Mind Your Manners

By Ms. O

  

Do you ever have those automatic responses…the ones you don’t even think about? You bump into someone…”excuse me”…I smell chocolate…my attention is on high alert…some crazy Houston driver cuts you off in traffic….hmmmm…we won’t go into that…let’s just say…it is just knee jerk reactions.


My office feels like Grand Central Station at times. There seems to be a constant flow of traffic moving through. I could try to tell you it is the stimulating conversation that happens there…but that would be a lie…most times it is random trivial talk. Perhaps if I had comfortable chairs, I could claim that…but mine are cast offs from other rooms in the church that someone did not know what to do with. I know what draws people in…I was not born yesterday…not by a long shot….it’s the candy bowl.

 

I have this gravitational pull…this tracking beam…that anyone that has ever tasted sugar in their lives…appear in my doorway. Sure, they can pretend they are not coming for that…but their eyes can’t keep from staring at the mound of sugared treats heaped on top of my desk.


Not long ago,  a parent came in with their little one…as in it will be a few years before he is anywhere near old enough to join the youth group. As this little child stared at the bowl,…and I offered in code…as in spelling it out to the mom as to not offer something that would get me in trouble…when  she asked…”what do you say?”. I don’t think she had the word “say” out of her mouth when the little boy said PLEASE. After deciding which candy to pick…which turns into a major undertaking…the mother looked at the child and said again…”well, what do you say?…in which I got a sugary sweet “thank you”. 


We train our kids to say the proper responses. Don’t get me wrong…there is nothing I love more than polite kids….I did the same for mine. It needs to be second nature to be kind and courteous…it is when we carry it into our daily living concerning how we “live with and for God” that we need to be more intentional. 

 

“I would rather my heart be without words than my words be without heart”…”ouch. As I heard that quote the other night, it struck one of those chords in my soul…the “in your face because it speaks truth” kind of moments. 


How often do we go through the motions…giving God what we “know” what He wants. Maybe it is just me…but I doubt it. I pray…I sing (not great mind you, but I do)…I give my tithes and offering…but has it become so automatic with me that I have lost the reason why I do what I do? 

 

Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name; bring an offering, and come before Him; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”

1 Chronicles 16:29

 

My responses to God cannot be automatic if I want to be authentic. He is the Lord my God and His just due is my reverence. I need to be reminded that doing things out of rote for Him is not pleasing….it is merely learned behavior. He has given me free will…the option to chose Him…..and to offer what I can… to come before Him…and worship Him.  Not just in church on Sunday mornings…or in class on Wednesdays…it means each and every day that is gifted to me. 

 

Soon we celebrate our Risen Savior….Christ has risen…..He has risen indeed…and I need to acknowledge that…with an attentive spirit….not just the “correct answers.” God, you have Your work cut out for you with me…but I come to you with a willing spirit….and a heart full of love…for You. Amen.

The Newsflash That Hopelessness Needs To Hear

What's that thing you've given up on? Want to hear some good news about it? Check out this blog post.

By: Amy Dalke

I have some big affection for hymns. My heart skips a beat when hymns are sung, played, or displayed in some kind of artwork.

And I’m just nerdy enough that 20% of my iTunes library was inspired by hymns written in the 1800’s. In other words, it’s not uncommon for me to sing things like What a Friend We Have in Jesus when I’m driving down Highway 359. In fact, I listened to When We All Get to Heaven on my way to the grocery store on Friday afternoon. I would insert a YouTube video of the song here, but I’m confident that would give you a boring impression of the hymn’s classic awesomeness. So here’s a quick peak at some of the lyrics instead:

Chorus:

When we all get to heaven,

what a day of rejoicing that will be!

When we all see Jesus,

we’ll sing and shout the victory!

4th verse:

Onward to the prize before us!

Soon his beauty we’ll behold;

soon the pearly gates will open;

we shall tread the streets of gold.

As I paid attention to the lyrics, it struck me how we short-sell ourselves when we think all our joy is reserved for heaven.

When Pastor Ben’s sermon on Sunday echoed that same thought process, I wanted to leap off my chair and say, “Oh my- yes!” (I didn’t do that though, because I didn’t feel like making things awkward in church this morning.)

