Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I must learn to label and tag my posts so that when I wonder, "Did I already write about that?", I can figure that out. I'm thinking a lot about stewardship lately and I may have written about it before, but I am going to write about it again!

Stewardship is often viewed as just being about money. We talk about that a lot at church and in our families. We listen to Dave Ramsey or Crown Financial (or both), we try to be mindful of the fact that the money belongs to God and we are simply keepers of it and need to use it in a way that is pleasing to Him. And we try to be careful through all of this process that we are not focusing too much on money and how we use it. Sometimes the budget and the stewardship process can jump in and become the idol that the money used to be!

I think that there is more to stewardship than just money and I am trying to be more careful about that. How am I using my time? Larry Burkett used to say that he could look at someone's checkbook and know what their priorities are. What about the Day-Timer? How much time to I spend on the computer each day? How much time to I spend in the kitchen cooking? (I love to cook but I am realizing the last few weeks that food has become too important to me) How much time is spent watching TV? How much time am I spending reading "fun" books? How much time am I spending with God? It's a little frightening when I start looking at things from that perspective. It is revealing to see where my time is going and be confronted with what my priorities really are (sometimes not what I would say my priorities are). There are things that have to be done each day; cleaning, laundry, cooking, whatever the work is for the day that God has put on your plate. Am I working efficiently to get these things done well, or am I dragging my feet and spending more time on a task than is necessary? I fuss at my son when I ask him to do something and it seems to take too long, but is that what God is thinking when He sees me doing the things He asks me to do? (probably not, because He is God and He is much more patient with His children than I am with mine!) How good of a steward am I really being with my time?

Coming soon....energy stewardship!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Believe it or not, there is a reason I have not posted anything new since January 10th...and it is not just because I am a recovering Presbyterian (the three P's of Presbyterianism are Predestination, Procreation, and Procrastination). I have wanted that link to Jill Austin's article about the Master Potter to stay available.

One year ago this week, William Bronner Burgess, the 2 year old son of Rick and Sherry Burgess, died. If you happen to have missed the story and the follow-up I would suggest you check out rickandbubba.com where there are links to Bronner's story and the message Rick preached at Bronner's funeral.

Rick's message had a huge impact on a lot of people. The unexpected death of such a young child forced a lot of people to realize that we are not immortal. There was a lot of re-examining of priorities and consideration of what really matters in this life. God used this situation to draw many people to Himself. Many others realized that their walk with Jesus was not what it needed to be and recommitted themselves to Him.

I am curious how we are doing? Has this impact continued? Are we closer to Jesus now than we were one year ago? This is something that should be regularly considered by God's people whether walking through troubled and difficult times or not. Am I living life today any differently than I was last week, last month, last year or am I simply floating along marking time? When I pose such questions (whether it is on a blog or through a conversation) I must examine myself first and I must be confessional before I ask anyone else to be honest with me.

This year has been spiritually one of the hardest I have had in a while. I have allowed circumstances to overwhelm me too often and have been more concerned about how these circumstances have affected me than about how these circumstances can be used by God for His glory. I have plenty of people in my life (loving, Godly friends) who are quick to remind me that I am only human and tell me that my expectations of myself are too high. I am only human. I am only able to accomplish so much....in my own strength. But I am not called to rely on MY strength and when I do I am setting myself up for failure. I am called to rely on the Spirit of God for strength that flows from Him. This strength is only acquired through a close walk with God ~ spending time reading the love letter He has given me and conversing with Him. One of my mottoes is that the only way to know God's will is to know God, and the only way to know God is by daily immersing myself in His word.

I have a few goals this year. I want to be a better steward of the money, the time and the energy God has given me. In order to do this I must regularly consider what my priorities are. If my priority of being a better money steward is just so that we can purchase a home this year, I may or may not succeed. If my goal of being a better steward of my time is so that I can feel better about how I am spending my time, I may or may not succeed. But if my goal in these matters is to de-emphasize ME and re-emphasize JESUS in my life and if I am relying on His strength to enable me to do this FOR HIS GLORY, I am on the right track.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Yes, I have been absent for a time. Everything is fine with our family; it just got a little more chaotic than we wanted or anticipated between Thanksgiving and the New Year. We are all doing well.

As a teen, I had the privilege on a couple of occasions to hear Keith Green in concert. Keith's concerts weren't really concerts any more than Charles Spurgeon's sermons and books are nice little homilies. Keith's music was (and continues to be) powerful tools of ministry and it had a profound impact on my life. Keith died many years ago along with two of his children. He left behind a loving, pregnant wife and another child. His wife Melody continued her husband's ministry, Last Days Ministries, and serves the Lord whole-heartedly in every way she can to this day. During his life, Keith was often criticized for his teaching and his unorthodox style of ministry, but He was determined to serve God in the way God asked him to serve. Melody has also received her share of criticism but she, too, continues to serve God in the way the He asks her to serve.
Earlier this week, she sent out an email asking for prayer for Jill Austin. Jill was critically ill and in urgent need of prayer. As I read the email, my nursing back-ground came in to play and my prayer was that God would heal her, even if it meant permanent, ultimate healing. Tonight I received an email that Jill has indeed been permanently and completely healed. Her body is dead. Her soul is safely home with Jesus.
All of this is a precursor to a rather lengthy post. Melody Green has posted on her website an article written by Jill. I would like to strongly urge each of you to follow the posted link and carefully read this article. I believe that this teaching very much needs to be read and understood by Christians in this day. I pray that the power of this message will have an impact on your life as it has on mine. The message from Jill is important. The message from God to His people that He gave through Jill is vital.