"Peace be with you."
"And also with you."
It occurred to me today that these words from the liturgy are so much more than just words. They are a blessing, and a heartfelt prayer. Made in the image of the God who speaks life in being, who said "Let there be light!" and there was light, our words have power. When we speak peace over each other, we are declaring it to be so. And when we say "amen," we are asking God to let it be so. "This thing we just said, God - this blessing, this wish for peace for our brother, or our sister - please. Let it be so. Let them be at peace." At rest. Healed. Whole. Well. Completely and utterly their ontological selves. Who they were always meant to be.
I haven't always thought about it that way. But it is what we're saying.
The last reading in Beth A. Richardson's The Uncluttered Heart this past week was about being a shalom bringer - the kind of person who brings the fullness of God's peace to people - and I'm pretty sure I met one yesterday.
I tend to steer clear of the holiday crowds, but my laptop bag got swiped last week, and with it (unless it is buried in the untidy-ness of my room) the cable that attaches my camera to the computer. So I went to buy a new one.
An older gentleman, new to the store and a bit overwhelmed by the phone ringing and all the people asking for help, nevertheless went out of his way to help me. After looking everywhere he could think of, he found someone else and asked him about it. "Oh," came the answer. "We don't carry that kind of cable here. You might try this other store." The gentleman who'd been helping me look for the past 5 minutes turned to me and said genuinely, "I'm so sorry. I hope you find one. Thank you so much for your patience." And then he smiled, reached out and touched my shoulder, and wished me a good evening. And he meant it.
I walked away feeling incredibly cared for, and at peace.
Maybe it wasn't a big deal to him. Maybe he's a Christian and behaving that way comes naturally as a result of the work Jesus has done in his heart. Maybe he was simply a kind person. I don't know. But in the middle of a crazy workday, he took the time to see me - not as yet another consumer who needed something, but as a person - and to wish me well.
It mattered. It made a difference to my day. And it made me wonder: how many dozens of opportunities do we have each day to make that kind of a difference, in His Name?
God, make me the kind of person that leaves others feeling that cared for, the kind of person who speaks your peace into the lives of others. Amen.
And friends - may grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (2 Peter 1:2) Amen.
[Jesus] says to us, “Give up your life—give up your plans, your desires, your ideas of how things should be—and I'll give you something better.”
Jesus doesn't call us to stay where and what we are because he's not much of one for staying in one place; he calls us to follow. He calls us to a journey, and a relationship, and like any journey and any meaningful relationship, that means change. It means leaving things behind, and getting new things in return.
And yes, that includes the things of which we say, “God couldn't possibly want me to give that up; he can't possibly mean that I'm not allowed to do that.” In fact, it especially includes those things, because those—whether sinful in and of themselves or not—are the things in our lives that most interfere with his lordship: they are our idols. They are the things which which we must give over to him if we're to follow him; clinging to them is nothing less than idolatry....
And yes, that includes our money, and our careers, and our other family relationships, and our gifts and talents and aspirations, and all the other things that matter to us. He calls us to surrender to him everything of significance in our lives, to do with as he will. This is not the price of his acceptance, but its consequence; it's what it means to be accepted by Jesus, because to be accepted by him is to be invited to go with him, to go where he's going and do what he's doing, instead of going where we want to go and doing what we want to do.
Change. I have such mixed emotions about that word. I love change - I need it. (Hence the ongoing home renovation project, which I hope to finish next week.) I go stir-crazy if I don't have enough of it. But at the same time, I don't like it. I like knowing the status quo. I don't like having it change up on me. It means learning a new set of rules, a new set of parameters. A new way of thinking about things. I wish I understood this paradox a little better. It's right up there and tied in with another major paradox in my life: this crazy wanderlust-filled need to travel paired with a deeply-seated need for home.
I don't know what to do with any of this right now. But it's today's chapter of my story. There is change on the horizon - change I am pretty sure is ultimately coming from the Lord. I am flailing a bit against it right now, trying to find my bearings in what I thought was familiar territory, but suddenly doesn't look quite like I thought it did...
But maybe there are some things I need to leave behind that I have held onto too tightly. Maybe there are new things He wants to give me in return for letting go of my "plan-o'-life."
Maybe this gift He wants to give me is actually a new map - a better one than the map I had last week - the one I was pretty sure I could read and follow without needing to stop for too many directions. And maybe - just maybe - the roads I thought were winding will turn out to be straighter than I thought.