It’s easy to view this earthly life as a thing to endure until real life with God begins when we die. This is especially true when life isn’t all that Jesus cracked it up to be. We look around and wonder who got all this abundance he promised.

You’re so overwhelmed at work that you can’t breathe. The diagnosis is exactly opposite of what you had prayed. Sinking oil prices sunk the need for your position. The quantity of emails from your child’s teacher outweigh your sanity. The bills exceed your cash flow.

And one hard thing hits right after another.

But smack dab in the middle of despair, Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25)

Maybe you think that statement has nothing to do with your situation. But frankly, it has EVERYTHING to do with it!!

Jesus is just as alive today as he was on the original Easter morning. Which means he is able, ready, and willing to breathe new life into all that seems hopeless. Since Jesus lives in this very moment, the good stuff that awaits us in heaven is present wherever we are right now. There is resurrection glory to be discovered in each breath we take; but we’ll miss it if we’re counting all that’s wrong instead.

Yes, it will all be okay in the end. But Jesus is here in the now. And he wants to invade our life on earth with the reality of heaven’s hope. 

Here’s the Best News Ever: No matter how dreadful the circumstances look; despite how we feel; and regardless how unlikely it appears that good will prevail, Jesus invites us to believe him instead.  

 And since it’s hymn day or something (It’s not really. I’m just saying that.), this chorus is the perfect ending to this post:

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,

Because He lives, all fear is gone;

Because I know He holds the future,

And life is worth the living,

Just because He lives!

You can pretty much guarantee that this song will be playing in my car this week. (Don’t judge. I would play things like Uptown Funk if I could understand the words.)

Amy


Who is Jesus to you? And what difference does it make?

This is the 5th week of our Lenten series on the seven I AM statements of Jesus. Each post this week will focus on Jesus as the Resurrection & the Life.

Live Life To The Max

By Gail Armatys

Would you like to maximize your moments? Your potential? Your life? Whether your days are filled with humdrum routine, exciting challenges, lists full of tasks, difficult people or unexpected change you need to know that God wants you to live life to the max. How? Two words… love intentionally.

Our Pride & Prejudice

One of my all time favorite movies is Pride & Prejudice. There are two scenes in this movie where Mr. Darcy, a dashing, wealthy Englishman, reveals his love to Elizabeth, the well read yet lower class daughter of a local English gentleman with five eligible daughters.

One of these scenes takes place in a beautiful gazebo that can only be reached by a certain path. It is pouring rain and both Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are drenched. Elizabeth races to the gazebo out of anger as she believes Mr. Darcy to be smug and pompous and that he has ridiculed and schemed to hurt her family. Mr. Darcy finds her and attempts to explain his actions, ask her to be his wife, and scorns her pride. (Nearly all in the same breath). Her anger toward him is as palpable as his love for her. She rejects his explanation, truth, and invitation.

Mr. Darcy's love rejected

Click the image above to watch this scene.

Oh, if Elizabeth had only known the truth. What would her response have been?

Which humbly leads me to ask…knowing the truth do you still sometimes reject the path God has prepared for you…the path that leads to meaning and joy? Does your pride ever keep you in your comfort zone? Do you, and those around you, miss out on God’s gracious blessings because of your prejudice toward your personal desires – your preferred ways? Do you respond bitterly because you don’t understand? For most of us, the answer is sometimes, ‘yes’. But there is hope, we can change our answer to a more often, ‘no’.  Mr. Darcy shows us how.

Lay It On The Line

Elizabeth has discovered she has been completely wrong about Mr. Darcy. She steps out into the dewy, bird song sunrise after a sleepless night only to find him walking with great intention through a field toward her. She is surprised yet welcomes his presence. Then, the words spill from his lips, “I love, I love, I love you…I never wish to be parted from you from this day on.” (It’s appropriate to swoon now, ladies.)

Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth

Click the image above to watch this scene.

Mr. Darcy decided to lay it all on the line, and love…very intentionally. Can you say the same?

The Jesus – Mr. Darcy Connection

Jesus loves, loves, loves you. He put all he had, everything he was, did, and said into accomplishing the plan God sent him to complete. The bible is full of Jesus’ moment-by-moment, daily, maxed-out physical and verbal responses to questions, comments, accusations, temptations, betrayals, attitudes, beatings, and torture. In everything, intentional love was his way – for those who cared for him and those who killed him.

