Minimalist or Selfishness, That is the Question?

Minimalist or Selfishness, That is the Question?

 As I was unloading the dishwasher the other day I looked at the probably 30 or more forks, knives and spoons I have. I recalled the 4 -9×13 casserole dishes up in my cabinet,  and the 5 or so iron skillets I have on my stove, then I recalled some recent conversations I have had over the last several months.
For some people, they seem to think having 4 plates, 4 sets of silverware and 1 skillet and 1 casserole dish for a family of 4 is enough. I have literately known people who think, if they have more then 1 skillet and one pot it is to much. People like that confuse me.
Maybe it is the fact that, I was raised in a ministers home where we had to always be ready for guest, or maybe it was just the generation but when I was growing up, if we were looking for a home, one of the first things my parents looked for was “is there a guest room” and if there wasn’t how could we make room if company came, so we could entertain. I mean we now are living more in a minimalists society where it is cool to live with less and the smaller the house the better. But, that really has me wondering, is less best?
I mean if you limit the amount of plates you have in your cabinet doesn’t that limit the amount of guest you can have over, and if you only have 1 skillet and 1 pot how many people can you really cook for? If you have a tiny house that can only sleep 2 people how do you have family or over night guest over? When we limit ourselves of the ability to entertain others we begin to isolate ourselves.
I don’t see anywhere in the bible where Christ isolated himself from others on a regular basis. His life was centered around community and fellowship. The feeding of the 5,000 for instance. What would of happened if Christ would of said. Oh! That is way to many people, I don’t want be around that many people. Most theologians believe that He lived with Lazarus and his sisters when He wasn’t on the road ministering. Then, remember the time He left his family to go hang out in the temple and teach. The bible even talks about the fact that He was accused of being a drunkard and glutton because He was always hanging out with people who ate and drank. (Matt 11:19)
The bible talks about hospitality in several different places. It reminds us in Hebrew 13:2, Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. It also tells us to “Be hospitable to one another without complaint.” in 1 Peter 4:9.
See to me, all this minimalist stuff portrays its self, as a way to gain control and be happier. Now don’t get me wrong. I think you need to live within your means, but having some extra silverware or pots and pans never broke anyone. But limiting yourself on who you can help and give a meal to is just selfishness. I believe that minimalist stuff is simply a mask in most cases for us to be selfish. Now, I am sure this isn’t the case for everyone one and I understand for some this is an opportunity to live debt free so you can do more for others, Which is great if that is really the case. But for many it is simply a curtain to disguises our selfishness of having to entertain others. For some it is a way to try to conform to what everyone else is doing.
But there is another trick that satan likes to use on those of us who are blessed enough to have a big enough house with more than 4  forks & plates for our family of 4.  Satan has us convinced we are to busy to entertain guests in our home and fellowship with others. Often satan wants to distract us by keeping us busy.  We are all to often so focused on our own survival of working so hard to pay our bills we don’t make time to even consider socializing with others.
There is a saying that says “Isolation Brings Devastation” Doctors confirm that ” When a person experiences too much solitude or feels socially isolated from others, he or she may develop feelings of loneliness, social anxiety, helplessness, or depression, among others.” (goodtherapy.com) Proverbs 18:1 tells us “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;..”
So who’s desire are you seeking today? Are you living a life that reflects Christ’s life? Are you entertaining others in your home?  Who is in your sphere of influence? Have you isolated yourself to a select few or worst yet, none at all?
I hope this week you won’t just continue to do the same old thing you have been doing for years.  I hope you will reach out to those around you that, you normally wouldn’t reach out to. So your life, like Christ’s will reflect a since of community and fellowship. Ask yourself today, Who have I shown Christ love to recently? What have I been willing to sacrifice for others, because Christ sacrificed everything for me. Remember we can sacrifice a little (at least) for others because Christ gave His ALL for us. I sure am glad Christ wasn’t a minimalist with His love or else you or I might not be here today. So let’s show His love to all!
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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.

What is yet to come, is up to us! The 10th Anniversary of the EF-5 Tornado that hit Greensburg KS.

What is yet to come, is up to us! The 10th Anniversary of the EF-5 Tornado that hit Greensburg KS.

On May 4th 2017, The City of Greensburg KS, will celebrate it’s ability to rebuild this community and honor those who lost their lives in the EF-5 Tornado that destroyed almost the whole town in 2007.
I did not live here then, I have only had the privilege of living here for the past 4 yrs. I have to say when we first came to Greensburg and saw all that had been done to rebuild this community it excited us. The thought of being a part of this community that had a vision and wanted to do something was inspiring to my husband and I. We realize, it was no small task to do all that has been done to rebuild. Although, Jeff and I have done a lot of research to get to know what and where this community has come from. We are confident that nothing we have read or saw compares to what the people in this community has come through. There is no words for the pain and the struggles that this community has went through and overcome.

But in all our research, it actually got me to thinking, When I drive around in our community now, The empty lots I am sure, remind some of lost dreams, the un-repaired homes still yet standing, represents the hopelessness that some must have felt and possibly still feel today even 10 yrs later. Then you look down other streets and you see new buildings and up and coming progress.