There's only one way to find out.
1. A Place Called Home - by Lori Wick
This book definitely falls into the "summer fluff" category, but what I love about Lori Wick is that her characters grow in their relationships with the Lord in ways that challenge me to do the same.
2. John G. Lake: The Complete Collection Of His Life's Teachings - compiled by Roberts Liardon
I haven't actually cracked this one open yet, but it's next on the reading list. It's a little intimidating - the only books I own that are longer than this one are my systematic theology textbook and an out-dated dictionary. Still, I am looking forward to digging in, hopefully later today.
3. The Transforming Power of Fasting and Prayer: Personal Accounts of Spiritual Renewal - by Bill Bright
This book has been incredibly encouraging. Most encouraging are the stories of people who didn't experience anything all that out-of-the-ordinary while fasting, but who saw their lives, churches, and ministries transformed afterwards in ways they saw linked to that season of prayer and fasting.
4. Kathryn Kuhlman: A Spiritual Biography of God's Miracle Worker - by Roberts Liardon
Kathryn Kuhlman is one of my favorite interesting people. She was one gutsy woman of God. And I was surprised, in reading this book, to learn some things I hadn't known about her, and to find that I am more like her than I would have thought. At the end of this book are a few excerpts from some of her radio broadcasts that made for excellent morning devotional reading.
5. Walking with God - by John Eldredge
Again. :) I read this book last summer and it literally changed my life, and re-reading it this summer with my small group, I am finding that it still has much to speak. If you read nothing else this year, I would highly recommend it.
6. You Matter More Than You Think - by Dr. Leslie Parrott
I've seen this book on a shelf at the bookstore off and on for over a year now, picked it up, read a page here and there, and put it back - but something told me it was finally time. This book spoke healing into my life that I didn't even know I needed.
7. In Constant Prayer - by Robert Benson
This is a very interesting book. It tackles the question: "what does it mean to pray without ceasing, and is it possible?" and suggests that it is, thru the ancient practice of the daily office (a pattern of prayer and worship offered at specific times of the day). I have been wrestling for a while now with the sneaking suspicion that there is more to prayer than I have yet experienced, and I am learning a lot - and trying not to be too weirded out by the fact that the picture of the author looks suspiciously like my 7th grade English teacher, Mr. Benson, whose first name escapes me, and about whom all I remember is that he really liked baseball, and that he once lived in a place in Brazil where cockroaches would come up through the shower drain.
So how about you? What are you reading this summer?
1) Torch Church is officially opening its doors on Sunday mornings starting this weekend! We're meeting in a movie theatre, which presents a myriad of opportunities for creativity. :) There have been a lot of emails and phone calls and meetings these past few weeks in preparation for tomorrow - and I am excited to see what God will do with our church in this new season of ministry.
2) It's summer, so of course we have been outside a lot. It's been strange weather these past few days - feels more like October than mid-July, but we'll take it. The heat wave is likely still coming. :)
3) Tonight I went to see my good friend Nicole in The Sound of Music. It was wonderful! Well-produced, well-done, amazing sets. It was really fun. And now I'm all misty-eyed and weepy. :P A good love story will do that to a girl. Especially when she's up this late, lol.
4) I've had some really great theological conversations this summer. Hoping to find time to write about some of them soon.
5) I've also been road-tripping a fair bit. Two trips up to Michigan, and one up to Indiana - all to see good friends. I think the currently reigning lol conversation of the month is still this snippet from my road trip to Indiana; I went to church with my friends, and when I noticed the wooden cross in the corner of the sanctuary, the conversation began something like this:
me: "Um, why is that cross covered in chicken-wire?"
my friend: (pauses, grins, thinks for a minute how to sum this up): "Well... that's an issue."
It was a great moment in conversational history. :)
6) I'm painting a lot these days. Redoing my apartment one bit at a time. I will try to find batteries for my camera and post pictures once it's done. I'm doing a couple of paintings to match the new color scheme, and painting bookshelves, reorganizing closets, etc. It's been incredibly good for the artist in me to have an outlet, and I'm looking forward to being done, but enjoying the process, too.
