Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A season to plant

This message of grace is the most exciting life that I’ve ever encountered. For years, I struggled as a believer and then a number of years ago, God started to turn my spiritual life upside down. The beginning stages were the most difficult of my life and I honestly thought I’d never make it. However, even in the difficult times, God was there making himself real. As the initial feelings of disorientation disappeared, I experienced an excitement and joy that I wanted to share.

I think all of us who are growing and getting established in grace have experienced a desire to see people set free. However, in our excitement, we can easily try to push them beyond where they are ready to go. It’s like trying to feed a newborn baby a steak and a baked potato. Its little digestive system is not ready for adult food and it’ll choke. If we continue to try to feed it this type of food, it’ll choke the life out of the child.

Ecclesiastes talks about there being a season for everything. There’s a season for planting and a season for harvest. Right now, it’s snowing outside. BTW, the last time we remember having this much snow was 6 years ago. The snow is beautiful but this isn’t a time for me to go out into the yard and try to plant watermelon seeds. If I expect a harvest, I have to wait for the right season and so it is with sharing this message of grace and freedom.

I believe we need to have ears to hear and eyes to see where each person is on their journey. Perhaps they can only handle a tiny morsel at this time. Maybe, they can’t handle anything. If that’s the case, sometimes it’s best to say nothing and to allow God to get them ready. He knows when it’s harvest time and he’ll send them the message at the right time by the right messenger. If, we’re not willing to wait, I believe we can cause a lot of hurt and make it more difficult for others to receive the message at the right season.

As I was thinking about this, I remembered that Darin Hufford has a blog that describes what happens when people are pushed into accepting Jesus before they are ready. I believe Darin has great insight as he explains the dangers of giving spiritual birth prematurely. I think you’ll enjoy reading what he has to say.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"Recover Your Good Heart" online study

Sunday night was the first night of Joel’s online study of Jim Robbins’ book “Recover Your Good Heart.” There were seven of us who took part and we didn’t get very far into the study but we did have a good time.

It was a slow beginning while Joel took care of some techie stuff. While we were waiting, the rest of us talked and got to know each other. Although unplanned, this was one of my favorite parts. Other than Joel, I had really interacted with only one other person so it was great making new friends and getting to know people that I had only known by name.

The actual study consisted in discussing the five questions Jim asks in his introduction. This generated some great discussion and helped us to focus on where we'll be heading as a group in the next few weeks. We had some really great comments considering that most participants hadn’t read either the book or the workbook.

When Joel first mentioned this study, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to participate but I finally decided to give it a try primarily because of my friendship with Joel and Ron. I think the first night went well and I really enjoyed our time together.

The second study will be this Sunday night and, if you think you’d like to participate, it’s not too late to join in. For more details, check out Joel’s invitation at Grace Roots.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A story of love and grace

This is an amazing story of love in action. I believe this group of believers had Father's heart of love and chose to share that love with those who were lonely and hurting.

Warning. You might want to have some tissues ready.

Flying in V formation

2009 is here and 2008 is now history. As I look back on 2008, I’m amazed at what Father has accomplished in my life as well as in the church. It’s been a year filled with adventure as he continued to set the church free from religious mindsets. New blogs and websites were started to share his love and grace.

This blogging community has been a source of major encouragement for me. I found my first blog, Grace Roots, in the fall of 2007. The blogs posted there were so encouraging that I decided to add a few comments. Then, I followed a trail of links and found other blogs. How exciting to find a small group of believers who thought like I did!

Prior to that, I felt very alone. I knew Father was showing me some things but I didn’t know who to share them with or who would share with me. It was a very lonely time in my life but as I began to connect with this awesome group of bloggers, the loneliness lifted and I felt like Father had given me a community of believers and friends.

In January, I couldn’t resist the call any longer and I started my own blog. That was a major adventure for someone who is technologically challenged. At that point, the only thing I really knew how to do online was email but with the encouragement of Bino and Joel to inspire me, I began this blog. Because of all of the emails I’ve sent Joel asking for technological assistance, he may wish he hadn’t been so encouraging.

I look at this community of bloggers as friends and family. We're all on unique journeys and I believe the story of geese flying in a V formation is a beautiful analogy of us as believers traveling on our journeys. Although we're traveling alone, we're also traveling together.

I believe we can learn much from the description of why geese fly in a V formation. I'm sure most of you have heard this before but maybe, as we approach 2009, it'll be a reminder to us of why Father has placed us in community. I copied and pasted the following from a blog named Leadership in Perspective.

Happy New Year to all of you. I look forward to continuing this journey with you in 2009.

Synergy - Why do geese fly in a V formation?

We have a lot to learn from these geese.

By flying in "V" formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
=>People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.
=>If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are heading in the same direction as we are.

When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.
=> It pays to take turns doing hard jobs, with people or with flying geese.

These geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
=> We need to be careful what we say when we honk from behind.

Finally, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow him down to help and protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead, and then they launch out on their own or with another formation until they catch up with their group.
=> If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other, protect one another and sometimes make new friends who seem to be going in our direction.