Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bursting, Buckets, and BY THE WAY

It seems like my yard is bursting.  Flowers are everywhere, and I mean everywhere.  I am starting to harvest some veggies from my little garden, blueberries and boysenberries abound.  My husband and I are reaping the harvest of many years of mostly his hard work.  Right now it is sooo bursting out! Have a little look.

As I reach the “autumn” of my life, I guess you could say the “harvest years” I am becoming a little more reflective about what I have accomplished so far. 

 And I sense an urgency to get on with what else God has for me in this life…

 I guess you could call it my “bucket list”  although it is not that in the truest sense of the word.   I googled bucket list  and some of them were funny, but nothing I had not heard of before:

1.Go to Paris (my sis is crossing that off her bucket list this week)
2.Ride to work on your bike in a bathrobe
3.Play golf with Tiger Woods.  (really? ….uhhhh, Not so much)


The “been there, done that, got the t-shirt” list  for me includes: Living and doing ministry in a developing country, raising 3 great kids, and loving one amazing man for 32 years so far. Not too many people included these 3 things, but what in the cat hair do I care? It’s my list. 

What I have accomplished is good stuff.


 I sense there is more to do. 

I ain’t dead yet. 

 I am not too interested in fabulous vacations, (couldn’t afford them anyhow) playing cards, talking to the Maharishi, or golf.  Some folks love this stuff and that is all good.  That’s why there is chocolate and vanilla.

But there is some "bucket like little stuff" I do want to accomplish, with the help of my Jesus...

 Last year I started a “mentoring group” at my church.  I was not sure how it would develop, but God told me to reach out. 

 So I did. 

 When I was a young mom raising my kids I longed for someone to mentor me, but it seemed everyone I knew older and wiser was too busy. It was then I purposed in my heart that when I reached a “mature” age I would make myself available. 

 Our mentor group  started hanging out at my house one morning a week before I go to work.  Some 20somethings,  some in their 30’s and 40’s and some my age. It is an eclectic group to say the least.  We listen to each other, sometimes we give input, and we pray. 

 Pretty simple. 

But amazingly, it has been awesome for all of us.

For now my bucket list is nothing big or life-shattering.  But it’s my little slice of bucket that means something to me.   MUCH better than an exotic vacation. Definitely better than playing golf with Tiger:)

If you are a 50 or 60 something, I hope your bucket list includes doing something amazing like traveling around the world. 


I also hope it includes doing some amazing giving of yourself, to others who need to hear from you.  Sharing your wisdom

as a wife,

or a mom

or a woman

 If it does not, you might have some “splainin to do on that day, in the not so far off future when you stand before your God…

 I am sure He will want to hear about that fabulous bursting bucket list-   but even more so-  He might  inquire about  the following:

1.Who have YOU actively reached out to lately? To come alongside.
2.What younger woman are YOU praying for?
3.Who can YOU call/email/text/message TODAY to  encourage them?

Matthew  25:21  “Well done, good and faithful servant…”

Hmmmm.   No bucket list mentioned in that verse.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Saved and Re-Saved?

Sometimes Evangelicals make me sigh.  I consider myself an evangelical and I am proud to have my name associated with my Jesus.  Sometimes I am not so proud of evangelicals.

My niece recently attended a wedding of an old college friend.  As she was telling me this story I was cringing…. a lot.  It seemed some of her old college friends had been “saved” and were zealous to get everyone they came in contact with saved too.  As my niece discussed this with them, she explained that she was Catholic and loved Jesus.  ( I know her, she is and she does) 

 Much to her dismay, telling them that made them push her even harder, pretty much telling her she needed to “turn or burn”  hounding her relentlessly.         
 What in the Cat Hair?  

 I guess they forgot to read one of my life verses:

1 Peter 3:15  But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord, always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the HOPE that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect.

If you forget the last part of this verse, you might as well be spitting into the wind.  You will totally turn off whoever was nice enough to take a minute to listen, and you will end up with that nasty spit all over your own face. 