7) In the midst of reorganizing and repainting, I had misplace the tickets to the play tonight, so today, in an attempt to find them, I tackled the stack of junk mail. I began going thru my multiple baskets of junk mail over a year ago, and I am almost done!!! I have one basket left, and then everything will be filed or recycled. YAY! I know it's ridiculous, but you have no idea what a victory this is for me. I was amused, therefore, when the stack of junk mail I thought the tickets were in had been sorted and appropriately organized, to finally find the tickets on the couch. They weren't quite in plain sight - there was a magazine on top of them. But I'd left them out for safe-keeping. I'm glad I forgot that, tho - because now I feel really accomplished. ;)
Father, I pray that You would turn our hearts to praise, even as they break over so many things. Build us up and encourage us, Lord - even as You have already been doing. Your Word says that You heal the brokenhearted and bind up our wounds, and I pray You would do that - continue to do that - for us. Thank You for the ways that You speak to us, for the encouragement we feel as we spend time with You, realizing that You have known all along the way things would go and are with us in the midst of it.
You are great and mighty, Star-Counter, Star-Namer; Your understanding has no limit. Thank You for knowing how much we need to be humbled and graciously bringing us to brokenness and humility before You. You sustain us there, and we would rather be humbled and sustained by You than cast to the ground with the wicked.
Fill our hearts with joy and gratitude as we count the cost of following You, even in situations where it would be so much "easier" to just get mad and sulk. Rain-Maker, Grass-grower, Provider for all of creation - may we be people You delight in. Teach us the fear of the Lord, and to hope in Your unfailing love at all times. As we praise You in the midst of these storms, strengthen us, bless us, grant us peace, and satisfy us with the true Bread of Life. Jesus, You truly are more than enough for us.
By Your word, all that is exists. All seasons come by Your command. This season in our lives is here by ordination - and I pray, Lord, that we would learn all You would teach us here, and emerge the better for it. Reveal Your Word to us - may we be fascinated by You and You alone, Jesus. I praise You, Lord, for all that You have done, are doing, and have yet to do in us. Have Your way.
Highlights of the road trip:
* spending an hour or so on the beach at Lake Michigan, reading, napping, listening to the waves, just being (which was possibly the best part of the day altogether, tho I loved the rest of it too!)
* a great deal at a book store - 2 books and 5 cds for $40! :)
* catching up with 2 of my old roommates, whom I haven't seen in almost 2 years
* celebrating two years of birthdays and Christmases with Jeni in the middle of June (yay, presents!)
* dinner at The Curragh, a terrific Irish pub
* seeing Josh Schicker, an old friend from college, in concert (shameless plug: you should check out his stuff on ITunes - he's very talented)
* sunshine!!!! - which seems like a silly thing to celebrate, but it's been pouring rain for days, and it's cloudy again - so one whole day of sunshine was wonderful. :)
No matter where I go in this world, West Michigan will always be home. I'm not sure how to explain it or even why it's so - but the minute I cross the Michigan border, I just start to feel happier. (pun intended, lol) I smile for the last hour and a half of driving. Katie says I even walk differently when I'm home. Lighter. More free. And especially on the beach there - I just feel more like me than I do anywhere else. I'm not sure why that is, but thank You, Jesus, for the gift of one more day spent there. I needed that.
It was an eclectic, 4-part present, all from Ten Thousand Villages (which in and of itself is cool - i mean, come on, social justice and a present? how much better does it get?) - and when I said, somewhat apologetically as she opened the box, "it's kind of an eclectic present...", she said, "I would expect nothing less from you!" and that was a compliment. :) And then she proceeded to go through the box.
I probably could have gotten her anything under the sun, and she would have thought it ingenious. She took her time opening those gifts, and the delight with which she found each item in the box.... I'm not sure I've ever felt so treasured. To hear her talk and to see the look on her face as she read the tags explaining the background on some of the gifts and the explanations of fair trade marketing - to see the way she traced the stitches and read the labels - you would have thought every dream she'd ever had just came true. She loved it.
I thought, as I shopped, "well, she's very hospitable and she journals a lot, so..."
She thought: "someone who knows me well just got me the perfect present."
What if we opened God's gifts that way?
What if, instead of simply thanking Him out of habit for our food before dinner, we actually stopped and marveled at the way tomato plants grow? What if we rejoiced over the rising of the sun, and instead of shushing our kids, joined them in hysterical, uncontrollable laughter, in appreciation of humor and the freedom we have to laugh? What if we noticed, not that our shoes got wet as we crossed the lawn to get the paper, but that the dew fell and sparkled in the sunlight? What if we got distracted by the rainbows the sun makes on the ceiling over the kitchen table when it shines just so and refracts through the glass-topped coffee table in the next room?
