A Passionate Pursuit! ( God…. I don’t want to die a Bachelor)

Originally written May 1, 2017
He was 16 yrs old and scared to death he might die a bachelor as his mentor and 80 some year old friend who he affectionately called Brother Toby was.
Brother Toby was a man in the church my husband grew up in, he was a bachelor all his life. My husband Jeff had looked up to him all his life and suddenly at the ripe old age of 16 my husband decides there is 1 thing for sure he does not want to follow Brother Toby’s footsteps in and that is, He doesn’t want to be a bachelor.
So the story I’ve been told is Jeff begin to pray ” Oh, Lord Please don’t let me be a bachelor! “.  It just so happened that Jeff’s home church was without a pastor and Jeff”s dad was the head deacon at the time and therefore, he had all the resume’s of prospective pastors. So, Jeff decides what better wife to have than a preachers daughter and since Jeff was on the hunt, because in his mind, time was a wasting. Jeff decides to sneak into his fathers office and search the family pictures sent with the pastoral resumes to find the pastor with the daughter that Jeff had decided he would marry. It just so happened my father had submitted his resume to the church and I am told, that Jeff narrowed the pictures of the preachers daughter’s down from the top 10, to 5 to, 3 and then you guessed it…… me!
To make a long story short, I guess you could say the rest is History! There were several sets of circumstances but my father ultimately became the pastor and 4 yrs later Jeff and I were married at the ripe old ages 17 and 20.
Jeff was determined that I was going to be his wife, and apparently God was in favor of that because of the circumstances that followed.
You know, this got me thinking……..
What separates those of us who are just attending church and those of us who are being the church? Jeff could of been the typical teenage boy who dated several different girls and refused to look for any kind of real commitment at such a young age. But Jeff was on a mission, He had a what I would call a “God given desire” that he would not let anyone or anything distract him from. The fact is when Jeff heard a group of boys from the church talking about trying to pursue me, he step right up and told them “She is mine, so don’t even bother” (and we hadn’t even met yet!) He often jokingly but rightly tells everyone that he and God are a lot alike, the both loved me first.
See Jeff was determined there was nothing casual about his persecute of me.  I think that’s what makes the difference from those attending church and those being the church. Just attending the church, is like casual dating with no expectations of commitment. Being the church is the expectation that God wants to speak to me so He can speak through me. There is an expectation of a commitment and a calling beyond ourselves when we ARE the church. If we are only attending the church we simply check it off our list, like knots on our belt in a dating relationship. We walk out the door after completing our weekly or sometimes semi or less weekly routine.  It is like you are saying “I have come and done my religious duty every Sunday and I am done” (ie going and sitting in a pew, then going home to wait to do it all over again whenever the next time that it is convenient)
Being the church is like an all in relationship, it is living a life of faith everyday expecting God to speak to you, so you can share Him with others. It was not uncommon for Jeff to claim his stake in our relationship before we had even met, the very first Sunday my father spoke at his home church. Jeff made it clear under no uncertain terms that he liked me. As my father shook hands with the people as they walked out the front door of the church. Jeff boldly proclaims before my father that ” You are gonna get this church if I have anything to do with it” When my father replies ” Oh yeah? Why?”Jeff confidently responds ” Because of your beautiful daughter” then he turned and walked away. It left my father speechless because I was only 13 yrs old at the time and still playing with barbie dolls.
If we are going to be the church, if we are going to follow in the abundant life God has called us to live. We need to approach it like an all out committed relationship, and in this day and age where, committed relationships are hard to come by. Let me challenge you to give Jesus your all. Like nothing you have ever loved before because He loves you like no one has ever loved you before.God wants to be your friend, He cares about every aspect of your life. In the book of Jeremiah, God tells His people, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness”See, He is in a committed relationship with you so much that He gave His life for you. (Which is what we just celebrated a few weeks ago) The question is, How committed are we to Him? Do we use Him like a vending machine and just call on Him when we need something or do we sincerely desire to know Him, are we committed to what His word says, we should do and are we so in captivated in His love for us that our gratitude towards Him pours out of us in the way we live our life?
Let me tell you today, that if you have only been an attender of church instead, of being the church. It is not to late. He is waiting right now with His arms out stretched. He so wants to spend more time with you and He, like my husband Jeff has never given up, even when I was not interested and totally unattracted to Jeff. Jeff never stopped loving me, he never stopped pursuing me and was waiting with open arms when I was ready. Christ is waiting on you today. There is more to this walk with Christ then just attending church and checking it off our list of things to do for the week.1 Cor. 3:16  tells us, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”  God wants to speak to you, so He can speak through you, We have a mission to share His love and life with others, but if we don’t really know Him, if we are not passionately pursuing Him. Then we aren’t being the Church, we are simply filling a pew. Go be the Church this week! Because God is passionately pursuing you.
Where There Is A Will, There Is A Way!

