Achieving “Enoughness”

Achieving “Enoughness”

When did good become not good enough? When did a “mini” size not become as good as a “small” size? When did a milkshake become better than lemonade?

I spent this past week with my nephew who is ten years old. Bless his heart….he is a good kid. He complied with the rules and regulations that you have to follow while staying at Grandmama’s house and (for the most part) used manners at the appropriate times (although we’re still working on the chewing with your mouth closed part—it’s a work in progress)…..
But, over time I noticed a pattern. It seemed as if nothing was good enough for him. (Let me step aside for a minute and say….he is NOT the only one with this problem).

• I offered to buy him a “mini size” sno-cone; he wanted a “small.”
• I offered to buy him lemonade; he wanted a milkshake.
• I offered him an 8 inch pizza; he wanted a 10 inch one.

It was never good enough…so it seemed.
But, aren’t we all the same way? And adults are sometimes the worst!!

(I promise I’m not picking on my nephew at all. God just used him as a catalyst for a blog post. It’s an honor, really)! 😉

But, as adults….don’t we do the same thing…..

• We are always trying to achieve ENOUGH…
• We are always trying to live up to ENOUGH…
• We are never satisfied because we don’t have ENOUGH…

And what we do have is not ENOUGH…

It’s an epidemic that we have bought into, that we can never obtain. We run ourselves ragged trying to always achieve ENOUGH….

You’ve probably heard this question before: If you were to die tonight and stand before God and He said to you, “Why should I let you into Heaven?” What would you say to him? Would you list your achievements?

I am generally a good person, Lord.

• I don’t drink.
• I don’t swear.
• I tithe regularly.
• I go to church on a regular basis.
• I take my children to church.
• I pray before every meal.
• I won the award for “Most Bible Verses Memorized” when I was in the 6th grade S.S. class with Ms. Wilson.
• I can name all the books of the Bible.
• I volunteer in the nursery at church.
• I have volunteered with Meals on Wheels before.

I told you, God; I’m good. Look at all I’ve achieved.

You know what you have done there? You have diminished your relationship with the Lord down to a resume.

You have listed your greatest attributes, hoping and praying it is enough. You have a “resume relationship” with God NOT a “real relationship.” (concept from a leader at NorthPoint Community Church).

Over two thousand years ago people were asking the same question we still ask today.

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18-25)

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” (John 3:3-4)

Looking at the book of Matthew, in Chapter Five, Jesus is preaching the Sermon on the Mount. During this sermon he begins to teach about the Law (or the Scriptures of the Old Testament). In Matthew 5:20 He says, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

See, even the Pharisees were theological conservatives. They believed God. They believed His Word. They wanted to live lives that demonstrated their devotion to God. So they were very careful about their behavior. They went to great extremes to make sure they were not disobeying God’s law. To the people of the day, there was no one more righteous than the Pharisees. But Jesus says, “If you aren’t better than them—the most righteous people you know, then you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Harsh words….because what He is saying is basically NO ONE is good enough. No matter what you do (or don’t do) you aren’t good enough to get into Heaven.

So, where does that leave us?

We need something…..we need righteousness.

To boil it down all righteousness is is to be in right standing with God. But, in order to do that we need Jesus.

Romans 3:20-22 says, “No one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law. … But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

When we put our trust in Jesus, He gives us His righteousness. In God’s eyes, He makes us completely righteous.

Earlier in Chapter Three of Romans Paul explains, “What the law was powerless to do …God did by sending his own Son …to be a sin offering …in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us.”

There is evidence of righteous requirements throughout all the Old Testament. Here are just two examples.

Psalm 71:2-“Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me.”

Isaiah 42:5-7-“This is what God the LORD says- he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: ‘I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”

The Law (Old Testament) has not been abolished (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It’s still there and it still reveals God’s will. But through Jesus, we have met all its requirements.

So what? Now what?

If we can never be good enough, should we just stop trying?

Absolutely not.

We are destined to do great things (and be a great people) because of our relationship with Jesus Christ and because of the love the Father has for us.

• We should always strive to do our best because it is good for us. (James 4:17)
• We should strive to do right because we were made for it. Christ died for us, so we could become like Him (Romans 3:22, 24-26).
• When we do right it is a gift to God (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).

The Lord has done so much for us; why would we NOT want to do good for Him?
(insert music cue: “You Have Done Great Things for Us” by Matt Redman)

One day we are going to stand before God at a celebration in His honor. By the way we live our lives we are preparing a gift for Him, the one who created us, forgave us, rescued us, cared for us and brought us back to life forever. On that day, the gifts will be opened and the contents revealed. What will you be giving the King at His celebration?

