Friday, May 28, 2010

A Long-Overdue Stitchin' Post!!


I am finally back to stitching regularly after the sudden changes of this year. Here is a little recap of what I've been doing.

For a Stitch-a-long with a friend, we are doing "Bride's Tree" ornaments which are 12 Xmas ornaments which according to German folklore every new couple need on their tree. I'm doing three sets to put away for some special people in my life.

Here are the heart ornaments (for love):
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Here is one of the rabbits (for hope/faith/peace with nature):

One of the flowers (for beauty in the home):

My current big project is The Names of God by My Big Toe Designs. I've completed page one:

Monday, May 24, 2010

In Other Words--Let the Holy Spirit Lead (Don't be Afraid)


“Our view of the Holy Spirit is too small. The Holy Spirit is the One who changes the church, but we have to remember that the Holy Spirit lives in us. It is individual people living Spirit-filled lives that will change the church.”

Francis Chan
Crazy Love

Two and a half years ago our church endeavored to have a "Vision Day" where the congregation came together to dream. Anything and everything was possible. If you had an idea, no matter how crazy, you were encouraged to write it down.

The leadership took those ideas and categorized them into "immediately possible" "someday possible" and "wow, what a dream" (those are my categorizations but they pretty much describe the groupings). They then did the unimaginable, they began to put a plan into place that would address the "wow, what a dream" category. And God blessed it. Opportunities arose that were only breathed in dreamy whispers. There was a sense of excitement that some major improvements were going to long-last be made to impact how ministry is done in this place.

Eighteen months ago the first plans of what was dreamed were outlined. They were eventually presented to the church body. There was an excitement. But there also was fear on the part of some. "What if we can't raise the money?" "What if the youth don't come?" "What if you are wrong?" The arguments were countered "God is already providing and will continue." "The kids are coming in droves, we need space for them." "If we are wrong, God will direct to a better plan." Fear. Trust. Worry. Faith. The tug of war went back and forth. Although a majority said, "Let's do it!" fear won out and all plans, even the immediately possible, were shelved.

The dialogue that has taken place the past year has been that of doubting faith. I have heard "of course God can do it, but I don't think he is (or will)" many many times. The sense of excitement has been demolished by a sense of fear. And the saddest part of the story is that it is the same people. The same people who got excited about the possibilities are now encased in fear. What happened?

My view of the situation is that it is easy to believe that God through the work of the Holy Spirit wants to change lives and wants to enable us to minister in new and exciting ways. But when we take that dream of what the Holy Spirit can do into the realm of what is the Holy Spirit doing the realization sets in---God is going to use us. He is going to use the individual to achieve the work. It sounds great to have a big dream, but it sounds scary to take up our individual part in that dream. Sacrifices of time, money, energy and talents are on the part of the individual. All the individual sacrifices are combined, and multiplied exponentially by the Spirit in some amazing way, in order for the corporate dream to happen. But if the individual does not allow the Spirit to move in their life, the corporate combination will never happen. As Mr. Chan so correctly puts it, "It is individual people living Spirit-filled lives that will change the church." Conversely, individual people allowing fear instead of the spirit to lead, can thwart the changes in the church.

We need leaders who are unafraid to say, "I believe that God is doing this." We need to be leaders and members of the body who will stand and declare "God is leading me to make this sacrifice and I believe He will use it for something even bigger." We need to be Spirit-filled individuals acting in accord with God's Word and leading to change the church. It is not up to "them." It is up to us!

Dreams die when non-Spirit filled people allow fear lead them. Hallelujah that does not have to be the case! Dreams soar when Spirit-filled people allow God to change them as individuals.

Do we want to soar? Or do we want to follow fear? I pray that I make the correct decision. Praying that you, too, find the courage to follow the Spirit and see what amazing things God will do in your life as well as in the lives of those around you.

Tami is one of those amazing bloggers through whom the Spirit speaks and leads me. She chose this convicting quote this week. I know that I am waiting expectantly to see what God will teach me through Tami's post and the other posts that participate this week. Please join us through Mr. Linky at The Next Step. Be blessed, and be a blessing, this week.

Monday, May 17, 2010

In Other Words--Whispers and Shouts


God speaks. I know that some people doubt that but in my experience he speaks. His speech is not audible (usually, but I suppose it could be if he desired) but it is clear and distinct. The better we know him, the more easily we will recognize his voice.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:27

Often he uses the things that are happening around us to speak to us. I have stood on mountainsides taking in his majesty or in fields of clover absorbing his beauty, and felt him applauding as I recognized him.

You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
Isaiah 55:12

I've sat by the seashore watching the sunset and heard the whispers of his love as the waves crashed in and out bringing more and more peace into my life.

He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
Psalm 127:29

I've sat in tears, believing my world was breaking, only to feel his arms around me and hear the lullabies of comfort come into my heart.

The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

In the midst of my troubles, he has shouted through his word to give me direction.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17

“God whispers to us in our pleasure,
but He shouts to us in our pain.”
~Rick Warren~
in Daily Hope Devotional,
titled “Tuning in to God
quoting C.S. Lewis

I do not believe that there is a formula that says "in this circumstance God talks this way, and in other circumstances he talks this way." In fact, the rest of Warren's devotion is not about how he speaks but about how we must be prepared to hear him speak by reading his word and knowing his voice. The point we need to remember is "God Speaks!"

Sometimes it is a whisper. But God speaks!
Sometimes it is a shout. But God speaks!

Are you ready to hear?

Father God, give me ears and eyes and sensitivities to hear you as you speak in the circumstances of my life. Give me the courage to act on what I hear, to believe what you are saying and doing, and to guide others to do the same. Thank you for being a God who speaks to his people. Amen.

Debbie at Heart Choices is the hostess this week. You will be blessed by visiting the other posts related to this quote this week.