Where There Is A Will, There Is A Way!

Call me a sexist or old fashion, but I think it is the wife’s job to manage the home,  that means cooking, cleaning, scheduling, etc.  Now, before you start sending me any letters and tell me that we don’t live in the 1950’s
anymore. Hear me out, I am not against the man helping around the house and working together with him as a team. But, I believe the ultimate responsibility rest on the wife to make sure that the home is a place of rest and peace
when your family comes home at the end of a long day. Whether that means, doing the work herself, hiring it out or
delegating jobs to the family members. But, typically for most of us it includes, managing those that live in the house by constantly reminding them that, they need to pick up after themselves. If you have kids, then it is our job to raise them to be responsible functioning members of society .

My kids know I am not their slave. My children  know or it might be more correct to say, They have been told, to keep their things picked up. Just because they have been told doesn’t mean they always do it!

After returning home last week from being gone for a month, taking care of my son’s family because his wife has been sick. Needless to say, when I returned to my home the house wasn’t exactly up to my standards, which I
competently understand  since I had left my husband and son here by themselves and truly didn’t expect it to be. I mean it is one thing for me to come home and find some dirty dishes in the sink or dusting to be done. But the welding mask under the end table and the fishing pole and guns left in the living room was totally unacceptable. I wasn’t having any of this outdoor equipment in my living room.  When the young man that did it knows, how I feel about those things. He has a room and garage to keep that stuff in. There is no and I repeat NO need to have any of it in my living room area. I kept my cool for the first few days, asking nicely for things to be returned to their rightful place. But, after repeatedly asking my son to get his fishing pole out of our living area, I just decided to do what I have done for years when my children do not pick up their things after being asked.

See, when my children were much younger, they knew they needed to keep the living area’s for our home picked up and presentable. I have always let them live pretty much how ever they want in their bedrooms, but the shared
living areas with us and possible guests need to be kept pretty much immaculate or what I like to call “Model Home Status” I guess being raised in a minister’s home and expecting company at any time and knowing that
that company was like your father’s employer makes one be a little more nervous about what your home looks like. Plus, it isn’t uncommon for us to have unexpected guest that might end up staying for dinner or even have to
spend the night. So, I was simply raised with the fact your home and yourself must be presentable for guest at all times. Because sometimes living Behind the Parsonage Walls, can feel like living in a fish
bowl.

When my kids were growing up. They learned quickly that mom isn’t going to pick up after them. If they valued something then they needed to keep it picked up and put away, if they weren’t playing with it. Otherwise, if I
told them to pick it up and they didn’t’ I simply went and got a black trash bag and started throwing there stuff away. Now, don’t think I am “That Stupid”  I didn’t actually trash the expensive toys I or someone else
had bought for them. Nope! But they didn’t know that,  all they knew was it was going out to the garage to be put out by the curb the next trash day.

But the truth is, I would go out there weeks later, see if there was something of value in the bag and either reintegrate it back in my children’s toy box without them knowing it or give it away to some deserving kid if mine had out grown it. They still know to this day, if they don’t keep their things picked up out of our common living spaces I
will throw them out. Oh! Not in the trash anymore. I just throw it out the back door.  My son has more than once had to walk out in the snow to get his size 16 men’s shoes he left in the middle of the living room floor,
because anything that big is a tripping hazard anyway!