What if the fact that we can breathe in and out suddenly floored us with an understanding of God's goodness and mercy?
What if the fact that we have clean water wasn't something we took so for granted?
What if a realization of God's incredible, precious, abundant grace suddenly broke over our souls the way waves break over the rocks on a shoreline? What if we suddenly realized (again) how desperately in need of that grace we are? And how blessed we are to know One who so freely gives it - at great cost to Himself?
And what if we really knew how to open a present? I think a lot more people would smile, don't you? :)
Last week, reading through 2 Samuel 7, I caught something I hadn't before. I knew this passage was about God telling David he wouldn't be allowed to build the temple, but that he would have an enduring legacy. But reading it this time, one of the phrases God used really struck me.
God reminds David, in a message relayed by Nathan the prophet, of the great things He has already done in his life, and then He says,"Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth." (v. 8-9) Almost instinctively, I asked the Lord, "Why would you tell him that, God?" And almost immediately the answer came: "Because he could handle it."
And he could. David didn't go getting all full of himself - "I'm going to be one of the greatest men on the earth." He "went in and sat before the Lord." (v. 18) Can you picture that? The king of Israel slipping into the tent of the Lord and just... sitting.
And then he says, "who am I?" and "Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign Lord?" (v.18-19)
Can you hear the humility? He's not jumping around, shouting it from the rooftops. David is remembering the deeds of the Lord (Psalm 77:11-12), and it draws him to worship. He could have fallen prey to some feeling of "entitlement"- after all, God had promised him he'd be king, and now he was, so it was all just justice now, right? and hey, look at all that time I spent hiding in caves - I should hope I'd get some sort of reward for that, and... No. I doubt that line of thinking ever crossed his mind. David loved the Lord, and the fulfillment of His promises led him not to self-righteous, arrogant pride but to worship.
David worships the Lord for His goodness to him and to His people, and then he accepts God's new promise. "And now, Lord God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, so that Your Name will be great forever." (v. 25-26)
In other words, "I'm okay with You making my name great, because it will make Your Name great when You do it."
I want that kind of perspective. I want to want God's promises over my life to be fulfilled not just because they're great (which they are) but because His Name will be made great in my life as I walk into the fulfillment of the destiny He's planned for me. It isn't about me. It's about Him. (says the woman indulging her narcissistic tendencies by blogging and hoping someone will read it.) :P
But it is, really. At least, I want it to be. I want the very fact that I live the life I choose to live - going the places He calls me when He calls me to go, doing the things He wants me to do when He wants me to do them - to point to Him, to His glory, to the greatness of His renown. Something we often pray before band practice is that God will help us to be excellent and to play well together not so everyone will think we're so great but so that we can't possibly be a distraction to anyone by our mistakes and fumbles onstage. We don't want to hit wrong chords or walk into the screens suspended from the ceiling on either side of the stage (not that this ever happens, lol) - not because we want to look/sound polished, but because when we do, people are free to not notice us at all. The music we play, the lyrics we sing, point to something greater - become something greater - than we could ever be on our own, and it gives Him glory when that happens. And I think the same sort of principle can hold true in our individual lives. We can become excellent at the things we do for the wrong reasons, and get all arrogant about it - but there are right reasons to pursue excellence, whether that's excellence at a skill or a job or producing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives or walking in His specific will for our lives, etc. - and the best reason is to give Him glory.
And it's interesting how it's often when you don't notice you're doing it that you are.
If I'm going to be "great" - I want to be great the way David was. If I am remembered for anything, I want to be remembered for the way I walked with the Lord, and the way my life pointed to Him and gave Him glory. And I guess what really struck me reading this conversation between David, Nathan, and the Lord is that you don't have to be oblivious to the gi-normity of God's call on your life (tho to put it in persective a bit, the fact that God calls any of us to anything is pretty gi-normous, right?) - you just need to recognize that it isn't about you going anywhere or doing anything - it's about God being given the glory that was His all along - it's about living your life in a way that inspires others to worship.
Maybe it's just because I'm worship person, but I think that's just cool.
Rob, one of the guys in our minichurch, took a video of the swordfight on his cellphone. There is a great moment in the video where he was filming over Jake's shoulder, and all you can see of me is a continuous blur of styrofoam sword. "I look like Reepicheep," I observed, while watching the playback after church on Monday with someone who hadn't yet seen the incriminating evidence that yes, on occasion, I really am that randomly feisty.