Jesus’ way is still intentional love. He desires never to be parted from you. Not only in the forever sense, but also in the moment-by-moment, daily decision and circumstance sense. And just as Mr. Darcy tells Elizabeth, Jesus’ love speaks to your heart, ‘You must know…surely you must know it was all for you.”

Love Intentionally

Scripture is full of love verses. Here are a few.

 Love the Lord God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Matt. 22:37

Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Matt. 22: 39

This is my command: Love each other.

John 15:17

Love never fails.

1 Cor. 13:8

Follow the way of love…

1 Cor. 14:1

The only thing that counts is faith

expressing itself through love.

Galatians 5:6b

Live a life of love.

Eph. 5:2

Loving intentionally is clearly God’s desire and critical to living a meaningful life. But obedience to his command isn’t always easy. Like Elizabeth, you must first decide to lay down your pride and prejudice and each day choose Jesus’ way – living life to the max through intentional love.

Purpose Steps

Have you ever tried to serve without love? How’d that work out for ya? Your life is made up of many steps. Focusing daily on intentionally loving those around you as you walk your path is among the first you must take.

  1. Intentionally look for opportunities to love others throughout each day this week. Write down the things you do that make a loving difference to other’s lives. You will become more aware of loving opportunities and affirm your loving attitude.

Purpose Prayer

Father, thank you for the example of your love through Christ’s life and sacrifice. Help me to be intentional, like he was (and Mr. Darcy, too) about choosing love. For I know that in the moments I walk in your way, I live life to the max.

In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.

Listen To Your HeartSong Here!

Live Like That/Sidewalk Prophets

Live the song written on your heart.

The God of Green Hope

By: Ms. O

Years ago I was given a bike for Christmas. It is not one of those stream lined styles. No “gears”…it merely went forward. I like it when I can push my foot backward and it brakes. It had fat tires…and a fat seat…both for the same reason…I want plenty of area…..both on the pavement…and under by behind.

I used to ride my bike daily…it was refreshing.…..and freeing. I don’t know when it happened….what changed…but I hung my bike up in the garage…and never took it down.

I have had a hard spot in my soul for some time. A place that remains dark…with lights off…no sign of life. I have this fear of that room…it is most likely why I keep it locked up. Lately I have struggled with confronting what resides there…because it is easier to just not think…about it.

A very good friend texted me scripture last week…as part of her prayer for me. In my heart I know it was a message from God…sent through her, to remind me…of that place:

“Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! “ Romans 15:13 (The Message)

Hope…the one thing I keep tucked away…in a room of its own…out of sight…out of mind….at least that is what I tell myself. Hope….peace…joy…did not go together for me…for many reasons…none of which I want to go into. It is what it is…and has been.

This scripture…these relayed words from a friend…was…is…my reminder that my God is the God of “green” hope…the One who wants me to grow into the realization that He wants so much more for me…more than I can imagine…the kind of hope that strikes fear in my heart…because I don’t want to believe it….I don’t feel worthy of it.

Savannah Sparrow perched on barbed wire

Emily Dickinson says this so well for me:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

I got my bike down a couple weekends ago. It took me a couple hours…and assistance from a friend…to get the tires off…replace the tubes…and air them up. I cleaned it up….oiled up the chain…so it would be ready to ride. To my dismay, I came out the next morning, one of the tires…the NEW tires mind you…were flat…again. I put my bike to the side, resigned that it was not meant to be.

Until yesterday, a week or so after my frustration and despair…I woke up…with that scripture…and that poem…stuck in my mind…so I knew…in my gut…that it was time…to try again. I purchased another new tire…and the proper tools it takes to remove said tire…again.

I got it off…put in the new tube…wrestled the bike to put the tire back on…sweating a lot more than I should have been…then made the trip to the gas station to air my tire up. I cleaned up the mess I made… put my stuff away for the evening…since it had taken a good part of the day…and I was just not ready to try it out.

This morning I got up…put on my comfy work out (I use that term loosely) clothes…and headed for the garage. I grabbed the tires to check for pressure….more like to make sure I did not make a fool of myself rolling out on flat tires…and off I went.