So, as you can imagine after a couple times of asking for a certain fishing pole to be removed from my living room when I returned home and it wasn’t, the same faint happened to his fishing pole. Well almost……you see in my
anger and yes I was angry! I sorta forgot about the hook on the end of that pole and it wasn’t just a single hook but a 3 prong one. So ,when I slung that pole out the back door, You guessed it! One of those hooks got stuck
in my hand. Wow! all of the sudden I wasn’t angry anymore and as I called for help,  Chad came out of the garage door to see the blood dripping from my hand. His eyes sunk, he knew exactly what happened. I could tell he felt
terrible.

And this got me thinking……….
Isn’t that just like us sometimes. We get all upset because we don’t get the answer we want or God doesn’t answer us when we expect Him to.  So, we get in all this fear and decide to take matters into our own hands and do
something about it ourselves and that is usually when we make our biggest mistakes. Then, like Chad, Christ doesn’t come and say I knew you were going to do this, Christ doesn’t reprimand us or make fun of us for the
mistakes we make. He just looks at us.   I imagine with this huge disappointed look on His face,  just like Chad looked at me with huge concerned in his eyes thinking. ” I was going to do it in MY time” couldn’t
you have just waited?

See, Christ isn’t there to beat us up or tell us “He told us so”  Yes, there our consequences at times when we make bad choices just as there were for me. But Christ loves us and like Chad, would do anything in the world
for me, Christ loves us too and gave His life for us, He has a plan for us also. It just isn’t always in our timing.

You know the protocol son had a similar problem in the bible he couldn’t wait for his dad to die so he
could get all his inheritance. So he asked his dad for it early and decided to go out
and live his life as he chose. Making one mistake after another. Fulfilling his own wants and dreams. Never considering what the long term consequences of his choices would be. You can read the whole story in
the book of Luke Chapter 15 and it starts at verse 11

We do that today, don’t we. We don’t like how our life is going or we don’t get exactly what we want, when we want it and there we go, off doing our own thing. with no regard to what Christ has done for us or wants for us.
We forget that we could refer to the maker of the universe who knows the past, present and future, who could give us direction and advice for the best plans for our lives. But instead we want it our way. Whether you call
yourself a follower of Christ or you simply are checking out these claims of Christ. We all are guilty of wanting our own way at least some of the time. We don’t like being told no or wait a little while. More accurately, we don’t trust Him to do it we are unwilling to wait for the answer in His time. We want OUR way and
we want it now!

If I had been more patient and waited for Chad knowing he had, had a busy weekend and would get to it. I would not of ended up in the ER with a bill I didn’t need and a bandage on my hand along with and evening wasted. Oh! and a really sore arm because those tetanus shots hurt!

I am so thankful that just like the father of the protocol son who welcomed his son home, with open arms. So does our Heavenly Father! His love for us is unconditional it doesn’t matter how many times we mess up. His love is
unexplainable and it is because of the very fact that He loves us so much that we need to trust Him more. We need to die to our own desires and trust the one who loves us unconditionally!

The choice is ours, Will we trust Christ? Will we wait Patiently? Will we accept His forgiveness and understanding when we mess up? Will we refuse to beat ourselves up for what mistakes we have made?  I urge you to accept His
love and trust Him today. Don’t let any mistake you have made keep you from knowing that you can start all over again and be welcomed into the family of God.

An Unexpected Surprise!!

An Unexpected Surprise!!

I’ve been spending a few weeks at my oldest son’s home helping with the grand-babies because of some health issues my daughter-in-law, Nicole is having. So needless to say, Jeff has missed me (and I have missed him as well). Last weekend was our 34th Anniversary and I was all buckled down totally expecting this would be the first time in 34 years we would not be able to spend our anniversary together. But I assured Jeff, we would celebrate later and it would be okay. After all, we are adults and we can do this, Right?

