Ministry

“You got the gravy on my chicken” … that was how my night began serving Urban poor here in Indianapolis. A soup kitchen style serving opportunity, I was simply there to observe, to learn, to think through how we could mobilize people and encourage their spiritual growth.

In reality it was my own spiritual growth that was challenged.

Those words rang out on my very first scoop. I had failed. I looked at the woman in disbelief and thought … “I am here to serve, who cares if some of the gravy got on the chicken, shouldn’t we just be thankful for a hot dinner”

And then I stopped.

I stopped and I made eye contact and I saw myself. I saw a woman with two arms and two legs. A woman with a brain and a voice and an opinion. A woman who longed for relationships, not only with others but with her Heavenly Father.

And then it hit me. Why is it okay for me to not want my gravy to touch my chicken, but its not okay for this woman to simply want the same thing?

And in that moment I realized that we’re really all the same. Sure our stories and our situations lead us different places and into different circumstances, but when you boil it all down we all are made by God and loved by Him. We have minds of our own and opinions and simply because you’re different than me doesn’t mean that you don’t matter.

In that moment I was reminded that we have a God who loves us through our faults, the judgements we pass on others, and the circumstances we find ourselves in. A God who loves us at our worst and longs for a relationship wtih us even when we don’t want one with Him.

A heavenly Father who places people in our lives who are willing to complain about their gravy simply so that He can show us that we’re really all the same and in the end I wasn’t there to serve, but to be reminded that we’re all just human.

I think sometimes in church ministry we have a way of losing our own way – forgetting the very thing God is doing all around us, because well – it’s all around us. This song stopped me in my tracks as I listened to the words and was reminded that every person has a story and every baptism was once a broken life

Video  —  Posted: November 23, 2012 in Ministry, Videos

Worry – Strong Challenge

Posted: September 7, 2012 in Bible, Life

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“but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well…do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33-34

As we begin the Strong Challenge this week I find myself struggling with worry. In the midst of planning a wedding, my life upside down (for the good) as I met and will marry my best friend all in nine months, and am experiencing transitions in ministry as a new pastor has come on board this year, the financial burdens that weddings bring, and a million other things … I find myself caught in the trap of worry.

However God doesn’t leave us where we are and He promises that by seeking His kingdom and His righteousness He will provide.

So, as I regain my focus and place it back on God and the mighty things He can do I am turning my worries over to God, seeking His kingdom and His righteousness and asking Him to take the worry that has crept into my life lately.

What strongholds are in your life that you need to give to God?

Music Monday

Posted: March 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

Last night was one of my favorite nights.  We do it a couple times a year and it is always amazing.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  We have a ton of fun roadshows come to Northview and weekend worship is always amazing.  But the Night of Worship that we do a couple times a year is always over the top … equivalent to any top road concert show you could purchase tickets to.

As I reflected and joined others in worship tonight I realized that these nights are my favorite because I get to worship with my family of God.  I looked up on the stage and I saw story after story that represented God’s saving grace and His hand in some messy details over the years … broken and restored people on stage, all around me, even myself.  It wasn’t a show with great music and random people I knew nothing about of God’s redeeming power in their life, but instead friends who were a testimony to that very redeeming power.

It was an all-around amazing night!  This was the final song and one of my favorites!

 

3/21

Posted: March 21, 2012 in Kids, Life

Today is National Down Syndrome Day.  It is a day that honors those who have a third chromosome on each twenty-first chromosome.  Over the years I have crossed paths with many who have Down Syndrome, but recently I have had the opportunity to walk alongside friends in their journey with a child who has Down Syndrome.

Seeing life through their eyes has impacted my life.  It has reminded me of the simplicity and beauty of life.  Of a God who doesn’t make mistakes and who created each and everyone of us.  A God who answers the simplest of prayers – even those that seem silly to us sometimes asking a great big God for something that seems like a minor detail.  A reminder of how God is in our daily lives, is the Creator, loves each of us and has a plan for each of our lives.  A reminder of the innocence of children who see a sibling, not a child with special needs.

There are many words used to describe children and adults who have special needs – and many of those words aren’t right and erase the idea that God is the creator of all people – not just those who look or act as society says they should.  I hear the “R” word a lot and I cringe each time I hear it.  It isn’t a word to be used flippantly.  It is a derogatory word towards God’s very creation.

So as you wrap up National Down Syndrome Day, I encourage you to allow your life to be impacted by someone who has Down Syndrome.  You will see life in a new light and will be impacted more than you would ever expect.

Scenes

Posted: March 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

Below are thoughts on Steven Futrick’s sermon – A Better Story: Four Reasons Our Stories Struggle.  You can listen to his entire message by clicking here.