Reflecting upon your relationship with Christ.,…..Is it a “resume relationship” or a “real relationship?”

“Enoughness” isn’t something to “live up to” – it’s something to discover through the process of truthful and compassionate living.

 

“The Great Flood of 2014”

We got back from New Braunfels about 10:30AM on Saturday morning…..about 10:45AM Paul got a call from Joe, the custodian’s (at our church) husband. He asked if we wanted to “see a mess?” Joe told Paul that the sanctuary was flooded because the toilet in the women’s bathroom (next to the sanctuary) overflowed. Well, assuming Joe was exaggerating, we took off to the church.

Well….Joe was not exaggerating. The sanctuary was flooded, about 50% of it!! The women’s bathroom has three toilets (three stalls) in it, and a pipe became disconnected from the 2nd toilet (2nd stall) and shot HOT water ALL OVER the bathroom, flooding the hallway and the sanctuary (because the wall adjoins them). The pressure of the HOT water also blew a hole in the side of the wall in the 1st stall….there was water EVERYWHERE!!

Joe said he was up at the church on Friday afternoon and left about 4:30PM. So, sometime between 4:30PM on Friday and Saturday morning (around 10:00AM) the pipe disconnected and flooded the church!

the pipe

the pipe

the hole in the wall (in the OTHER stall)

the hole in the wall (in the OTHER stall)

Peggy had gone up to the church on Saturday morning to put some drinks in the fridge. While she was there, she walked into the office to do something. Well, as she was walking down the hall she could hear water running….if she had not thought to go into the office for something, we would never have known about the flood until Sunday morning (and that would’ve been AWFUL)!! So, praise Jesus, we found it on Saturday!!

flooded bathroom

flooded bathroom

carpet flooded

carpet in the sanctuary flooded

another angle

another angle

the carpet has already started "buckling"

the carpet has already started “buckling”

the pews all got wet, too

the pews all got wet, too

The basement flooded, too (AGAIN)!!!

basement flooded

basement flooded

ServPro came over (from Bryan) and sucked out all the water–and then set up about 25-30 fans and about 6 dehumidifiers all around the bathroom, hallway, sanctuary, and downstairs!

hallway

hallway

sanctuary

sanctuary

sanctuary

sanctuary

foyer

foyer

They will run the fans for 5 days straight and then reevaluate and see what the carpet looks like….they’ve already had to tear out part of the wall in the bathroom (and will probably have to do more as time passes).

We had church in the Fellowship Hall (and will probably have to do that again this coming Sunday)!

So….exciting times at FBC Giddings!

 

Waco Trip

Well, this was Week #4 of living out of a suitcase! For four out of the last six weeks I have lived out of a suitcase, packing and re-packing the very same red suitcase….but tonight it got put back in the closet!! 😉

This past Monday I went to Waco for four days to hang out with Mom/Dad/Grady. Grady was at my parent’s house for the week, so I wanted to go see him.

On Tuesday it was rainy most of the afternoon, so we enjoyed playing Yahtzee….until I kept winning! 😉 Grady didn’t want to play anymore after that.

playing Yahtzee

playing Yahtzee

One of Grady’s favorite places to go in Waco is Bahama Bucks. He called me on Sunday night, before I left for Waco on Monday, and asked me to take him….so I did!

 

Bahama Bucks

Bahama Bucks

On Wednesday morning I took Grady to Cameron Park Zoo. He complained most of the time that it was S-O H-O-T!! Believe me, it was NOT HOT!! I was able to wear my hair down all morning and not sweat too death, so clearly it was not hot!

Cameron Park Zoo

Cameron Park Zoo

"selfie" at the zoo

“selfie” at the zoo

Grady

Grady

Wednesday afternoon (after lunch at Poppa Rollo’s) I took Grady to Ridgewood. He swam, jumped off the diving board, worked on his dive, and I sat, soaked up the sun, and had a drink!

Grady's cannonball

Grady’s cannonball

Grady's dive

Grady’s dive

me "chilllaxin'" by the pool

me “chilllaxin'” by the pool

Wednesday night Dad started a fire in their little fire pit that they built this past spring….we had s’mores!

preparing the campfire

preparing the campfire

enjoying s'mores

enjoying s’mores

On Thursday morning I had breakfast with John Ray at Panera Bread….and lunch with Ally Derrick (no pic. of her)!

