Monday, August 25, 2008

Rejoice With Me!!!

"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

A couple of Sundays ago, our minister brought us an interesting lesson on "The Bible's Bad Math." Being the accountant that I am (and even former math major, before I switched to a business degree!) that topic grabbed my attention when I first saw it, and I wondered what it was going to be about.

If I recall correctly, he began his sermon in Luke 15, as he read to us the parable of The Lost Sheep, one of my favorites from when I was a little girl in Sunday School. I turned there in my Bible to read along, but after he was finished, I couldn't seem to keep my eyes from wandering down to the next passage of scripture, the parable of The Lost Coin, another favorite of mine from back in the day!

So often, we read passages of scripture that can jump out at you, as you realize how they apply to you TODAY. Well, TODAY, that parable of The Lost Coin was in my mind, as it applied to me, and quite literally! Normally, I NEVER carry cash. But this past weekend, my mom had reimbursed me $90.00 for a purchase that I made, something that she had ordered from a store up here and I picked it up for her. She also gave me an additional $15.00 for a pair of shoes I'd bought for her. Then my roommate gave me her portion of the bills that I'd paid, which amounted to $140.00. So by Saturday, I was walking around with $245.00 in my pocket. (Did I mention that I NEVER carry cash?)

This past weekend, I was at my parents' house, and before I went to bed Saturday evening, when I was changing into my sleep clothes, I emptied my pockets into my suitcase, threw the jeans on the bedroom floor, and went on to bed. The next morning, Sunday morning, as I was quickly getting ready for church and getting ready to get packed to come home afterwards, I picked up everything off the bedroom floor and threw it into the suitcase, made a very quick check through all the house to make sure I hadn't left anything important lying around (I always manage to forget something!) then headed out the door.

Fast-forward a couple of hours. I get home...unpack the suitcase to do the laundry...no money. I begin to second-guess myself...Am I sure I put that money in here? Am I sure I didn't put it in my purse? Am I sure it's not somewhere in the mess that is my car? Am I sure I didn't leave it lying in the bedroom? Am I sure I didn't leave it somewhere else in the house, like lying on the kitchen counter or some such??? I couldn't remember, and I had no idea! Folks, this is why I NEVER carry cash!

The scariest thought to me was when I noticed that the outside zipper pocket of my suitcase had some change in it, and it was unzipped. There was also some change in my pocket along w/the money, and I thought "Am I sure I didn't put the money in there, forget to zip it, and it fall out!!! Am I sure I'm not that stupid???" So I looked in all those places. I looked in the suitcase again. I emptied my purse. I looked in the car. I looked EVERYWHERE that I had been since I'd been home. I called my mom and asked her to check the bedroom down there. No luck.

Until this evening. I sat down front of the suitcase (which is still lying on my bedroom floor with a few items in it) and said, '"Sovereign Lord, You alone know' where that money is! Please help me find it!" I looked through the suitcase one more time. and noticed there is a little flap in the bottom of my suitcase that velcroes down and folds up. I held my breath...I lifted it up...and I FOUND THE MONEY!!!

So for a day, folks, I got to feel like the woman in Jesus' parable.

And I think the moral of His story is very clear...


NEVER carry cash!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

"Just Call Me A Communist..."

That was my friend Shane's comment regarding the fact that he hasn't watched any of the Olympic games so far this year. He very jokingly said, "Just call me a Communist...I don't support America."

I'm sorry, I didn't realize the Olympics were THAT serious. If that's the case, I must be a Communist too, because I haven't watched any of them either. If I were to watch any of the events, the one that would hold my attention the longest is the gymnastics, that can be a little fascinating. Unfortunately, when it comes to the summer games, I've always been the most bored by the swimming, which is where all the hype is at this summer. So it's true. I haven't watched. So sue me. It's America...you can do that.

I DID, however, have the distinct privilege of watching, up-close, live, and in-person, an event nearly as serious as the Olympics!!! After evening worship services last night, a large group gathered in the gym of our Family Life Center for some serious, hard-core, no-mercy, head-shots only (okay, well maybe not, someone might have gotten hurt)....DODGEBALL!!!

There was a tournament consisting of 4 teams: Young Kids, Teens, Singles, and Young Couples (parents of the young kids). Unfortunately, I didn't exactly bring my dodgeball-playin clothes to church with me Sunday night, so I chose to stand on the sideline as a cheerleader (Go Singles!!! We DOMINATED, by the way!!!) rather than join in the fray.





As I stood there on the sideline of the gym, watching, laughing, cheering, enjoying the action, and actually dodging the occasional ball that came flying my direction, I couldn't help but think of a post that brother Mike Cope wrote a few weeks ago, describing his church's option for summertime Wednesday evenings this year, entitled, "The Church At Play." What they were doing is not all-that-different from what my church chose to do on Wednesday evenings this summer. We gathered for a shared meal. We shared a more casual devotional and praise time. The difference was where the Highland church in Abilene had various fun activities different nights such as movies, outdoor water activiites, games, etc. while we opened up a mini-coffee-shop and had live entertainment, where we sang, danced (gasp!), and karaoked all summer long!