 Those well meaning folks talking to my niece could not wrap their mind around the fact that she already did love Jesus.  

Once long ago when my husband was in college, some  campus ministry leaders kept trying to get him re-saved.  He kept telling them he had already been born again, but they just kept shoving the four spiritual laws pamphlet at him.  He was just inquiring about how he could become involved in their group. 

 Can I call Cat Hair on this?  


Please don’t get me wrong, as a Christian I do believe in sharing my faith with people.  In fact Scripture tells us to do that.  But I just don’t think being obnoxious about it will win souls to heaven. 

  In addition I don’t think we need to get anyone re-saved. 

 In addition to that, WE don’t get anyone saved. 

 THAT is God’s Holy Spirit’s work, not ours.

In my life, I have been a Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Bible Churcher, and Community Church attender.  While nobody has it 100% perfect, here are some good helpful hints for us as we go about sharing our faith:

1. Living your life in an honest, pure, upstanding, positive, holy way in front of others speaks volumes about your faith.  You don’t even have to open your mouth.  (thank Heaven!)

 If Roger Clemmons had thought about this long ago, he may not have to be uptight about when he stands before his God on judgment day.  As it is - he better be plenty nervous.

Roger Clemmons, former MLB star, denies use of peformance enhancing drugs-most feel he is lying.

2.When you do share your faith, as it is right to do, pray God will give you the right words to say, thanks Him for the opportunity, and let HIM do the rest.

3. If someone tells you they love Jesus, believe them.  Yes, you might find out later they were just giving lip service to that statement, and you may get to revisit the topic.  There are all kinds of believers, some more mature in their faith than others.  I can tell you right now that mature believers do not try to badger folks into the kingdom.

When I first became a born again Christian at the age of 23, I was out to save the world.  I badgered friends and family relentlessly, and if I decided their salvation experience didn’t measure up, I badgered some more.  Actually I am lucky some of them still speak to me. 

 Obnoxious was my middle name. 

 Self - righteousness was my calling card.  


As I have gotten older, however, I have realized scripture allows for all kinds of salvation experiences, and even more types of Jesus followers.  One thing I do know is that others watch us carefully to see what WE Christians will do in every situation. 

Nik Wallenda, who walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope last week got it right.  As he slowly walked over the face of the falls with wind and rain in his face, I was mesmerized and glued to the event, holding my breath.   Then on national TV, over the voices of the commentators, you could hear him quietly praising his Jesus.  It was amazing, and he continued this quiet praise of his Savior all the way in to Canada.  If you didn't see it- you HAVE to watch it!

THAT is the way I want to share my faith.    What about YOU?

Matthew 23:15 Woe to you teachers of the Law, and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over the land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one:  you make him twice as much a son of Hell and you are!”


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Shape Up or Ship OUT!

Being fifty something is hard work.   Aside from the whole menopause/hot flash thing, (yes, God does have a sense of humor) there are aches and pains in body parts that I never even knew existed.  It seems I have been loosing and finding  the same 30 pounds over and over my whole life.  But now those found pounds don’t want to get lost.  They are sticking around like the in-laws on a smelly family visit.     UGG.        My favorite time of day is 10 pm when I can drag my weary carcass to rest.



WHAT IN THE CAT HAIR?   Time to shape up? 

 It would seem.    

The idiom “shape up or ship out” historically comes from the US Navy. If a guy did not shape up and do his job properly, he was “shipped out”.  That is how things on a navy ship were able to remain “ship shape”.  

There was no room for lame excuses like “I don’t have time to exercise”  or “It’s too much trouble to eat the right kind of foods”  Even now, the men and women of the Armed Forces need to conduct themselves in a proper manner and stay in good physical condition or OUT they go.

Yes,  it is SO TRUE!  I need to shape up and NOW!  

 It irritates me to see extremely portly TV evangelists  self-righteously spewing out their version of biblical wisdom.  Clearly they are living in the sin of gluttony.  (Yes, overeating is a sin)   


This type of thing  "irritating me" is pretty much the pot calling the kettle black.  