John Ray and me

John Ray and me

Overall, it was a good visit….I got home on Thursday afternoon around 5:00pm….and Paul whisked me off to New Braunfels! He said he was ready to “GET OUT OF THE HOUSE” so we booked two nights in a hotel and went to Schlitterbahn on Friday! This is our only picture from the day because we didn’t carry our phones while we were getting wet!

"selfie"

“selfie”

Next up….the “Great Flood of 2014!!” 🙂

Mission Trip 2014 Part Four

Well, This is my last post–I think! 😉

Now it comes to the obligatory “group” pictures in our matching shirts! 🙂

Dana, me, Kris, and DQ

Dana, me, Kris, and DQ

Dana wanted to take a “full picture” because she looked CUTE! 🙂 (Her words, not mine)….

Macie, Lillie, Dana, Grace, and Jasmine with one of the cast members of their drama team

Macie, Lillie, Dana, Grace, and Jasmine with one of the cast members of their drama team

Camp Siloam does a MAJOR drama every summer, based on a Bible story. For example, this summer they did Stukhona Island (based on the story of Joseph). It was a very elaborate drama that they put on every morning–our kids loved it! These are some of our girls with Chief “Gotta-have-a-big-belly”**the drama is hard to explain, but it was a “twist” off of the story of Joseph, where “Broseph” got banned to an island that had a volcano that was going to blow up unless he invited something to stop it! Anyway, it was really good…..

me, Paul, and Walker (and a bunch of photobombers in the background)

me, Paul, and Walker (and a bunch of photobombers in the background)

This picture is really funny to me because….

We have a “running joke” in our youth group that Walker is our son. He hangs out with us a lot, going out to eat with us, running errands with us, and on more than one occasion, he has been mistaken for our son. So….I wanted a “Family Picture” (like last year)….

our "family picture" from last year at Camp BaYoCa

our “family picture” from last year at Camp BaYoCa

Well, this is what I got! Walker looks like he has to go to the bathroom REALLY BAD and then we have all of our CRAZY “relatives” photobombing in the background!!!

Our entire group

Our entire group

This all 32 of us from our Mission Siloam group!

Crazy picture of our entire group

Crazy picture of our entire group

And the obligatory crazy picture!

Group from FBC Caldwell

Group from FBC Caldwell

FBC Caldwell brought 9 kids and 2 sponsors. Our kids got along great with them!

Crazy picture of FBC Caldwell

Crazy picture of FBC Caldwell

I love Craig and Grace in this picture! 😉

FBC Giddings

FBC Giddings

This is our group–Macie, Victoria, Dominick, Dana, Walker, Morgan, Paul, Taylor, Jasmine, Lindsey, me, Lillie, and Colton

Crazy picture of FBC Giddings

Crazy picture of FBC Giddings

Most of us are trying to do the “Siloam” sign–making an “S” with our fingers!!

Group picture of Marlow Baptist

Group picture of Marlow Baptist

Marlow brought 6 kids–all of which we already knew, but our kids still got along really well with them and loved getting to know them more!

 

Well, that’s it! That’s the Mission Trip for 2014~

 

Mission Trip 2014 Part Three

Besides working for four days (which was the primary reason we went) we were able to have a couple of “fun” activities, as well.

One afternoon my work group played on the low ropes element that we were cleaning up…..The Islands

CAM03740

group shot on The Isands

group shot on The Islands

One night our group got to do a Night Swim (at 10:30PM)–I didn’t have my suit with  me, but surprisingly they said the water was “warm.” (We had some cool nights and cool mornings while we were there)….

CAM03781We found two (small) snakes while we were raking and clearing leaves/brush.

Meet Sarah

CAM03736

Meet CJ

CAM03769

One evening some of the kids were able to play their instruments with Paul and Kris while they led worship. DQ is playing the bongo, Walker is playing the electric, Colton is playing the bass, and Jasmine is singing….

CAM03787

On Friday afternoon we took all the kids to the Wild Wilderness Drive through Safari, about 20 minutes away from the camp….I think the kids really enjoyed it!

Wilderness Drive Through and Safari

Wilderness Drive Through and Safari

Victoria as our "tour guide"

Victoria as our “tour guide”

white bison

white bison

monkey that was SO LOUD

monkey that was SO LOUD

Tina (the llama) was eating my shorts

Tina (the llama) was eating my shorts

Grace and the baby goat

Grace and the baby goat

Jasmine

Jasmine

Sophia the giraffe

Sophia the giraffe

me and the peacock

me and the peacock

Lillie and the peacock

Lillie and the peacock

Lillie and her lion

Lillie and her lion

me, Tina, and Victoria

me, Tina, and Victoria

These next two pictures CRACK ME UP!! Dana would kill me if she knew these pictures were on our blog!! Here is she feeding the giraffe!!