I had forgotten the pure joy of riding with the wind in my face…the feeling of freedom as I rode around the block…no agenda…just riding. I felt a renewal of my soul….God whispering in my ear…”Oh Linda…it’s time to open up that place in your soul and allow my light to shine in that dark. I am the God of hope…but you need to trust Me. I want the wind in your face…and your future to be a place that you look forward to. Look to me Linda…and trust…in  me.”

I don’t need to know the words…(which is really…really….hard for me). I just need the courage to sing. God has the words for me…He knows the melody in my soul. I doubt it will look like what I imagined it to be. Hope is nothing concrete….it is the soul reaching out to the Savior for direction…and assurance…of the future.

pic two

It’s time again…God’s breath swirling around me…along with the assurance that He has this covered…I just need to get on with it…and ride. Amen…and thank you, my God of green hope.

Ms. O

Why skinned up knees is your best accessory.

How many times do I get it wrong trying to go my own way?

This is the 5th week of our Lenten series on the seven I AM statements of Jesus. Each post this week will focus on Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.


By: Amy Dalke

Sometimes I stress about things. (Shocker, right?)

It’s mainly when I try to juggle 43 balls in the air with finesse. (So basically, 98% of the time.) From my off-center perspective, it’s not enough to just juggle those balls well. I want to control it perfectly, thank you very much.

And the fact that I’m like 118 degrees to the left of perfect doesn’t keep me from beating my head against a wall to get there.

Case in point: our church (Faith UMC) has a new worship service, The Branch. For many months prior to the official launch, I had envisioned such a service, and earnestly prayed for it without even knowing it was already being discussed amongst church staff.

As the plan began to take shape, I was asked to be the Lay Director. My initial shock over this request had everything to do with the fact that HAD NO CLUE what it even took to put together a worship service. Combine my stellar lack-of-attention-to-detail skills to that absence of experience, and you’ve got yourself a deal.

So tell me, how is this supposed to work? (Exactly.)

(Please don’t be fooled: Lay Director is just a fancy label for someone who brainstorms ideas with a team, and occasionally goes to Hobby Lobby to buy candles.) 

Nevertheless, from Day One I was conspicuously aware that prayer needed to be the foundation of this worship service. Because I, for one, can quickly twist God’s glory into my own version of pride. (Despite the obvious fact that God was in charge of bringing the awesome, and I was just responsible to wait on him and listen.)

Our team was resolved that prayer must be the heart of our planning, so that we would be discernibly guided by God in every step. 

The first three services were soaked in prayer. We prayed over everything, and each move we made just clicked in a divine rhythm. Which sounds cliche, but seriously. I’m not even exaggerating a little bit.

There were so many moments when God showed up in spite of us, that it blows me away. On countless occasions, one of us would have an idea that another would unknowingly bring up in conversation, which would serve to confirm that these were not our great ideas at all…but so distinctly God’s.

Faith UMC Branch 1

The service went so well the first three times, that when it came time to plan for the fourth one (which happened yesterday), we had the drill down pat.

We were such a well-oiled machine, mind you, that we failed to ask for God’s input.

(Oh yeah…God. You did have a part in this, didn’t you?)

We started our set up for Sunday’s service last Thursday evening, and I even patted myself on the back pretty hard for not waiting until the last minute.

Then we showed up at 4pm on Saturday afternoon (thinking we had about an hour’s work ahead of us), only to discover that there were Boy Scouts who would be using the chapel until 6pm.

Parker (our staff leader) handled the delay graciously. Me…not so much. Frankly, I was ticked at the Boy Scouts. I briefly considered that patience is a virtue, and roadblocks are just opportunities and all that, but then I chose to be frustrated instead.

The wait could have been used to pray over the service or something, but no. I just played Boggle on my phone and scanned Pinterest. And every once in awhile, voiced irritation about Boy Scouts in general. (Lord, have mercy.)

Things went smoothly once we finally got started a little past 6pm; but two hours into the evening, it became apparent that someone needed to go to Home Depot. And you know a thing isn’t going as planned when it calls for a lumber run at 8:00pm.

It was a long night.

Faith UMC Branch 3

I was woken up way before dawn on Sunday morning, by a loud whisper in my head: “You didn’t pray about any of this…”

Talk about having the wind knocked out of you. Message taken. Loud and clear.

So I got up, and went straight to my knees, and prayed over Sunday’s service with an intensity that could only come from God. Ironically, about an hour before I left for church, I learned of two big last minute changes that could have thrown me in a stress spin.