Our small group has now taken to calling me Hapicheep.
This is actually a post about expletives, and it does actually have a few in it, so if you think it's possible you might be offended, please feel free to skip the rest of it. :)
I read those verses not too long ago, and the bit about not using obscenities or coarse joking sort of stuck with me. I have a few guy friends who tell some pretty bad jokes. They're funny - but they're in bad taste. Ok... now that I'm thinking about it, some of them are funny, but mostly they're in bad taste. And me? I tend to swear a little bit when I'm really frustrated, and it's starting to bug me. I'll use foreign swear words sometimes - "bugger" was my favorite for awhile - but words like that don't mean the same thing in the States as they do elsewhere, and so it doesn't really feel like swearing, tho I'm sure a proper English grandmother would be horrified. But recently I find the word "sh**" coming out a lot more often - when I'm late, when I make a mistake, when I drop something on my toe... and it's bothering me.
So as I've been thinking this through, and trying to discipline my tongue a little more, a friend of mine posted a link to a great xkcd cartoon. I've needed this reminder from the Lord, that obscenities simply aren't to be part of my normative speech patterns; I need to be more intentional about what I do and don't say, and I will keep working on it. But this cartoon reminded me of the extreme value that a well-placed expletive can have. I mean, even Paul swore once, to make a point:
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
(I hear the Greek word for ... um, rubbish... isn't exactly translated correctly as rubbish. I think it's actually supposed to be ... sassafras, lol.)
So here is a classic reminder from Randall Munroe that sometimes a well-placed expletive really does say it all:
The true irony is that I needed to hear that too.... :)
So I get to the gas station, and I'm all out of sorts and tired and crabby, and I have trouble getting into a spot by a pump, and my car is still covered in snow. I get out of my car to pump gas, and suddenly I'm not sure about anything. Is this my car or someone else's? Which side is the gas tank on again? I dig thru the snow on the side of my car and find a cap that looks right, assume this is where the gas goes, swipe my card at the pump and start pumping gas. Only to realize a few minutes later, as I'm blinking blearily at my car, that this isn't right. I'm pumping gas into what I thought was the gas tank, but isn't - I'm at the front of my car, about a foot in front of the side mirror. I stop in embarrasment, hoping no one has noticed, and move toward the back of the car. Ah, here we go. I pop open the cap and start pumping gas again. It soon spills over, and I look in horror - I'm still not pumping gas into the right tank in my car! This one is just in front of the side mirror. What?! Finally I get to where my gas tank really is, and I can hear the gas sloshing into the empty tank. I am mortified - and by now, people are watching. I feel like the whole restaurant is watching, and certainly the other people at the pumps have noticed by now, and an attendant has come out of the gas station to see if he can help.
I explain the situation, in complete embarrassment, but am far more comfortable asking this kind stranger who might know the answers than I am about the prospect of going home and telling my mechanic what I've done. My biggest fear is that I've totally messed up the car - that putting gasoline in the wrong places will make it stop running, or worse, explode.
The attendant waits for me to finish pumping gas, and walks me thru what I've done. This first cap, he says, delivers fluid directly to the engine. A passerby jokes that hey, at least I was trying to be efficient - too bad it doesn't work that way. It won't hurt the car, says the attendant - it'll burn off really fast as I drive, and no, the car will not explode. This next cap, he explains (and keep in mind, all three really do look the same) is where all sorts of fluids are delivered to the engine -antifreeze, water, etc. This isn't the greatest place to put gas either - it'll mix with the other fluids and make them less productive, but the car will still work - just not as efficiently. I might want to talk to my mechanic about draining this tank and refilling all the compartments with the proper, undiluted-by-gasoline fluids - but I'll be okay to drive home and to the mechanic's at least. And he knows I'm embarrassed, but I really do need to tell the mechanic what happened and get my car cleaned out a bit so it will run more effectively.
This third cap, he says, is where gas really should go, and good job on finding it. Gas needs to be processed thru the established distribution system in my car to work the most efficiently. So long term, no damage, but my car will need some minor work to get in good shape again, and here, by the way, is the bill. It is expensive. This entire endeavor was way more costly than it needed to be...
