Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Trip to CT: Jesus is Enough

**I still can't get Blogger to insert my pictures at my cursor where I'd like them to come in the narrative. So, here are the pictures part of my post! Picture #1. Child #1, B, age 4 and 11 months. Picture #2. Child #2 E, age 2 and 3 months. Picture #3. Child #3. T, age 3 months.**

My dear friends the C's left this area of north Texas to follow God's call to pastor a tiny church plant in Stoors, CT last August and I hadn't seen them since. My heart was aching to see them and the latest addition to the family, T, born in December, before E's 2nd birthday.

I was able to redeem some frequent flyer miles and go up last week for a visit. I can't tell you how good it was to see this precious family - it was way past time to fill up my love tank. The girls had grown bigger; 2 yr old E was talking so much more now (most to me still unintelligible). The baby is now 3 months and a smiley happy laid-back fellow (good traits to have as a third born). Nearly 5 yr old B is more independent and just older. Seems like she was the 3 month old not so long ago - where does the time go!?!

When my friends A&B were preparing to go up to CT and were raising their support last summer, I found it astonishing that less than 1% of CT are believers. That state, like many in the northern US, is less evangelized than parts of Africa! The church plant is 3 years old and meets on the campus of UCONN. The majority of the congregation is college students but my friends A&B are trying to reach out to families as well to have a more diverse body of believers there.

I was surprised by how rural the area is. It seems nothing is "on the way to" anything else and it's not easy to "run and get errands done" like it was/is here in north Texas. It has been a large adjustment for them on a variety of levels and they have learned and continue to learn many lessons. One that my friend B said she is learning over and over again - in various ways - is that Jesus is enough. Moving thousands of miles away from all your friends and family with a 4 year old, 1.5 year old and you're 7 months pregnant? Jesus is enough. Only 1other couple in the church with kids? Jesus is enough. Not knowing whether you'll get paid on Friday so you can buy groceries to feed your children? Jesus is enough.

I sat there and soaked in what she was saying and was simultaneously humbled and encouraged. Encouraged that people I know would give up a fairly comfortable life of ministry in a church they'd been with for 10 years to go to "who knows where" just to tell people about Jesus. Humbled because if Jesus is enough for them in their stark circumstances, then He most assuredly is enough for me in mine.

And, praise the Lord, Jesus is Enough in another way as well - this week especially as my mind is more focused on it (though every day I should remember to be thankful) - He paid in full the sin debt I owed to God the Father. The payment of Jesus' shed innocent blood on the cross where He died for all my sin (and yours) is enough (hallelujah!) to rescue me from eternal death! I have salvation through His death and resurrection - His triumph over death and sin and the grave! JESUS IS ENOUGH!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Holy Is He

"Holy is He
and great is His glory
Holy is He
and worthy of our praise

"I stand in His presence amazed
and crown Him with worship and praise

Holy is He
Holy is He
Holy is He"

[lyrics by Claire Clonlinger, music by David Clydesdale]

The choir sang one of my favorite songs in church yesterday. I didn't copy down all the lyrics, but above are the words to the chorus. I found the lyrics in their entirity online here.

I was reminded yesterday why the Bible tells us not to neglect assemblying for corporate worship and fellowship.

Because while I can watch my church service live online, I miss out on the fellowship and physical corporate worship that way.

Going to church has become a struggle as of late because every time I do, I get a migraine due to the lights in my Sunday School (Bible study, small group) class room. I wear sunglasses to help but that just delays the migraine from coming on until I can get home. The rest of the day after church is a wash, I get nothing done because I'm either laying in bed with my eyemask on, or on the couch watching TV with the volume way down (when I get migraines, I become very light and sound sensitive).

But yesterday, the fellowship and encouragement and teaching from the Word I received by going were worth the migraine that ensued.

Because, as my SS class teacher says, we are hard-wired for fellowship - that's the way the Lord made us - and we're just not whole without it.

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me about the importance of being together with the rest of your Body, the church. Forgive me for neglecting the privilege I have in this country of worshipping freely. Help me to choose you and your people over everything else.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

An Undeserved Random Act of Kindness

So, just now on the way back to the office from running errands on my lunch hour, I stopped through the Starbucks drive-through. I literally hardly ever do this. But I was going right by there and I have been craving this chocolate chip milk like drink I had had in CA at Christmastime and their amazing chocolate graham crackers.

Well, my time was running short and I was in a hurry to get back so as not to be late. I was annoyed with the lady ahead of me in line who had ordered but hadn't moved when the car before her did because she was playing with her phone, so I honked my horn at her. (Obnoxious, I know, I shouldn't have....) She looked at her rear view mirror at me and then back at her phone, though she did pull up to where she should have.

When I got to the window the guy said "actually, the lady in front of you paid for you".

Splat. That was the sound of my pride smacking against the wall. Here I had been obnoxious to her and in turn, she showed me a random act of kindness.

I was so convicted. I'm a Christian. I should be showing people the random acts of kindness instead of being the ticked off hurried person that can't wait a couple more minutes in the Starbucks line. I vowed that I am going to pay it back. The next time I'm in the drive-through for anything (other than the bank!) I'm going to pay for the person behind me.

Because an undeserved random act of kindness, if nothing else, should spur one to pay it forward.