But GO FIGURE…praying all over the thing gave me confidence that God would take care of it. He made it abundantly evident to me that by grace, I can partner with him…but I don’t steer the course.

Can you do life well on your own?

I have no doubt that God allowed our chaos to remind us of Who is really in charge. And he opened up a gracious space of time for us to recalibrate before we would lead others in worship. (Sidenote: I could learn a million lessons in servanthood from Emily Adams, Mindy Standlee, and Ross Sandlin. They’re basically my heroes.) 

Our worship yesterday was saturated with God’s tangible presence, and we learned a lesson that I pray will forever mark the leadership of this service.

Jesus is the Way.

We can do life our way, on our own terms, with our own know-how. But God’s glory is hazy at best when we leave him on the sidelines. On the other hand, grace and beauty spill all over the place when Jesus is in the lead.

My conclusion: if we want to be Jesus people, prayer isn’t just a good idea – it’s as critical as our next breath. And besides that, you’ll rarely fall on your face when you live life from your knees. 

 Amy

p.s. I really am a Boy Scout supporter. And I’m not mad at them anymore. 

Does Your Produce Have Purpose?

 Bear Much Fruit

Several years ago my husband and I began to buy (literally) into the whole, healthy, and often organic food-marketing scheme. From a wellness standpoint, it just makes sense to us. Needless to say, a large percent of our budget is now spent putting green, leafy and otherwise colorful food from the ground, bushes or trees onto our plates and into our bodies. Our actions are aimed at a certain outcome: to stave off illness and to feel and live better today – each day…rather than later when it’s necessary or too late.

Taking steps to intentionally focus on putting more produce into our system has paid off these past few years. We feel better, shed a few unwanted pounds, and generally have more energy. Don’t get me wrong, I often yearn for and still eat sweets and carbs. Seeduction bread from Whole Foods – I highly recommend it! Blue Bell Great Divide, anyone? Yet, in spite of my desire for a sugar fix – I know my body needs nourishment from certain foods. Eating is intended to do my body good.

In other words, my produce has purpose.

How To Know If Your Produce Has Purpose

If you can make the leap from my eating habits to looking at this ‘produce has purpose’ topic in a spiritual light, the question, “Does my produce have purpose?” becomes critical.

I believe my answer to the question – and maybe yours, too – will include the words ‘sometimes’, ‘often’, or maybe even a ‘not really’. How do we know? At least part of our answer is found in the scripture below, John 15:5-8.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him,

he will bear much fruit;

apart from me you can do nothing.

If anyone does not remain in me,

he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers;

such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

 If you remain in me, and my words remain in you,

ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit,

showing yourselves to be my disciples. 

Jesus

In these four verses, Jesus used the word ‘remain(s)’ four times as he speaks to his disciples about bearing fruit. He tells them this fruit bearing only happens when they remain in him and when he (Jesus) and his word remain in them.

Remaining (staying, not moving away from) is obviously a big deal with regard to our ability to do the good that brings glory to God. So how do we remain?

  1. When we surrender our life and accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides and directs us. We choose to obey his direction – or not. When we listen to and allow his Spirit to guide us, we remain in him. Which means we have the knowledge, wisdom, love, and power of Jesus to accomplish the work he sets before us, bear fruit, and bring glory to God.
  1. Jesus tells us that we bear fruit when his word remains in us. In order for it to remain in us, it has to get into us first. Right? How does that happen?

We have to hear, read, and memorize scripture. Hearing it once a week in a sermon is a good start but by mid-week (or long before) life begins to clutter our brains and we forget. The only way his word will remain in us is through our intentional putting of it into us. This provides knowledge, wisdom, love and power. Sound familiar? (See #1 above.) Then, when we act on what we’ve learned from his word, we bring heaven to earth and glory to God.

bible love, power, wisdom of Jesus

How Will You Answer? 

The question on the table is, “Does what you produce, the fruit of your actions, have purpose?” I hope so, because it’s sort of like eating your fruits and vegies. For when your produce has purpose it does a body good, brings heaven to earth, and glory to God.

