The Shift Underway

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Have you ever observed a shift change. Maybe at a factory or some other industrial type setting. You see folks scurrying in to punch a time clock and other folks sauntering out, having just completed a long day. There is a distinct contrast in the workers. Those going in have more gusto in their walk and those leaving seem to have left all their gusto at the workplace. They gave their all during that time. 

I used to watch this contrast of people moving – all making their way to a destination. Home or work. I wondered what happened in the day of some who, having worked all day, moved slowly to their cars. While others, in the same group, could get to their car a little quicker. Almost like they were excited to leave. Not to say that they hadn’t given their all in the workplace that they – more that they held some energy in reserve for what they may do after the work day. 

I also observe this shift as it gets underway at church. I won’t tell you what I observe there but think about it in terms of your own church. What do you see as the shifts? 

As for me, I have more energy when I am at the house of the Lord longer…because the shift that is going on in me is different. I am transforming. I release the troubles of the week and gain strength for the coming days. So when I leave, I tend to have more gusto in my walk – I haven’t left all of my energy inside the walls of the church. I am recharged in the church and take my energy with me outside of the church for God’s glory. That’s the shift underway with me. What about you? 
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So…that’s what that button does…

Hey! Long time. I know. But look, everything is getting a fresh look on the blog. I started this process quite by accident…hence the blog title. The redesign wasn’t in the plan for this week. I just hit the wrong button at the wrong time and now, well, we are in redesign mode. No worries. I’m not sweating it. I think I may like this new look. Give me a few days to schedule in a blog redesign and maybe you’ll like what you see! 

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In Proper Order

Those of you who know me, know that I have had to slow down a bit lately. I guess my body wasn’t ready to continue to break-neck pace that we had been on for some time now.

It just seems that there is always something to do – somewhere to go – there doesn’t seem to be enough time in one day to accomplish everything. And that’s the problem. 

Perhaps, I’ve loaded my plate a bit too heavily. Kinda like going through the buffet line trying to sample everything. Before you know it, you’ve got a pile of food on your plate that you can’t eat. For me, before I knew it, I had a pile of duties on my plate that I couldn’t finish. 

So, I started 2012 shedding some of the duties. I had a specific goal in mind about something that I really needed to complete. And wouldn’t you know it, the more I pressed toward that goal, the more I felt hindered. Something would come up. Something would get in the way. Someone would need something. And now, I’m behind. 

But, I’ve decided not to panic and I’m definitely NOT throwing in the towel. But I am going to do one important thing – I’m going to give all of my duties to the Lord and let Him prioritize them for me. With Him at the helm, I know everything that needs to get done will get done to His glory and the rest of the fluff will just fall away. 

It’s important to slow down and hear the direction from the Lord. When we fully give everything over to Him; everything gets done in its proper order. 
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Christians Ought to Pray

As Christians, this is our time of year. It’s our season. This very weekend is why we do what we do – it’s why we are who we say we are. It’s Easter.

For the blood-bought, born-again Christian, Easter is not about an Easter bunny. For what Easter bunny descended from the throne for us? What Easter bunny performed miracles and healings? What Easter bunny taught and discipled followers. And most importantly, what Easter bunny laid down his life so that we may live and then miraculously took it up again. No, for the educated Christian, Easter is not about an Easter bunny. In fact, that’s just commercialism anyway. For the saved and serious, Easter is about what Christ did on the cross on our behalf. 

And that’s why a recent conversation that I had with a young person broke my heart. For this person refuses the truth. This person challenges the authority of God and mocks His name with pleasure. I have to tell you, I was stunned to see this level of dismissal that closely. This young person is tied to their sin and doesn’t want to be loosed from it. 

And before we start feeling all kind of sorry for this one person, I need to remind you that there are more just like this one. So, while I want you to pray for this person, I want you to search your heart and the hearts of those you know. When you do, you will find someone that needs prayer. You will find someone that is out of the ark of safety. And when you do, write their name down and commit to praying for that person’s salvation. 

Christ came so that we may have opportunity to be saved. Our Sacrificial Lamb did that for us. Now it’s time that we pay it forward and pray for those who would otherwise be left behind. It’s Easter – when you think about what was done for us, it’s the least we can do for them. 

Be Blessed and have a fantastic Resurrection Sunday! 
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Oh Whitney…Why?

So now we have it. The Coroner’s report.

When I heard that Whitney died from an accidental drowning – that she was still alive when she went under the water, I couldn’t believe it. I went further – read more. And that’s when the other details hit hard. Cocaine was indeed found in her system.

In fact, she likely took the cocaine, had a heart attack, and passed out – then slid down into a watery grave. Oh Whitney. Why?

Did she not know that she had damaged her heart with chronic substance abuse? The autopsy showed 60% narrowing of Whitney’s arteries – a direct result of her cocaine use. Which of course, led to that untimely cardiac event.

Will the lesson of her life be enough to stop others from chronic substance abuse or will we have to endure more stars falling from grace – trading their lives in for the thrill of living that lifestyle.