Friday morning as I was dressing for another doctor’s appointment Nicole was headed to, I thought it was strange that she told me we were all going. After all, it just made more sense for me to stay at home with the littles and Lee and Nicole go to the doctor. But not wanting to rock the boat too much, I began to get dressed to go out.

At about noon, just as we were expecting Lee to walk in the door so we could head out, I got a call from Jeff telling me, “Get in the car and meet me in Wichita.” Now, this news really set me back. I was totally confused. After all, I was in “mommy mode” taking care of everyone else. When I questioned Jeff he again said “Get in the car and meet me in Wichita. I will tell you where to go when you get to town.” He also assured me that everything had been taken care of and that I wasn’t to worry about the kids. Lee had it all figured out. So, as I stumble around gathering a few things I am questioning Lee at the same time and he also assures me, “Mom don’t worry we got it covered, go have a good weekend.” I confirm when I would be returning with Lee just to assure they are okay and then I got in the car and was off. Seriously, it took me at least an hour on the road to get my head wrapped around what was happening.

See, I don’t do well with change. I am a bit of a type A personality so it is very unusual I don’t know what is going on. But, this one had me thrown for a loop! I mean I realized it was our Anniversary, but I didn’t expect anything like this.

When I called Jeff and told him I was entering Wichita he texted me the address and there I went. When I arrived at this very luxurious hotel, Jeff was waiting for me. He had not only reserved a room but a suite, and he had bought clothes for me so I didn’t have to unpack a thing. Jeff had thought of everything! He took me out to dinner at Red Lobster which is the restaurant we went to on our very first date in Mobile, Alabama some 38 years ago. Then we saw the Wonder Woman movie, which he swears was made about me and he repeatedly told me so during the movie.

Apparently, I found out over the course of the weekend that Jeff had been planning this for over two weeks. It seems everyone we knew, knew it was happening except me. We had an amazing 46 hours or so together, before I headed back to Tulsa.

You know all this got me thinking…….

Isn’t that just like Jesus? I mean in the bible Christ told his disciples, When I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me so that where I am there you may be also. John 14:3 (CSB)
ride,
Jesus is looking forward to the day when His Bride (the Church) will join Him in Heaven. He has gone to prepare a place for us so we can join Him. No one knows the day or the hour in which He will return. We only know that we need to be ready. Just as I had to prepare myself for joining Jeff, we have to prepare ourselves if we want to see Jesus and those of our loved ones who have gone on before us. Christ is looking for a Bride that is longing to be with Him; a Bride who is so in love with Him that she can’t wait to see Him and because of her love for Him, she is doing her best to please Him in the way she lives her life.

Did you notice I used a capital “C” when I wrote the word Church? That’s because there isn’t just one denomination that is going to make it to heaven. When I wrote that, I was talking about the Big “C” Church being the body of Christ. The Bible says several times, believe in Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Romans 10:9, Acts 16:31, etc) and do you know what the “believe in Christ” means? According to the Amplified Bible it defines it as,”Trusting in and relying on, recognizing His power authority and majesty as God.”

See, I can see a chair and believe it will hold me up, but until I actually sit in the chair and I actually rely on it, I am not trusting it. Believing and trusting in God is something totally different than just saying you believe in Him.

So, many times, we say we believe, but we don’t trust. We don’t give ourselves fully to Him because, like myself receiving that unexpected phone call to meet Jeff, I had to prepare myself. I was in “mommy mode” and if you are a woman you know just what I mean. I was totally focused on caring for my babies, cleaning, cooking, and all the things we do to make our house a home. I was not in celebration mode, I was in work mode so it took a little while for me to put all that aside and stop focusing on what I needed to be doing and begin to focus on the one that was calling me to him.

That is the same way it is in our relationship with Christ. It isn’t about a list of do’s and don’t. It is just about being with Christ not doing enough good stuff to get to heaven. See it is knowing how much Christ loves us that should compels us to want to follow what His words says. Not the other way around.