Purpose Steps

Challenge yourself to:

  1. Ask for and listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance throughout your day.  Are you being called to do something! What need does your community, church, neighbor have that has been presented – or keeps presenting to you? Are you willing to obey?
  1. Listen to and read scripture this week. Memorize one favorite verse. Ask, “Is God identifying a role or need for me to fill through what I’ve read/heard? If so, accept the opportunity. Set your goal to complete it. Go and bear fruit.

Purpose Prayer

Lord, thank you that in you, my produce has purpose. Please help me to lay down my schedule and pride, listen to and follow your guiding Spirit, learn your word, and fulfill the needs you bring across my path. Your will not mine, Lord. Glory to God. In Jesus’ holy name. Amen.

Listen to Your HeartSong Here!

Christ is Enough/Hillsong Live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6MzgVsP2uE

Live the song written on your heart.

What Distractions Do You Need to Leave Behind?

Does your life grow full from the Vine…or are distractions choking the God-life in you?

This is the 4th week of our Lenten series on the seven I AM statements of Jesus. Each post this week will focus on Jesus as the Vine.


By: Amy Dalke

Last Saturday, Larry, Luke, and I walked down the jet bridge and boarded a plane that would carry us from Houston to Los Angeles.

While I was especially eager for all the fun that awaited us on the other side of our trip, I was also pretty stoked for the actual flight itself. Because flying on an airplane ranks on my Top 7 list of favorite things to do. Mostly because I can write for a long period of time with no distractions, while someone keeps my coffee cup full.

What distractions keep you from being who God made you to be?

When I’m 30,000 feet up in the air, my phone doesn’t ring or ding; there’s no room to carry on crafting supplies distractions; and Luke understands that I can’t drum up entertainment outside of what we toted onto the airplane.

It’s pretty much like heaven, if you ask me.

Although I have no fear of flying, it occasionally occurs to me that such a large piece of metal is really too heavy to fly on it’s own. So when I’m up in the air in a 400-ton machine, I’m completely dependent on the skill and expertise of the pilot.

Strangely enough, this kind of trust comes naturally to me.

So why is it that I readily put my life in the hands of a human pilot I’ve never met, but when it comes to obeying God, the fight with my will looks somewhat like roping a steer and wrestling it to the ground?

Trusting God often means wrestling my own will to the ground.

(Excuse me while I point out how odd it is for a cowboy analogy to show up in my writing.) (Carry on now.)

Is it because I’m not sure if God really knows best? I mean, I know an awful lot and all. And my way seems to look pretty good. Most importantly, my way feels good and safe, and that’s the main thing.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:1-2

God, as the Vinedresser, has one purpose for our lives, and that purpose is to glorify him. As the master gardener, he cuts back stray buds to concentrate the growth in the shoots that really matter. The quantity of shoots in a grapevine weakens the quality of the fruit produced, therefore we need to eliminate the stray weeds for maximum crop growth.

We can spread our time across 101 activities. Or we can prayerfully cut our activities down to those that maximize God’s glory in our lives. Every single one of our Things might be really good Things that produce decent results and look okay on the surface. But if the things we do aren’t an outgrowth of God’s abundant life within us, then we won’t bear the best fruit that our lives were meant to generate.

It’s only when we sit back and let God determine how we fill the calendar that we truly begin to live out the design he had in mind.

I have like a college degree in distractions, so God routinely has to prune all the superfluous weeds that choke the spirit life in me. He often has to remind me of my tendency to embellish the simple beauty he intended for my life to bear with a little extra this and that.

Crafting.

Facebook.

Shopping.

Even church things, sometimes.

Airplanes are a happy place for me, because for 3+ solid hours, I do what I was made to do with no distractions. Your thing might not look like mine, but distractions abound just the same. Unless you live intentionally, you’ll miss out on who you were made to be. And I’m pretty sure those other diversions aren’t worth it.

Perhaps we can wake up each morning and step off that jet bridge where we hold onto some element of control; and step up onto the aircraft carrier that only God knows how to operate to the best capacity. As we travel through the day, we can trust that each stop is one that he purposed. And the frenzied distractions will be drowned out by the hum of the airplane.

Better yet, we’re better off leaving the distractions on the ground before take-off. God will no doubt eagerly give us the wisdom to discern the appropriate carry-on items.

I don’t know what the week ahead holds. But I know God has a destination planned that promises to be greater than the one we would choose on our own.

So hurry up, your flight is boarding.

Amy