I tend to be very protective of my time. The kids are involved in limited outside activities, we eat dinner together at home, and we plan days where we have no plans.
I want to keep things simple. I want to enjoy the time I have with my children and my husband.
I want to be able to say YES.
When it really matters.
When does it matter for me? When the kiddos need a little extra love.
When Husband needs help with a tough decision.
When a friend needs an ear or a shoulder. When a neighbor needs a hand.
When God chooses me. When He tells me GO.
Man oh man do I still grumble about it a lot from time to time. Even when I have made time, the selfish, ugly bits make all kinds of excuses for why I shouldn’t then have to give it away. IT’S MINE! I scream it so loudly the inside of my brain is throbbing with the reverberation.
But at the end of it all, when the two year old temper tantrum is finished, I am left standing with a choice. I can focus inward or outward. My choice changes frequently. There are many times when I truly need to focus inward, take care of my own soul, in order to have the strength to care for others’. And then there are the times when I know what needs to be done. No amount of whining will change it.
So I put on my big girl pants and wrap my time in a cute package with a frilly ribbon, and I give it away.
And that, friends, is my treasure. A blessing beyond description. Never to be stolen. Stored in heaven, with no regrets. Not a single one.
Good morning Surgeons!
We're beginning our series called, Blue Collar, today is God, the Roto-Rooter. Our special is Florence and the Machine, Kiss with a Fist.
Special thanks to the wonderful folks from CIY, and the famillies who hosted them this week!
Remember that we have offering boxes in the back (and virtual ones online), and continued thanks for your generosity.
We are continuing our Blue Collar series next week, it will be on God, the Dad.
Our next SAW Event will be at the Barn, (corner of Kirby and Westmoreland) on August the 11th, songwriting workshop and critique starts at 4pm, followe
About a year ago, our lives began a change. A big one. God was calling us to be actively involved, to be used as catalysts in this change. I wasn’t ready, and I ignored it for a very long time.
Eventually, though, I understood that I was meant to say
HERE I AM.
I WILL GO.
Guess what? The same thing happened to my husband. We didn’t talk about it until one day, months and months later, I told him I needed to talk to him about something. And he said, “I know what it’s about.” Turns out he had been ignoring the same thing for a long time as well.
It was clear in the next several moments that we needed to say yes.
To what? To opening our homes, hearts, and lives to give a family to a boy who has none. To show him a love he has never had before, and to teach him the source of that love.
Soon, likely in the next six months, we will once again become parents. To a 13 year old boy who currently lives in Beijing, China.
We have very few answers, other than an overwhelming peace with the decision. We trust in God, our Creator and Protector. We have the resources and the time to make this happen.
Our lives will never be the same. And we can’t wait.
This doesn't make us awesome, just willing. In the moment that we were called to be used, we were given the courage to say yes. Even after all the denials, the ignoring, and the running away, God was patient. And persistent. And He still wanted to use us, even in our brokenness. So now, we are blessed to be a part of His unending love for His children.
All of them.
Good morning Surgeons! Here are our announcements for July 22nd:
- Finishing Catalyst Series: God the Change Agent
- Our Special today is the Beatles - Revolution
- Extra Thanks the host families for our CIY group, they are doing great work
- We had a lovely SAW event last night - Tom Dews and Rachel Cross were outstanding
- Next week we're starting our Blue Collar Series, beginning with God, the Roto-Rooter - don't miss it!
That's it - thanks all!
Writing Lot was a challenge on two primary levels. First, he's more of a role player making an occasional appearance around the story of Abraham. Second, his story is a sad one. He doesn't (at least not in the biblical account) make a triumphant rebound like Joseph, or Gideon. Lot's story is one of loss, betrayal by his family and is an also ran in many ways. We know his name because of the things that happened around him. His story is a stark counterpoint to the larger than life steps of Abraham... and nations did not come from Lot.
And yet, by all appearances, he remained faithful, in spite of his suffering and less than magnificent circumstance. I'm a sucker for the happy ending and it wasn't until I really got into his shoes that I realized he had one. It wasn't in this life... but God puts his finger on the scales in the end and I believe in my heart that Lot will stand in a place of honor with God forever.
As endings go, that one will work.
Some stories don't have a beautiful ending.
I can still feel the angels' hands pulling us urgently out of the city. They told us to never look back. They told us!
In a moment, the shape of my life twisted. I no longer had a loving wife to grow old with me. I wouldn't get to lay her to rest in a cave, adorned by flowers and incense and song. She was pulled from my side on the day of His judgment, without honor and without appeal. The salt from my tears is a stinging reminder of her turning away from God to look back. She turned away from us as well, from my daughters and me. That horrible moment is burned in my memory forever.
Even then, the divine hands of the supernatural gripped me tightly, strengthening me beyond my ability to bear it. It was firm but loving in an understanding kindness that swept us along, step upon step to safety. But she was still lost to me.
We didn't have the child of promise. My daughters are far from God and drifting. I don't know if that will ever change. They were widowed that day, too. My sorrow is like the stars in the sky and the sand beside the sea, thoughts of sadness without number.