Looking at the aftermath of the tornado reminds me of a life rebuilt by Christ. Often times by our choice to live for ourselves, our life can be reduced to ruins, but when we give our lives to Christ and truly choose to follow Him. We can see Him restore what satan has stolen. But then there is some so-called Christians who, have accepted Christ and believe in Him. But, they don’t want to get “too crazy” about it. To them it is just good enough, to show up for church every now and then so, they can check that off their list of things to do for the week and feel better about themselves.

The next steps for Greensburg is a lot like any follower of Christ. We all have a choice. When we choose to believe in Christ, we can choose to continue to grow in Him or we can stay right where we are. I think of staying where we are in Christ, as just buying “fire insurance”. We know God just enough to stay out of hell but we never get to know Him well enough to live an abundant life that God calls us to. (John 10:10) In my mind the next steps for the City of Greensburg is like a person who has a choice. It can choose to be like the one who has chosen to believe in Christ and be satisfied where we are, or we can do what God has called to do and continue to grow and rebuild and invite others to join us in the process. In essence we can choose to live an abundant life or buy fire insurance and be satisfied with good enough.

Are we willing to simply be content with where we are because I don’t think that is what the founding fathers who helped build this city had in mind. I don’t think the men who broke there backs, and gave their lives to have the world’s largest hand dug well here, thought, “Oh! that’s good enough, and this is all we need.” Those men who hand dug that, 109 ft deep and 32 ft wide well, went above and beyond the call of duty and why?? So people all over the area would come to Greensburg. Because they wanted to see a city built, because they knew bringing water to a city back then would bring people and fuel the railroad. They wanted to see a city built so badly, that at one point they stole a post office to assure we had a zip code. They were willing to do whatever it took to see this city built and grow.

I believe the people who have stayed behind after the tornado, to see this town re-build are no less commented to seeing this town go forward.

The bible talks about a Well, In John 4 it is the story of the Samaritan Women at Jacob’s well, when Jesus ask the woman to bring water to Him to drink. The woman was surprised because at that time, the Jews didn’t even talk to the Samaritan’s let alone ask them to bring them a drink. But Jesus did, he went out of the norm, He step out of what was acceptable to do at that time because He wasn’t concerned with what others thought, He wasn’t concerned with who she was, He was concerned with her heart and where she would spend eternity. He knew she needed more than the water from the well, that she was drawing water from, He knew she needed the living water and He was that living water. The water from which she would never thirst again.

In Mark 16 God calls us to go into ALL the world and share His love with others. And let me tell you that in this day and age all the world is at our back door, the question is will we let them in? Will we allow them to come into our Christ loving community,? Perhaps, the bigger question is, will we provide opportunities for them to come, so we can reach out to them? Or will we choose to rather “not associate ” with people that aren’t exactly like us. Some might be different from what we are use to, just like the difference between the Samaritans, and Jews back then. Our founding fathers who had hopes and dreams for this community, but there is no greater dream than the one by our Heavenly Father. But if we choose to do nothing, if we choose to be satisfied with what we have done and just maintain the status quo. Then we are no different then the follower of Christ that simply chooses to buy the fire insurance, instead of living the abundant life that God has called us to live.

We live in a great country where we are free to talk about God and even pray right in public without fear of being put in jail or killed. We now have people who live in this country who are from those countries where we send missionaries to risk their lives to tell them about God, and yet often times, we refuse to reach out to people who are not just like us. Perhaps, because of fear or what others will think, or just because they are different and we don’t really want them here anyway? But, let me pose to you a question here, ” What if God has allowed those people to come to America, so we could tell them about Him, without fear or retribution for sharing our faith? Do we care for their heart and where they might spend eternity, like Jesus did with the woman at the well? Are we willing to give them the living water, so that they will never thirst again?

And if we are going to be all that God has called us to be, we cant stop now. People from all over the world come to see this Big Well. But what if Greensburg in the next 10 years became less known for a hole of water and known more for the living water,of what God is doing in this town! More of what God wants to see. If we want to honor our Heavenly Father we can’t stop now. Yes, we have worked hard and many are tired but we cannot stop until the Lord comes back. This is bigger than our own comfort, it is about the lost souls who are in danger of living eternity in hell.

We stand at another crossroads on this anniversary like this community did 10 years ago as you met in tents, deciding who would stay and see this city rebuild,. Today we can choose to stay right where we are. just like the follower of Christ who only buys fire insurance unwilling to change their ways or we can choose, the abundant life that God has promised for us all. Will we be satisfied with what we have here in our own little world we have created or does our heart break at the thought of anyone, missing out on that abundant life and drinking from the well, that they will never thirst from again? Because, I believe, if we refuse to open more opportunities in our city for all nations and all cultures to come, then we are not only missing out on continuing what our founding fathers started, but more importantly, we are refusing to do what God has called us to do and that is to, tell the world about Him.

Over the last 10 yrs the eyes of the world, have been upon us, but I am only worried about one set of eyes and that’s the eyes of the Heavenly Father’s. My heart breaks for what His heart breaks for and that is seeing any soul lost without Him. What will we do in the next 10 yrs for Him? It only takes one person to get it started. Let’s be all we can be for Him and share this abundant life we have with others!

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