ImageGraduation. First Job. Divorce. Fat. Break-Up. Birth. Marriage. Fit. Transition.

They are words that we use to define us, to define life.  They are happy, sad, hard, difficult terms that help us to wrap our human brains around what we’re experiencing and what others are experiencing as well.

But, they are so much more than that.  They are words that describe our lives, that describe us.  People created and loved by God.  His very own creation.

Each of these words describes a scene, a scene in a story that is our life.  A story that can only be made up by the scenes we’ve faced – the very scenes God knew all along we’d face and was standing right beside us as we faced them – and will be standing along side us as we face more.

There are scenes where we hurt and others where we are triumphant, but they make us who we are and point us to a God who is more than we can ever imagine.

Looking back over my life I see scenes that made me the person I am today. Some of those scenes were burdensome and hard.  My parents divorce, a situation in college when helping hurt tremendously, a battle with a food allergy.  Yet, those scenes have played a part in my story.  Have taught me who I am, what to look for in a mate, how to draw boundaries – and stick to them, and even discipline.

There have been other scenes where triumph has been the story line – varsity sports, jobs, and even relationships.  These things have also taught me who I am, how to lead, work hard, be disciplined, and get along with other.

Ultimately, no matter what scene you’re in – God is there, He’s there in the darkness, the light, the good, the bad, the dirty, and the nice and neat – He’s writing your story and it’s part of His story.  A story of joy, acceptance, and peace.  A story of never-ending love.

 

Crafty Creation

Posted: February 12, 2012 in Life

I’ve had the opportunity the past few months to help one of my best friends prepare for and celebrate her wedding. Since it was a destination wedding the reception was held today for family and friends who were unable to attend.

For me, I LOVE having sand or shells as a keepsake. In fact, I have shells from the beach of the Indian Ocean in South Africa, the Pacific Ocean of Equador and the Atlantic Ocean of the United States. So, I knew I wanted to make something special for my friend with the sand and shells from Fort Morgan Beach, Alabama – the site of her wedding!

Below is the gift I made for my friend. It was super simple and easy to make!

In the bottle is sand, shells and debris from the ceremony site. Also in there is strips of her wedding invitation including her name, his name, the date of the ceremony, and a small printed starfish! Hobby Lobby has tons of glass bottles that fit all types of decor!

Have fun creating!

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The T Word

Posted: January 25, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Transition. It can be ugly, freeing, and ultimately life changing.

Yet, it is something we shy from. We want life to be predictable and the honest truth is that it isn’t. If it were we wouldn’t need God, we wouldn’t need our reliance on Him, we wouldn’t learn to trust or to be on our knees.

Ultimately, what I’ve learned over the last ten years is that life IS transition. It is one of the very things that God uses to shape us and to help us rely on Him.

I am in the thick of transition and have been for many months, but what I’ve realized is that no matter whether I’m in the thick of a large transition or in the midst of daily life, there is constant change all around me AND in me.

Transition is life, it is messy and wonderful all in the same. It stretches us, grows us, and shapes us in to the person who God wants us to be.

Photo365 – Day 11

Posted: January 13, 2012 in Life, Photography

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Discipline

Posted: January 6, 2012 in Food, Life

Discipline. The dictionary defines it as the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior.

Simply hearing the word makes me think of hard work, determination, and perseverance. Growing up I knew I needed to have discipline to succeed, but I don’t know that I truly grasp what the word discipline meant.

Turn the clock back five years to 2006 – I’m a junior in college and have been struggling with unidentified food allergy symptoms for 3-4 years and they are increasingly getting worse. I’m now at the point where I’m choking on foods due to a swelling throat – it is a frustrating time. It’s also the time when I would discover the root cause of the issue and receive an official diagnosis of a food allergy for the first time.

This is where my journey of discipline began. I am allergic to corn. In America we use corn in nearly everything – foods, medicines, even paper products. The only answer is avoidance … avoidance of foods I dearly loved and a complete revolution of lifestyle. For the first time I began cooking from scratch, watching what I ate, and establishing safe and healthy eating habits.

In this instance discipline was easier (I won’t say easy!) because there is an immediate, physical consequence. But it taut me so much about what it means to be disciplined.

God calls us to lead a life of discipline and devotion to Him. While there’s no immediate
consequence when we don’t spend time with Him it leaves us with a void in our life – a void we fill with worldly things.

Everyday we choose what we’ll be disciplined about – the things we’ll do and not do and who we’ll receive our devotion.

Are you disciplined? Who receives your devotion?