap on my hands and lather well only to find that the water stops flowing so I can't rinse the soap off. So I pull my hands back ... and on comes the water. I move them back in and it goes off.

I feel like I'm on Candid Camera or something.

At home, our kitchen faucet also has a mind of it's own. Sometimes, rarely, you can turn on the water simply by lifting up the handle. Most times, you have to work with it to get it to come on. One way to get it to come on is to act like you are trying to prime the pump.

So again, you can lather up only to find that the water is not flowing.

I think sometimes those in ministry could feel this way. They start doing what our Loving Lord has called them to do only to find that the flow has stopped. The flow could be the funds to do what they were called to do. Or the flow could be the other people who need to volunteer their time to help. Or the flow could be the people who should be covering that ministry in prayer.

Are you what's stopping the flow? Is there someone in ministry that you should be supporting with your money, time, talents, or prayer? What's stopping you?

Nehemiah 2:17-18 (The Message) Then I gave them my report: "Face it: we're in a bad way here. Jerusalem is a wreck; its gates are burned up. Come—let's build the wall of Jerusalem and not live with this disgrace any longer." I told them how God was supporting me and how the king was backing me up. They said, "We're with you. Let's get started." They rolled up their sleeves, ready for the good work.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

How Is Your Sight?

Driving to work, I pass a yellow diamond-shaped sign that reads "Limited Sight Distance". The sign is there to let you know, that as you go up and over this small hill, you can't see what is coming ... what's beyond the hill ... can't see what's there until you are over the hill.

Life is often that way. We know the direction we are headed but can't see what is ahead of us. We can only go over the hill with faith.

In the recent storms in the southeast USA, a small Baptist college was hit by a tornado. The student's lives have been changed ... their plans have been changed ... the test they studied for over the weekend, doesn't matter today. Classes are cancelled until mid-February. 25-30 years ago, this could have been me. The college that was hit was Union University in Jackson TN. From their website, it looks and sounds like the college I went to in North Carolina. I feel for these students, the faculty, their local churches and the surrounding community.

Life is often this way. We make plans for today and tomorrow and then a storm blows in and disrupts our plans. We can only clean up the damage with faith.

Tomorrow, my local Christian radio station KCBI is going to be giving information on how you and I can help this college family. I believe the information is going to be shared throughout the morning show which is from 6 am to 9 am Central Time. You can listen to John and Terri live on the internet.

They made me cry (which is not an easy thing to do) as they shared about what they are planning for tomorrow. See, this month is Loving Christ, Loving Kids month at KCBI and all the kids in their listening audience are excited about it. However, KCBI is using this as an opportunity to help their youngest listener's understand that we often have limited sight distance and that we sometimes need to change our plans and follow our Loving Lord on faith.

Will you change your plans for tomorrow morning (2/8/08) and get near a radio or PC and listen to the Morning Show on KCBI and see if our Lord leads YOU to help?

2 Corinthians 5:7-8 (The Message) It's what we trust in but don't yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we'll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Are You Covering Your Splendor?

I seem to have my daddy's hair.

While I love my dad, I'm not so fond of my hair.

It's thin, fine, straight, almost non-existent hair. My mom has always had a head full of hair. Hair that you could 'do something with'.

The only thing I like about my hair is that, even at my age, I have very few gray hairs. What you see is my natural color. I don't color my hair.

Other friends of mine have had gray hair since their twenties and have colored their hair that long.

If you had a thing of beauty ... a thing of splendor ... would you show it off? Or would you cover it up?

The reason that I ask is because I came across an interesting verse this morning.

It makes me wonder if our Loving Lord thinks I've lived a 'righteous life' and it makes me wonder why anyone colors their hair.

I'll leave the rest of the wondering to you...

Proverbs 16:31, New International Version
Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.