Nick performed his first wedding this last weekend in Corona, CA. He’s a big-time pastor now! :)
I was reading Eph chapter 1 this week and in my time of journaling, I decided to paraphrase what I was reading into more of a poem…kindof…
Anyway, reading this really gave me much needed perspective about the grand plan of God, and what an incredible story my life finds its place in.
Before the world began, God was forming a people to be His own
a holy, blameless, devoted family
He created us, and adopted us into His family
to demonstrate His grace, and to simply bless us.
Through Jesus, we’ve been given redemption, freedom, and forgiveness
He showed that His will and ultimate plan is the redemption of all things
the unification of creation and creator
He made us, chose us, and blessed us to use us in this great plan.
He not only saved us, but promised us a coming perfect eternal life
where the entire world will be as it was intended to be
everything will be right
He is already working to bring this about
we know because we can see it happening through the Spirit
the Spirit He freely gave us when we said “yes” to Christ
The gift of the Spirit is an assurance, a sort of downpayment
toward the coming fullness of relationship with God
the restoration of all things
Our God is praised forever
This is God’s great work
This is our story.
from Eph. 1:3-14
This last weekend a few of us spent time praying for north orange county. The verse that kept coming to mind reads, “taste and see that the Lord is good.” may this be a year that we not only hear about God or think of Him, but to taste Him - to experience the real Jesus…
I’ve been reading a book called Celebration of the Disciplines by Richard Foster, and I can’t get enough of it. He does such a beautiful job of making a case for practicing the spiritual disciplines for the sake of falling more in love with Jesus and spiritual growth. They were never meant to be a measuring stick of how great of a Christian you are, nor are the disciplines some kind of law-abiding act to absolve guilt or ensure God’s favor. They are simply ways we can engage with this beautiful journey God is leading us on - the journey of becoming more like Christ.
"By themselves the spiritual disciplines can do nothing, they can only get us to the place where something can be done. They are God’s means of grace The inner righteousness we seek is not something that is poured on our heads. God has ordained the disciplines of the spiritual life as the means by which we place ourselves where he can bless us."
This idea came to mind last night as a friend of mine was praying before church. His prayer painted the picture of a ship raising its sails to catch the wind of God’s spirit.
To me, this brought to life the idea that Foster is talking about. The spiritual disciplines are simply our way of raising our sails and putting ourselves in a place where God can breathe His spirit and direct us where He will. A sailboat with no sails lifted is not going anywhere - (apart from some kind of unnatural action a.k.a. - an act of God) In the same way, we have a part to play in our spiritual growth. It is God who does the work, but it is our work to make ourselves receptive to His speaking, leading, working.
Instead of waiting for God to show up as idly wait for Him to do something great…what if I made my heart ready, and raised my sails through prayer, service, meditation, fasting, celebration, community, solitude, and thankfulness. I wonder where He might lead me then…
HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Like most people, I have a bit of a hard time sticking to resolutions. Usually I make way too many that are way too drastic, and then I get way to weighed down by the disappointment of not being able to keep them up, so this year I’m trying something new.
Well. Actually I ripped the idea off from my friend Bo - you should check out her blog - www.bostern.wordpress.com. Instead of resolutions she does “More or Less,” listing things she hopes to experience more or less of in the next year.
So, here’s my More or Less for 2011
* Cook more (recipes appreciated - especially gluten-free ones)
* eat out less
* have our own space more :) we are moving into our own little house on January 20th! We are so excited. Check it out:
* give away more
* buy less
* exercise more
* spend more time enjoying Jesus
* worry less
* listen more
* have people over for dinner (or lunch, or breakfast) more.
*sit in traffic less (but sing in traffic more)
*watch the disneyland fireworks more
*write more songs
*invest in others’ lives, needs, and dreams more.
any less or more for you?
I know it’s a bit cliche or commonplace to do an end-of-the-year blogpost…but what can I say, things tend to catch on for a reason. I like the practice of looking back, reflecting and appreciating. So if it takes Dec. 31 to get me doing that…so be it.