And so here I am faced with the reality. Superstars pay a super price when they are not fully grounded in Christ; Just like the rest of us. But their fall is always louder because they are more publicly known. Everybody is constantly in their business both good and bad.

Was Whitney the first person to die from cocaine use? No. Remember Len Bias? Is she the last? Unfortunately, I don’t think so.

I am disappointed. I wanted better for her even though she never knew my name. I wanted her to turn around and place her full confidence and security in the Savior that she so often spoke about. What about Him wasn’t enough? He’s everything! Why the cocaine, Whitney? Why?

I guess I just don’t understand. But one thing this has reminded me of is to not put my hope in man (Psalm 146:3, Isaiah 2:22) but instead to allow it to rest in its proper place – with God.

Well, that’s that. Christians, let’s stay grounded.

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Compassion for Whitney’s Family

I liked Whitney Houston. I remember her songs from my childhood. I remember the conversations when she debuted about how she came from good stock – a dynamic trio of singers – her mom, her aunt and her godmom. I remember it like it was yesterday. Her star was bright. She was always so poised in those earlier years – living above the fray. And, if she did anything unseemly, nothing emerged to tarnish her image. Then she met and married Bobby Brown. He was notorious for being a “bad boy”.

The two couldn’t seem more opposite but we only have the exterior to judge. The marriage was, well, a bit untraditional and in my estimation, strange. But, what do I really know? Only what I’ve seen; only edited clips of conversations and scenes. The vast majority of us have no idea about how Whitney really was personally. And no matter how many interviews we watched, we don’t know her true self. We don’t know what it’s like to speak with her on the phone or have her in our home for dinner. We’ve not been a guest at her home and shared private moments. We only know about the image we have in our minds. So at the news of her death, I struggle with how many people have become subject matter experts on Whitney Houston. 

I know there is an audience wanting to hear every sordid detail of her life and times; thus the media is ready to deliver whatever they can, however they can. I was watching one famed journalist adamantly proclaim that she knew the cause of death. But how could she really know when there is only speculation. Nothing has been confirmed. At the time of her declaration, toxicology analysis was still underway. And the very thing this famed journalist declared was the cause of death is increasingly looking like it was not. Details matter.
The only person who is a subject matter expert on Whitney is gone. So instead of elevating ourselves to such a state, would it not be better simply to hush the speculation and simply pray for the family? If we, as a nation of music lovers, were shocked by Whitney’s sudden death, how do we think her family feels? The same family that loves her more than we could ever know. The same family that has been with her through the good times and the bad times. Yes, the same family that watched the little girl with excellent vocals in the gospel choir, rise to world-wide stardom. Their family member, who was called “the voice”, long before there was a TV show of the same name is gone.
It’s time that we show a bit more compassion towards the family. A mother has lost her daughter and a daughter has lost her mother. If you pray to God, lift a prayer for the family and for all who grieve. And if you don’t pray, show a bit of respect and grace by not talking about things you are not privy to know firsthand. 
Rest in Peace Whitney. Below is a video from Whitney on the Oprah show . We had such hope for her then. Let’s keep that hope alive now for her daughter and for the healing that has to take place.

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Casting Crowns – Come to the Well CD

I was quick to let you know about Anthony Evans Jr.’s new CD; even announcing that I’d be giving it to some folks for Christmas. I did. And, that was good – I think they liked it. But what I haven’t told you about, which in my opinion, is a different style of music and also a little better is Casting Crowns’ newest CD – Come to the Well. It was released in October 2011 but I’m just getting on board a few weeks ago – and it’s been on repeat in my car…I’m just saying…
Can I just tell you how much I’ve been enjoying this CD? I like how the lyrics tell a story of sorts. I can identify with some of these lyrics. And I just feel good all over when I can do that. You know how it is – a song you can relate to instantly becomes “your song.”
Now, some folks may pick this CD up because it has the title track for the movie Courageous. That’s a great song. Love it. But, I like some others better – like “Already There” and “City on the Hill” and “Spirit Wind” – which kinda sounds a little folksy but I love it just the same. I absolutely get entangled in “So Far to Find You” and I can really jam (and relate to) “My Own Worst Enemy”.
And these are the band members that make me happy!
I’m just saying – if you’re looking for a great CD – then really consider buying Casting Crown’s “Come to the Well.”
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Profound Change

What is profound change? 