So as you go about your week, remember that we will all receive an unexpected call one day, whether it be us taking our last breath or when He calls us all Home to Heaven. So, it is important that we trust in and rely on God while we are here now. It is important that we keep our focus on what God desires for us to do and most of all let’s not forget, that if we as followers of Christ can’t get along down here, we with each other. We are not going to make it up there! (heaven)

Karma or Reciprocity?

Karma or Reciprocity?

My daughter recently quit her job. Oh! it wasn’t because she really
wanted to. She loves her job. But her lease was up on her apartment.
Her roommate was moving to another town for her next leg of school and
since the school year was over she decided to come home for the
summer, before returning to Kansas City next year for school and live
in the dorms to be a “real college student”.

Over the last 3 years my daughter has given 3 days a week and then
some to 8 little kids under the age of 11 as their personal nanny. She
has helped homeschool them, helped potty trained them, she has feed
them, bathed them and loved these littles like her own. In return, the
momma of these sweet littles has loved my daughter. She has bought her
lunches, given her raises and most recently took her out on a girls
night because she wanted to make her send off was super special.  I in
return have loved on this young momma in different ways, sending
special thank you messages and gifts as well. Why you say? Because she
has loved my daughter for loving her littles.

All this love being thrown around got me thinking…..

You know some people would call this Karma. The word Karma comes from
Hinduism and Buddhism religion meaning “The sum of a persons actions
in this or previous states of existence, viewed as deciding fate in
future existences. and all to often I see that term being tossed
around and some call it destiny or fate, following as an effect from a
cause. ” The over use of this word “Karma”  really drives me crazy
(but that is another story)

See I believe there is another word for it. It is called reciprocity.
The dictionary defines it as, “To give full, etc., in return, to give
receive interchange.” You know there is a verse in the bible that
talks about it too:
“Give and it shall be given to you. A good measure, pressed down,
shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For
with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” Luke 6:38

Give and it shall be given…. I believe that means the good bad and
ugly attitudes of our life comes back to us. The scripture goes on to
say, pressed down shaken together and running over. Often times we
hear preachers use this term in the financial realm when trying to get
an offering to take up a collection to raise some sort of funds for
something.  But, I believe it also happens in the give and it shall be
given kind of way with how we treat people, the measure of love and
grace we show to others or the lack thereof will come back to us
pressed down, shaken together and running over.

I liken it to a trash can, you put trash in it over and over again
till it gets full. Then because you don’t want to bother taking it out
right now,  you put your big foot up in there and step on the stuff in
the can. pressing it down to make more room for more trash. Then you
continue to fill it up again. You repeat the process again and again
until nothing else will fit and it can’t be pressed down any further.

It is at that point that I believe it comes back to you. It is an
example of Reciprocity. Imagine what that would look like when you
dump it out. It was pressed down, shaken and continue to fill back up
till it was overflowing. That is what comes back to us.

Just like when my daughter loves on those babies, the mother out of
appreciation for someone that she could trust her children with and
show love, loved my daughter. In return, because that momma loved my
daughter, I loved her back.

Its been said there is nothing like a mother’s love and if you’re a
mother you know there is nothing like knowing your babies are being
loved.

That’s why I believe we need to always be aware that what we do, what
we say, how we treat others will come back to us and not because of
some Buddist-Hindu religion but because God’s word said it first. God
is the ultimate authority.

God invented the Law of Reciprocity and it is up to us on how it comes
back to us.
So every time you go to throw trash away ask yourself ” Am I treating
others like trash?” or ‘Am I blessing others and showing them the same
grace and mercy God has given to me.” ?

By
Alesa Lewis Miller
Pastor’s Wife of Lighthouse Worship Center
Mom of 3 Mimi of 3 and Blogger.

My Friend’s Story By January Lare

My friend posted this, the other day and I thought it was so inspiring I had to share it!

I have had a wicked case of the stomach flu since Thursday afternoon, but that’s not the point, so stick with me here. This is about what this most recent illness has taught me…I’m gonna preach, so here goes.