So here are some of “the bests” of 2010. This is not at all a comprehensive list, but just some things that came to mind.
best technology acquired - well… it’s a tie between the iphone 4 and my livescribe pen. You don’t need me to tell you about the iphone, but let me tell you about this pen!
this thing somehow magically duplicates everything I write in my special journals and makes a copy on my computer, I can sync them to my evernote on my phone. I will never lose my notes again. Also, it can record audio for hours. Maybe you have to be a bit of a nerd like me to appreciate this, but it’s AWESOME. (if this was nick’s blog, he would for sure say his ipad.)
best date: This is a hard one because we’ve had so many great ones, but the one that comes to mind is - we took an all-day-beach-day. It was after summer was over so the beaches were quiet, but still very warm. We walked on the strand in the morning, watching the surfers wipe out in the big breaks, then we went to have pizza at BJ’s - our favorite (don’t forget the pazookie) and then we rented this electric lounger pontoon boat thing. It was awesome. It’s like a giant floating lawn chair with a little motor, and we cruised through Newport harbor. The weather was perfect, and everything inside me felt content, to be with Nick, to be in the beautiful sunshine, to be floating atop the beautiful pacific, and simply to be.
best book read: Well, apart from the Bible…I would have to say this year’s top choice would be The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer. Each page left me inspired, convicted, and most of all longing for more of Jesus. It doesn’t get much better than that.
best hike: Ok. This one is a tie too. One was stunningly beautiful, new, and extremely intense. One was calm, peaceful, beautiful, and just-plain-happy. Mt. Timpanogos, Utah, was by far the most difficult hike I’ve ever taken, but the views were breathtaking. Nick, his Dad Kim, and I scaled nearly 13,000 feet and still didn’t reach it’s highest point. It was incredible, and I don’t know if I’ve ever been so tired after anything in my life.
The other hike was one Nick and I took on a beautiful Sunday afternoon through Crystal Cove, in Laguna. The weather was perfect, the conversation was wonderful, and the ocean was so deep blue and calming. At one point we stopped to sit on a big chunk of driftwood, and I said, “Nick, wouldn’t it be so cool if we could see some dolphins today.” Before he could even reply, he started laughing and pointing. I looked up to see a pod of dolphins leaping through the waves probably 25 yards from us. That doesn’t happen every day.
best night at church: About a month ago in Fullerton we had a remarkable night together. Something happened during worship, where God seemed to make himself known, and change up our plans for the night. We ended up pausing the normal schedule of the service to wait on him, pray for each other and respond in worship - even before the sermon was preached, and it was an incredible encounter with God. It’s hard to put into words, but I left that night so thankful for a God who is real, living, active, and involved in our lives and our church.
best thing I did for myself: I got another shoulder surgery. That sounds funny as the best thing I did for myself, but seriously it was. My health insurance allowed me to see a great doctor who did an operation that has finally taken away my chronic shoulder pain. I am pain-free and sleeping through the night for the first time in 6 years. What a gift. I’m very thankful to Nick who had to play nurse for days on end, and even slept on the floor beside me since I had to be on the couch…what a guy.
best purchase: In July, 2010, we bought Jade:
(notice the guy sleeping on the bench - best part of this picture)
Jade is our 2009 Toyota Corolla. We LOVE her. The brakes work. The radio works. The gas works (and gets miles and miles more on a single tank than our previous cars), and we got her for an amazing price. We’re thankful to God for a reliable car. We’re hoping to still be driving her in 2025.
Well…these are just some of the best parts of 2010. It has been the best year of my life so far. Here’s to a great 2011.
what are some of your bests?
I LOVE games…I mean love them. I don’t know why exactly, but I’m pretty much up for playing a game any time. Board games, card games, wii games, arcade games - I love them all. If there is a potential to win, I want to play. My brother and sister in law send us at least one game every year for someone’s birthday or Christmas or something, and I still get excited every time. (this year we got UNO Flash…holy smokes! I can’t keep up)
In the time since Nick and I got married we have spent countless nights playing Yahtzee, I’m not sure how it became our game of choice, maybe because it’s one that still pretty fun even when you only have two people, but we have probably played at least 50 times in our 18 months of marriage. The thing is… I’ve only won once, yes, you heard me - ONCE. (In fact I still have the scorecard of that winning game saved) For some crazy reason, Nick has a sick ability to roll Yahtzees. He rolls at least one almost every single game he plays. It’s nutty. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s why we play it so much - he loves it because he keeps winning, and I want to keep playing because I’m desperate to finally win.
We played again tonight - and again…he rolled a few yahtzees. The picture at the top proves it. But there was one consolation to my endless losing… Grandma beat him! In fact, she KILLED us both at the game. She got over 100 points just on the top part. So, if I still couldn’t win this time…at least Grandma could.
Playing games has been such a great part of our marriage - there is something about it that is so much more interactive than watching a movie, so much more lighthearted than our intense (and wonderful) conversations about the world, or the kingdom of God. Games are just simple, careless enjoyment. I hope, like Grandma, to still be playing, laughing, and (finally) winning at 82 years old.
Anyone have a favorite game we should try out?