 Can I call  what in the cat hair  on myself?? 

 No more lame I’ll do it tomorrow crap. Tomorrow never comes.  Believe me, I know.  That is why lately I am dragging my sorry self to the elliptical every morning at 6:30 am. 

 And why I am weighing in weekly with a friend...   And why I am doing stretches and sit ups in the evening this summer instead of laying on the couch watching boring re-runs on TV- (well, maybe stretching while I am watching the re-runs) 

  NOW is the time, NOT tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, Annie!


What about you? 

  Time for a “shape up” of your spiritual condition?  Or are you content to be flabby, slovenly and lazy in that area of your life as well?  What if God told us all to “shape up or ship out”.  Would we be willing to get our spiritual house “ship shape”?  Or would we put it all off til tomorrow?.....

For me, I know NOW is the time to get my physical as well as my spiritual self  "Shaped Up"!    When you are OLD like I am, you don't know how many more chances you will get:)  

Join Me?

2 Corinthians 6:2 (NIV) 

For he says,“In the time of my favor I heard you,  

and in the day of salvation I helped you."  

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, TODAY is the day of salvation.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hot Pursuit!

Stalkers are pretty much nutty.  They relentlessly pursue their prey until jail or death or the psychiatric hospital catches up with them.

 I looked at a website recently about the 15 nuttiest stalkers, and the one who stood out to me was John Hinckley Jr.  He really was NOT stalking Ronald Regan when he tried to shoot him.  In actuality, he was in the middle of stalking actor Jodie Foster, and decided being an assassin would really impress her greatly. 


 Say what?  Ms Foster was attending Yale University at the time, and Hinckley’s relentless pursuit of her was not paying off for him.  That is when he got the brilliant idea to assassinate a president. In his insanity, he felt like that would get her attention. He came from an affluent oil baron Texas family, and to this day lives in a psychiatric hospital in Washington DC.  Oddly, Jodi Foster chooses many roles in thriller movies where stalkers abound, like the  FBI  intern/trainee in “Silence of the Lambs.  What in the Cat Hair? Kinda Yuck all the way around.  

In the old TV show/movie  "The Fugitive"  Richard Kimble was wrongly accused of being a killer.  He had to go into the life of a "fugitive", and he relentlessly pursued the real killer the "one armed man"  while a US Marshall relentlessly pursued him.  Good fodder for TV/the movies- when I was a kid we religiously watched that tv show with David Janssen.   

I was  always on pins and needles chewing my fingernails hoping his relentless pursuit of the yucky one armed man would pay off.  Of course it did not until the last episode of the last season:)

Relentless pursuit does not always have to be yucky though.  Moms can track their kids whereabouts like radar.  Now with GPS devices in phones it is so much easier than when my kids were out there!  My oldest used to say I had spies everywhere and eyes in the back of my head.  YUP.  And proud of it:)


This last Sunday at church I had the privilege of listening to my son be the guest speaker for Youth Sunday.  While he won’t win a preaching award this year, he may have a future in the field. We were VERY  proud of him.   He spoke of the relentless pursuit our God has for us.  He longs to be in relationship with us, and never gives up.   Period.  Our Savior give the phrase "hot pursuit"  a whole new meaning. Evan spoke about his God relentlessly following him to Alaska, where he was on a mission trip last summer.  It was there he gave a final surrender to his Jesus.

Here are a couple of questions for you:

1.Are you relentlessly pursuing your relationship with your God?  When is the last time you pursued HIM ?   Relentlessly.

2.God’s relentless pursuit of YOU is awesome.  He won’t give up on you, and you can’t hide from him-ever. He will stalk you until you surrender. 

3.If you take time to read it , God's Word gives us a pretty good idea of how much he wants to be in relationship with us:

2 Chronicles 16:9
 “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, searching for those whose hearts are completely His.”

 And THAT is a good thing.