My story is not one of success or greatness or legacy. My children are not the stuff God will use to build the nations. My story is the sad tale of an average man who is steadfast and wholly committed to God. In spite of faith, my days here will end in heartbreak and sorrow. I would give almost anything to have Abraham's story, to have the tragedy averted in the last moment as God brings provision and blessing. To have the circumstances reversed and the one who loses everything finds God's blessing and provision and power.
For me, that isn't how it was written.
My men have left me for better work. My flocks have dwindled. My wife is gone. My daughters executed an evil scheme to get what they wanted, though I don't remember it.
My palace is a forgotten cave, secluded and alone and here is where I die. I have been faithful to God, but my story is one of the hardest lessons of all.
I grieve my loss and my family, but you must know that I don't grieve as one who has no hope. I trust Him. And I will continue to trust Him. Do you understand why?
Abraham told me of the conversation he had with God over Sodom and Gomorrah, after it was all over.
What if there are 50 righteous people?
What if there are 10 righteous people?
And if He didn't say it, I still think God's heart was clear enough.
What if there is one righteous person?
That person was me.
God sent angels to rescue my family and me. In the Day of Judgment and destruction, He sent us help from heaven itself. It wasn't just for Abraham; God came because of His love for me.
He loves me.
He loves me as much as He loves Abraham. When I lie with my fathers and these eyes close for good, I will stand on the shores of eternity with my uncle at my side... and I will glorify God and enjoy Him forever. That doesn't make it easy, but it does give me hope.
Some stories don't have a beautiful ending.
Don't lose heart. Some stories are finally beautiful, but their beauty lies beyond the chapter of what we know, told in His words, beyond what we can see.
"So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe ..." (Genesis 19:29a).
Good morning Surgeons!
- Continuing our Catalyst Series, today is "God the Equipment Manager"
- Tim "the Crusher" Jones is in the house!
- And... Special thanks to Tim for joining us today...
- Next SAW concert is this coming Saturday July 21st, cheesecake, coffee, music and a great event - bring a friend, 7pm at the Barn (corner of Kirby and Westmoreland)
- Thank for you generosity, we care more about you than about your money... but we do have expenses and investing in the kingdom of God is an investment that gives great returns forever
- Next week we're continuing our Catalyst series, talking about God, the Change Agent
Thanks - we'll see you soon!
Restored for God's people
Joseph and Nicodemus had buried Jesus. So when Mary came and told us what she had seen and heard, John and I raced to see for ourselves.
Was it possible? Would even death bow before my friend?
When we finally saw Him with our eyes, you've never seen a room ignite with more joy or hope. Emotionally it was a tempest, from the betrayal of my denials and guilt to the hope that He could somehow be alive again, to sadness and confusion as to where I stood. There was a lot I still didn't understand. Still, it was so good to see Him again. Everything would be ok, as long as He was with us.
Days turned into weeks and our hope grew into a sense of building expectation. Something was coming, we could feel it in our bones, but it wasn't clear what or when. I was restless and I wanted to fish. I wanted to clear my head and lose myself in the rhythm of the familiar. John and a few others decided to join me.
We didn't catch anything that night and in a private joke of fate, a figure in the distance asked if we had caught any fish. We told him we hadn't as he suggested we put our nets to the other side of the boat. It wasn't lost on any of us. We had been here before.
When the fish struck, John voiced what we were all thinking. It was Him and I was through waiting. I was all done with uncertainty and hesitation. I leapt into the cool water and swam to shore as the weight of the moment continued to build. Eating fish and bread in silence, we simply enjoyed the warmth of the morning.
When we had finished eating, He spoke to me.
"Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"
The word for love He used was agapeo, the divine love that knows no bounds. If He had asked me, even a few days ago, I would have boldly said yes to that one. But I had stumbled, and I knew that I didn't love Him like that. My voice wavered and tears came unbidden to my eyes. Lord, you know that I love you. But it was phileo, the deep and authentic and cautious love of a friend.
"Feed my lambs."
Again He said, "Simon son of John, do you truly agapeo me?"
Agapeo. I couldn't bring myself to say it back to Him. I love You as a dearest friend. I love You more than anything. But I don't love You divinely; my denial of You is proof enough. I love You, but I am painfully aware that I'm not the man You want me to be.
Jesus' response came again, "Take care of my sheep."
He asked a third time, "Simon son of John, do you phileo me?"
He used the word phileo, and it broke my heart. I don't know if it was because I wanted so badly to participate in that divine love, or if it was just the nature of affirming Him three times to unmake my threefold denial. Either way, it was the faithful wounding of a friend and not the cruel jab of revenge. God meets us where we are, to lead us where He wants us to go. So be it.
Lord, You know all things. You know that I phileo You.
He smiled and touched my arm, "Feed my sheep." And He went on to speak of things to come. His love brought me back to myself. I could feel His forgiveness and restoration. I could feel the calling of His purpose. I felt the focus of being exactly where I needed to be finally settle into my heart and mind, even my very soul.
God has called me to speak His words to this generation. I know He is with me, that He knows me better than I know myself, that He has prepared me for this time. I will speak where I was silent. I will move with Him, instead of acting impetuously on my own. I am His completely, no longer a fisherman ... but a shepherd for His people and His presence.
It wasn't the death of a dream. It was just the beginning.
"Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call." With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."
Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about 3,000 were added to their number that day" (Acts 2:36-41).
At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.