During the beginning of this sickness, there was a moment where I threw up so violently that I peed my pants. (Keep reading, trusted friends and curious acquaintances. By now you all know how transparent I am!)
My husband, without saying a word, quietly grabbed some cleaning supplies and towels and knelt down to clean up all the disgusting things that just escaped my body. I was mortified and, trembling, I cried, “Get away! Don’t touch any of it! Stay back!” But he just kept leaning in to take care of me, his bride. All I could think was, “How did our marriage become this unsexy, unromantic thing? Surely, he must see me as gross and undesirable now.” But God whispered to me in that moment. “No, Child. He sees you as I do right now. Helpless, weak, vulnerable, and in desperate need of My love. Accept this gift. He is loving you with My love in this moment.”

As we move toward the Easter season and begin reflecting on what Jesus did for us at Calvary, I am reminded of another act of servant leadership that Jesus displayed.

Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. In this culture, people walked everywhere, alongside livestock, and their feet were a source of shame, as they were beyond filthy and disgusting. Feet were to be hidden under long cloaks and covered up, not put on display. But Jesus did not come to be “hip” and “cool” and “politically correct.” He did not care about what society viewed as acceptable behavior. He did not come to entertain us with miracles. He came to show us something new: servant leadership. He took a basin of water and a towel and quietly knelt down at the feet of his closest followers and washed their dirty, muddy, callused feet. I’m sure, like me with my illness, the disciples were all like, “No! Don’t touch me! I’m so gross! If you see how gross I am you won’t want me anymore!” But Jesus served them in this intimate and loving way to show them that IN ORDER TO TRULY LEAD, YOU MUST FIRST BE WILLING TO SERVE.

As a former manager in the business world, and now teacher and mother, my leadership philosophy is and has always been “never ask anyone to do something you are not willing to do yourself.” Think about it. If you are a leader, do you place yourself above others in order to be elevated in status and importance? Would YOU want to serve under your leadership? Would YOU want to be a child in your house or a student in your classroom? How do YOU make people who serve under you FEEL?

But I am challenging myself, and you, Christ following friends, to take this a little bit further by asking every day, “Whose feet can I wash today? Who will you place in front of me today, Lord, that desperately needs Your love in the middle of their ugly? Where will you use this leadership influence THAT YOU’VE ENTRUSTED TO ME (because, let’s face it, if God didn’t allow you to be in this position of leadership, you wouldn’t be there and neither would I) to serve others and not myself today?”

Humble us, Lord. Humble our hearts, humble our nation. Humble our church and community leaders. Humble our president. Humble our husbands and wives and parents to serve each other in love – your love. Amen.

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:14-17

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin

Just do it!!

Just do it!!

Conversations at my house today…….. I was giving my daughter some directions of how I thought she should handle a certain situation, to which she responded “Don’t you think I know that Mom?”  To which I responded  “Well if you knew that, then I assumed you would have done it already but you haven’t done it yet,  So, No! I don’t!

See, I believe when you know something to do, you should do it, In fact, I believe that is what God thinks too since He tells us in James “17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17 (NKJV)

Since when did we become a generation of people who know to do good but don’t do it ? Since when did we become a generation that knows to do right but doesn’t do it?  Why is it that all the sudden it has become okay to be complacent, with just a wait and see kind of attitude? If we want to be true followers of Christ we have to stop being governed by our appetites, feelings and or our wants.  We must be governed by God’s word. And God’s word says”  23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men. Colossians 3:23 (NKJV)” 

I understand there are times that we have to be patient and wait but there other times and more often than not, we should just simply need to do. Do what we know is right, do what is expected of us and in most cases go above and beyond what is expected of us. Just as we would, if God Himself, was sitting there watching us. Because you know what? He is!!! If we are suppose to be at work at 7am, be there 5 min early. If we have a report due don’t wait till the last minute to write it. If we know someone is ill, don’t wait for someone else to call on them. But all to often, it is too easy for us to sit around and wait for “someone else to do it” or when we get “comfortable enough” or when we “feel like it”.