In reading a devotional, this question haunts my thoughts.  Profound. Change. 
It would seem that this change is more like a shifting – once undertaken, the old way – the way in which you changed from – can no longer be accessed. You are now under the direction of a new way of doing things. You have changed – or your circumstances have changed. Everything is different. Which makes it profound.
Perhaps you are standing at the edge of change. Profound. Change. Knowing that the next step will lead to a future that goes beyond what we may imagine. It’s different. Heavy. New. 
Profound is deep. Not in the least bit shallow. It’s intense. So the change that we undertake follows the same merit. Not shallow. Not bland. But deep and intense. Ah…profound change. 
Have you had a profound change? Is it staring you in the face? Will you embrace it? One of the most profound changes in my life was receiving salvation. Talk about profound change. The girl that I was then is not the woman that I am now. I’m better for the cause of Christ – a vessel that is now willing to be used for His glory. A profoundly different character from the introverted college kid who focused on the books and worried about her life. What she would be. What she could become. If she was good enough… 
I want to encourage you today. Don’t shrink away from profound change. Pray about it but don’t just shut it down until you’ve spoken to the Lord. If I would have let my fears shut down profound change, I never would have taken the first step, and then the second and third as I moved closer to the alter to give my life to Christ. I would have missed an opportunity for my soul to be secured. Don’t miss your change in whatever area that profound change is calling you to. Be courageous — for Christ. Any change you make for Him is profound. You may not immediately see it, but it’s impact on someone else could be profound.
I hope you’ll think about these two words this week….profound….change.
Blessings to YoU! 
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So I Will Remember

Except for the exceptional, most of us don’t have too many memories of when we were very young. We don’t remember being bottle-fed (or nursed) or diapered. We don’t remember being burped and we don’t remember our first steps. Perhaps that’s why so many parents have taken to photographs, videos and other various forms of digital imaging…so that when we are old enough to remember, we can see where we have come from.
Some of you are aware that I have a new addition to my puppy dog family. And some of you have asked me to post a picture of my new girl. Well, here she is.
She’s being photographed constantly, even though she will never remember – mmm…because she’s a dog. And she will not likely ever care about my incessant photo taking and making her pose. She just cares that she’s loved. And she is. And out of love, I take the pictures. Not so that she will remember, but so that I will.

My new girl at 13 weeks

Have a God-honoring weekend!

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Alone with God

I visited a familiar book today. One that I’ve long held near and dear to my heart. One that I put on the shelf after a year and soon find that it’s time to pull it back off again. One that inspires me to be better than I am and necessitates that I look beyond myself. One that slowly peels back the layers of truth such that I can handle the rawness of my humanity. This book, My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers, is my all-time favorite devotional.
A must-have for your library!
Today’s entry is entitled: “Have you ever been alone with God?” For me, the answer is a resounding “Yes!!!” …but…. the interesting thing is – I was alone with Him during periods of my life that I would rather not have experienced. Some of my most intimate times alone with God have been because of despair and disappointment, heartbreak and sorrow. Yet, the devotional today reveals something that I know to be true – it was a part of God’s plan. He allowed those events in my life to draw me closer – to tune me in to Him and not the things of the world. Not other people. Just my Lord. How precious. He loves me so much that even as I have chased after other things, He still wants to spend time with me. Wow. 
For me, it’s profound; for you can spend your days thinking that you are wanted and loved by people only to find out the opposite is true. Some of you have experienced this, perhaps in  relationships or even in your families. It’s painful no matter how we may try to sugar coat it. It tastes bitter. It feels cold. But God… No matter what, He wants that alone time with us. Isn’t that awesome!?!! The Sovereign Lord of the Universe wants to be alone with you and with me.  
I want to give my utmost. And to do so, I’ve got to get alone with Him on a consistent basis – just because of Who He is and not because of something that has happened to me. Drawing closer. Shutting out the world. That’s what I endeavor to do more and more. How about you? Will you accept the invitation to quiet time with the Lord?
I love having my devotional book handy but if you don’t have it, you can read it daily, for free, online. Here is the link to the devotional page: Or, just because I love you, you can stay on this site, and keep reading. I copied this from the site today:
January 12th: When they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples
—Mark 4:34
Our Solitude with Him. Jesus doesn’t take us aside and explain things to us all the time; He explains things to us as we are able to understand them. The lives of others are examples for us, but God requires us to examine our own souls. It is slow work— so slow that it takes God all of time and eternity to make a man or woman conform to His purpose. We can only be used by God after we allow Him to show us the deep, hidden areas of our own character. It is astounding how ignorant we are about ourselves! We don’t even recognize the envy, laziness, or pride within us when we see it. But Jesus will reveal to us everything we have held within ourselves before His grace began to work. How many of us have learned to look inwardly with courage?
We have to get rid of the idea that we understand ourselves. That is always the last bit of pride to go. The only One who understands us is God. The greatest curse in our spiritual life is pride. If we have ever had a glimpse of what we are like in the sight of God, we will never say, “Oh, I’m so unworthy.” We will understand that this goes without saying. But as long as there is any doubt that we are unworthy, God will continue to close us in until He gets us alone. Whenever there is any element of pride or conceit remaining, Jesus can’t teach us anything. He will allow us to experience heartbreak or the disappointment we feel when our intellectual pride is wounded. He will reveal numerous misplaced affections or desires— things over which we never thought He would have to get us alone. Many things are shown to us, often without effect. But when God gets us alone over them, they will be clear.
So, again I ask you, “Will you accept the invitation to quiet time with the Lord?”.
Have a God-honoring day!,
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