Monday, July 30, 2012

There's no use in weeping,
Though we are condemned to part.
There's such a thing as keeping
A remembrance in one's heart.

There's such a thing as dwelling
On the thought ourselves have nurs'd
And with scorn and courage telling
The world to do its  worst.

We'll not let its follies grieve us,
We'll just take them as they come;
And then every day will leave us
A merry laugh for home.

When we've left each friend and brother,
When we're parted wide and far,
We will think of one another,
As even better than we are.

Every glorious sight above us,
Every pleasant sight beneath,
We'll connect with those that love us,
Whom we truly love til death!

In the evening, when we're sitting
By the fire perchance alone,
Then shall heart with warm heart meeting,
Give responsive tone for tone.

We can burst the bonds which chain us,
Which cold human hands have wrought,
And where none shall dare restrain us
We can meet again, in thought.

So there's no use in weeping,
Bear a cheerful spirit still.
Never doubt that God is keeping
Future good for present ill!

~Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Being Comfortable

"I like to be comfortable," Stacy shared, "I just like to be comfortable." We all do, don't we?

My accountability girlfriends and I were discussing the importance of going outside our comfort zones. Abraham was 70 when God called him to leave his country and all he knew. He went. The rich young ruler unwilling to give up all he had to feed the poor, did not go because he was very rich. He stayed comfortable. Only one of the healed lepers returned from celebration to thank Jesus. The others were too comfortable to bother with gratitude.

What is the one thing you cling to rather than giving up everything to follow hard after Him? We are called to share the Good News. Are you called, like Abraham, to leave your country? Are you called, like the rich young ruler, to stay, but to go to the poor?

What hinders you today? Too busy? Too tired? Your kids wouldn't behave? Maybe your house is too messy or your dog too quick to jump on company. Or maybe, you simply don't believe life could be better outside your comfort zone.

The one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Sowing to my own flesh is easy. Killing flesh woman takes practice. I must choose to deny myself daily, pick up my cross and follow my Lord. That's harder. I like to be comfortable. Taking the joyride into the unknown makes me a little hesitant sometimes.

Still, I choose the harder road, the better road. I am daring to dream bigger and climb higher than I think I can. Leave my comfort zone? I'm saying yes, Lord.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Take a Leap

Whether you want to become a musician or clean your house, taking baby steps is excellent advice. One step at a time we can change our habits and see our dreams come true.

Sometimes, though, instead of making progress, every step forward is followed by two steps backward. Around and around we go, like a hamster in a cage, making the effort but not getting anywhere. We see failure instead of success and the disappointment is overwhelming.

Take a giant leap on the path toward success. Put your goal on project status. Set a time limit of a few days, a week or a month. After this initial outpouring of effort your dream will seem more obtainable. Choose a time frame that works for you. Finishing the project through intensity and overdoing to the point of exhaustion is usually not a good idea. Concentrating diligent effort for a short period of time, however, can be extremely productive.

Kyle, one of my adult piano students, scheduled four hours each day at the keyboard. After a month of this effort he scheduled a more sustainable daily hour of practice. Melissa was determined to declutter her home. She and her husband removed several truckloads of their clutter during a 3 day weekend. By clearing some space in the beginning, Melissa had established the confidence she needed to finish her project during the following months.

Sustaining the determination and effort necessary for long term change requires a return to smaller steps. Lasting change happens slowly.  Many dreams take a lifetime to achieve. Establish hope. Set yourself up for success. Get some discipline. Take a leap of faith. Before you know it you will be living your dream.

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer your self any direction you choose!
 ~Dr. Seuss

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hope for Holly

Brown eyes twinkle with mischief when she looks at you with that impish grin. Under the tomboy exterior beats a heart of sweetness, brimming with joy and wonder. Cowboy boots pile beside party shoes. More often the Stetson gets tossed aside for silk and satin.

I have walked alongside Holly and her family for years. You have your own Holly. She lives in your world and is being raised in a family that you love. You see her in church laughing, growing, serving, changing. You pray for her and melt into her hugs.

Was she in your Sunday School class? Your carpool? Did you buy her Girl Scout cookies?

Satan waits patiently, dreaming up plans to welcome Holly when she arrives on the college campus. He is spending his summer arranging tanks with military precision. The evil one has a plan for Holly's life. He has a plan for lies and distractions that will destroy her future.

Most church youth expect to get involved in a church near campus. Statistics show that most of them will get sidetracked and lose their faith. Living vulnerable in enemy territory is dangerous. Satan is a big success on the college campus. He wants to welcome each freshman into his circle of friends.

Holly has an advantage. She has grown up in a church that supports our local campus ministry with prayer, service and money. She knows the campus ministers and some of the older students and alumni.  Holly knows what opportunities there are for her to continue growing in her faith and developing servant-leadership. She is not going into enemy territory this fall alone.

Did you know you can call a campus ministry and tell them about incoming freshmen? They welcome the opportunity to be a home away from home, a soft place to fall for college students, a training ground for adulthood. A campus ministry is a light in a place that can be dreary, dark and unfamiliar. You have been more important in the life of the young people in your church than you know. Go the extra mile for them. Make one more phone call.