I sure am glad God didn’t wait till He felt like it, to go to the cross.  I believe that’s what the Bible talks about when He says to take up the cross and follow me.  Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do and I’m not talking super spiritual things either, I’m talking day-to-day life things that make us responsible. Things that make us respectable. Those are the kind of things we need to be considering in our everyday lives. Those are the kind of things that make our witness reputable. So what are you going to do today? Are you going to do what you know is right to do or you just going to wait around until you feel like it?

And by the way…. My daughter did what she knew was right! I love that Girl!!

 

So close we can’t see

You know being raised in a ministers home and now being married to a minister, I have lived all over the country and each place my husband and I have lived, we have always made a point to get out and learn about the community. We always go see the sights. Sometimes we will just get in the car and drive, then stop in at the first little place we come up on and check it out,  we have been known to spend  the whole day just walking through a town and visiting every business. One of our favorite things to do is check out the local restaurants so we can experience the local cuisine, we may all be american’s, but there is definitely a difference in how and what we eat. From the seafood and down home cooking of the south to the fresh beef, sandwich spread and sauerkraut of the mid-west. One of our favorite things to do is go to those little, as some would say “hole in the wall” restaurants and experience the atmosphere of the community. Another fun thing that we feel helps us learn about our new community is check out the local museums and tourist locations in the area just to help us experience what others who have lived here for years or maybe even all their lives, already know.

We are always excited to share what we have learned with our present congregation where we are living.  Excitedly and almost proudly we share our recently new found knowledge and more often than not we are met with a “deer in headlights” kind of looks, even from prominent people in the community who should be aware of what is going on in their town and surrounding areas.  It seems to us more often then not, people who have lived in the same town for a long-time tend not to really actually know about the area they live. They are content to be in their own little world, mainly their home and work, without ever experiencing all that is available to them. They are so close they don’t even see what they have at their disposal.

This got me thinking……….

It seems to me that most people fall into the trap of just living their life, unconcerned about everything around them and all that it has to offer, or better yet, what they could offer to it. They have what some would call tunnel vision and I am not just talking about restaurants and museums I am talking about. The needs of others, or the very need in our own soul to grown deeper in a relationship with Christ. Perhaps we were raised in church and it is “just what you do” instead of it “being who you are” perhaps people know you go to church but they don’t see the loving, forgiving spirit that God gives us everyday,  in you. Often, we are so consumed with our daily to-do lists just to survive, we are forgetting what God has really called us to do. Oh! I have heard all my life, excuses like “Well, it’s just not in my nature to talk to people about God, I am not as out going as you” or “Its not my personality to raise my hands or clap in church” and you know I have really thought about this, and it was like the Lord said to me one day “They are right” “It is not their nature to do those things, because sin is the root of our nature.” It is only when we follow Christ we learn to die to our self and in the same way we turn away from sin, we also have to choose to turn and do the right thing. Even if that means we have to step outside our comfort zone. Because truth is our comfort zone is probably more on the selfish side then it is on the Godly side.

See God cares enough that He not only knows all the good places to eat in town, but He also knows your favorite food. 🙂 Seriously though, He does knows every hair on your head and knew every time you would say or do something to hurt Him and yet He still gave His life for you. He wasn’t inward focused but He was outward driven, driven so much that even though He did not want to hang on a cross where nails would be hammered into his feet and hands, where He would be stripped naked and beaten for you and me, even though He didn’t “feel” like going through all that, He did it anyway for you and me. (see Matt 26:39 & Luke 22:42 ) He loved us enough! He cared for us enough! That He left the comforts and home of heaven above and gave His life for you and me. So don’t you think you and I can step out of our comfort zone, can’t we look beyond ourselves, get involved in our community, reach out to our neighbors that live around us and most importantly, give Him ALL the praise and glory He deserves?Let’s not be so close, that we can’t see what is right in front of us.