Different activities...but the idea is the same. As Mike Cope said, "...there is a time to work...and a time to PLAY." There is a time to just spend fellowshipping with your brothers and sisters, having fun, and hopefully getting to know them on a little bit more personal level. And sometimes that time is even more important than the time you may spend together in other ways, doing other things. Because it's when you really get to know each other that you are able to build a real sense of community within your church "family."

On Wednesday nights, my Singles class is about to begin a study of the book Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them by John Ortberg. Our singles minister introduced the book last week, emphasizing that we would be learning how to better "live in community" with others. But to do so requires one to make an effort to really get to know others. It seems like it will be an incredible study, one that I can hardly wait to begin! I love this topic, because I love the idea, not only of building upon the sense of community I already have with others in my Singles group, but of building that same sense of community with the rest of my church "family." Because at my rather large church, I have no doubt that I worship with some of the most amazing people, most of whom I don't know, or at least not well. And we so often call ourselves a church "family" that sometimes I can't help but wonder what ways there are for us to continue to make it more and more so.

No, to tell you the truth, I'm not a Communist, but I absolutely LOVE the sense of community that I have with my brothers and sisters in the Lord!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Busy-ness

That's what today was for me.

Right now is about the first time I've really stopped to catch my breath today.

Really, it started last night, when my wonderful friends in my Singles group at church threw me a birthday party! Well...we always generally hang out on Friday nights anyway, playing games, watching movies, or just sitting and talking. Last night was no different...but my friend Bill ordered pizza for everyone, and my friend Kimberly made us some cupcakes! (I've got the greatest friends!) We had a good time, and it was a late night...didn't leave till about 1:00, and didn't get to sleep till about 2:00.

Took basically a nap, then woke up at 6:30, because a couple of the girls at my party last night wanted to go to a garage sale this morning. We've got another friend of ours that was trying to get rid of some stuff before she gets married and moves to Brazil, so we wanted to go show our support and see what she had to offer!

I came home, went to Walmart and bought some paint and some fabric. Came home and got to work, painting a sofa table that I'd bought awhile back. Started reupholstering my dining room chairs. Went back to Walmart to get more fabric when I realized I didn't have enough. Cleaned my kitchen. Started some laundry. Cleaned my living room. Started back to work on the dining room chairs, then went back to Walmart a third time (they've got my #) when I ran out of staples. I had the presence of mind this THIRD time to go ahead and pick up the stuff I'd need to make the dish I'm taking to our brunch tomorrow morning. We'll be having a brunch during our Sunday morning Bible class, in honor of the guy that's been teaching us. He's done an amazing job, and he's technically done w/his material, but has ever-so-graciously agreed to stay with us through the end of the month, when he'll then be obligated to teach elsewhere.

In the midst of all this busy-ness and back-and-forth to Walmart, I did happen to stop and treat myself to a free "Love it!" size creation from Cold Stone Creamery. If you sign up w/them on their website and join their birthday club, they'll e-mail you a coupon on your birthday for free ice cream! I appreciate the fact that the good folks at Cold Stone try their best to make sure that you get your money's worth out of whatever size ice cream you order. I do not, however, appreciate the fact that in doing so, my ice cream was too big for the lid to fit on it, and they forgot to give me a napkin. So my ice cream dripped. By the time I'd made it 10 feet out to my car, it dripped all down the cup. It dripped on my hands. It dripped on my pants. It dripped in my car. It was very messy. Good...but messy.

I finally made it home and rinsed all the ice cream sticky-ness off of my hands and got back to work on the dining chairs. Then I made a delicious cream cheese danish-type dish for tomorrow morning.

That brings me to right now, where it's nearly midnight, and I'm sitting here with the rest of the ice cream from earlier, listening to the rain right outside my window, finally getting a moment to relax. I've had all this stuff to do, going constantly all day, when in reality I've been having sinus issues all week long and all I really felt like doing today was drinking some Nyquil and sleeping all day. Such is life.

But I'm not complaining. Because when I look at my life, I really couldn't ask for anything better. Late last night, one of my friends asked me about that. He asked me, "Are you happy here???" I wasn't sure what he meant...here at PV? Here in Little Rock? Turns out he just meant here in general...with my life...here, as a young, single person, living my life on my own. He mentioned that he would someday like to have a family. I agreed...I would love to have a family someday. But I also told him that I don't feel like I'm ready for that right now, I'm still working on me.

And until then, these Singles that I'm friends with...they are my family. True, we spend alot of our spare time together just hanging out. But we also get to spend alot of time together each week in Bible study, in prayer, and in service to others. That's why I couldn't ask for anything better--because despite all the busy-ness that I have going on, they help keep me focused on HIS business.