It seems to me that God was trying to say something thru this dream, even if it was simply that I am trying to fuel myself, not with the wrong things, but maybe in the wrong ways, and that what I really need is to do it His way... but I'm wondering if any of you have any insights?
It made me grin. :) And now I totally want to ride a steamboat down the Mississippi and have a pickle, and fish and chips...
1) This is actually not due to the "normally" busy schedule I tend to keep. This week has its own particular brand of insanity, as it is the week before Sacred Space. Sacred Space, for lack of a better explanation, is a multi-station, interactive worship event, and one of my favoritest things ever. Pictures to come, post-event - they will explain much better than I ever could.
2) I've been thinking a lot about persevering prayer lately. I have always loved the image in Revelation (I forget the reference, but I will try to look it up later) about how the prayers of the saints are like incense that fills up a censer in heaven, and when it is full, it tips, and the answer comes pouring down to earth. I poured a lot of incense into a particular censer last year, and I remember the day it just felt finished... but lately, I've been feeling like I need to pour in a little bit more - like the censer wasn't quite full, but maybe I needed a rest, or someone else was taking a turn, and now it's my turn again. Not quite sure what to make of it, but I'm re-reading Dutch Sheets' book, Intercessory Prayer, and it's helping to shape my prayers a little more boldly.
3) I really love a lot of the music from a band called Carbon Leaf, and I just found out today that they have a new album coming out. This makes me randomly very happy.
4) I am also very happy because the SUN is out today. Yay, sun! :)
5) I am without vehicle for the week, and I have to say - I am actually finding it somewhat freeing. I can't go anywhere that I can't walk or bike to, unless I hitch a ride, and I'm okay with that. Now granted, this is probably because I'm getting my car back on Saturday, and I planned ahead and went grocery shopping last weekend, but still. It's kind of nice - not being able to make commitments to go places and do things, I'm not making them. So in the midst of a really busy week, I have 15 minutes to sit down and blog, and more time to rest than I otherwise might have had, because I'll be home in the evenings instead of running around town. This was good timing!
So - in an effort to not be quite such an absentee blogger, and to keep you updated on not necessarily always the main events in my life, but at least some of them - Random Ramblings, vol. 1. The number of random items will be random from volume to volume and the distance between volumes will be random as well, but at least I'll be rambling along about something, and who knows what might end up having a point? Velociraptor Awareness Day seems to have had one... :)
1) Today is Kentucky Derby Day. So despite the beautiful weather, I am home, blogging and watching the pre-race coverage. Yep, for six weeks every year I am almost a horse-racing fan. ;) It's my mom's fault, introducing me to the Black Stallion books one summer. We've watched the race almost every year that I can remember, and I still do, even though I'm far from home. I only watch the Triple Crown races, generally, but it's fun, and someday, I would really love to go to Kentucky and watch the Derby live. Just to say I did.
2) I really want a Hot Buttered Rum from J.P.'s. sigh. It's one of the best lattes ever. Hopefully I will be able to go home in June and get one. I have had coffee in 5 other countries, including Austria, and I still think J.P.'s is the best. Tho I will grant you that Vienna has good coffee, and I will not complain about going back there someday. :)
3) I am really excited about June in general, mostly because for the first time ever I am actually taking my team to the Willow Creek Arts Conference. My pastor's coming too, and I think it's going to be invaluable team-bonding and resource-finding time. (Cathy, if you're coming this year we totally have to have dinner!) :)
4) At some point this year I will be taking another road trip with Jesus. I have seven days of vacation left, so if I plan it right around a weekend, I could have a 9-day break, which would be awesome. The question is, where to go, and when? :) I should probably decide soon. Suggestions, anyone? :)
5) I'm also itching to go on another missions trip soon. South Africa would be cool... and wow. I'm starting to see a theme in all this randomness... apparently I am really itching to get out of here. lol. :) That's actually not all that surprising, actually. For most of my life post-college, one of three things has changed about every 12-18 months: my job, my home, or my church. Not sure why - I've always felt pretty led towards those changes, and it's just the way it's been. So after about 18 months of anything I start to get a little antsy. I've been here for three and a half years now, and sure, there have been changes ministry-wise in that time, and church-planting is no small thing, but it's all been such a natural, organic sort of change - it's not like I picked up and changed denominations or something... So no wonder I'm getting antsy... And yet, in spite of the wanderlust kicking up in my soul, I still feel like His word on the subject is stay. So I'm staying...
but I'm looking forward to those road trips, too. ;)