IMG_2294

Reaction #1

IMG_2295 (2)

Reaction #2

On Friday night, after our little field trip, Camp Siloam had a chuckwagon dinner/picnic (and invited us), along with playing some outdoor relay games!

Chuckwagon dinner

Chuckwagon dinner

Dinner over the open flame

Dinner over the open flame

Relay games

Relay games

Relay games

Relay games

Walker bobbing for an onion!

Walker and Dana bobbing for an onion!

We had a nice combination of work and play–which is something our kids needed (and the adults, too)…..

What On Earth Am I Here For?

A LONG TIME AGO (back in September of 2013) my sweet friend and former pastor, Bob, asked me my thoughts on a sermon he preached, based off of the book What On Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren. Bob did a 6-week sermon series on the book and wanted my input, after listening to the first two sermons in the series. I wrote him a response but just now realized (while cleaning out the files on my computer) that I never published it on the blog. So, here it is….

(This is my response to Bob)….

First of all (and most important), thank you. Thank you for being a breath of fresh air. Thank you for remaining true and biblical to what the Word of the Lord is supposed to teach us, but without using the Bible as a weapon or a platform to tell me what is wrong with the world.
Thank you.

I love the fact that (from the very beginning) you addressed the fact that the sermon is NOT the main “course” of what Chillicothe Christian is all about. From the very beginning your members (and visitors) can see and recognize that CCC is A Family of Love and Truth, as it says on your website (and I believe, used to be somewhere either on the bulletin or in the newsletter).
Anyway, A Family of Love and Truth cannot be built on just a sermon alone. It cannot be built in just one hour on a Sunday morning. It comes from spending time together in fellowship: reading God’s word, sharing time together, praying together, and living life together. I appreciate the fact that it was addressed that way from the start without any doubt as to what this series (and every sermon series) is about.
Throughout our culture, society, and generation more and more people, I believe, go to church on Sunday mornings, as if it’s an obligation, a requirement, and not a commitment or a joy, even. Once their feet step out of the church doors the “checkmark” shows up on their “To-Do list” as if it’s just another thing to do, without any regards to how their life might be changed if they just invested a little bit more and critiqued a little bit less. And, in order to invest, you must get involved (in daily devotions, small groups, etc.)—beyond just 9:00AM (10:30AM) on a Sunday morning.

Of course, if you know me, you know I love a 3-point sermon with a few illustrations and a joke or two thrown in, so….this sermon was right on target. 🙂

This afternoon, I read over and studied Romans 8:28. Although The Message is not always my favorite translation, I did like Romans 8:28 in The Message.

“That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

And here’s my notes! 🙂

1.) I’m called for God’s purpose—not mine, but God’s. It’s not about me…..He made me for Him, not for me.
As it says in The Purpose Driven Life….”You were made by God and for God—and until you understand that, life will never make sense.”

I really had never heard your story of your “call” into ministry, and I had no idea that you really wanted to go into Radio Broadcast…..
I can relate to your story….not that I wanted to go into Radio Broadcast, but that when I felt “called” to go to seminary and go into “trained ministry,” there were no bright lights, there was no fanfare, no party, no big revelation…..it just happened over time, and I realized my life’s purpose was to “DO SOMETHING” rather than just BE.

I really like what 1 Corinthians 1:5-9 says in the New Living Translation:
“Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge….. Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end…. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

I love that Paul addressed the CHURCH and said it is enriched because of what WE do. Or in the words of Paul….your church is blessed, enriched, and ready for service because of you and your knowledge and the way the Lord has called you. Not just your pastor, youth pastor, worship leader, etc…..but you!

As I mentioned, The Message is not a favorite translation of mine, but I do like Ephesians 2:10 (you mentioned it in your sermon) from The Message.

“He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do…..”
God has everything ready for us….He’s just waiting for us to say “Yes”

2.) My sins and my mistakes don’t change God’s calling for my life.

This was probably my favorite “point” of your sermon. Given with so much passion and sincerity, it’s definitely what people need to hear. Our generation, weighed down by sexual affairs, failed marriages, self-mutilation, etc., need to know that NOTHING they have done or could do could ever make God NOT love them…..unfortunately we do live in a sinful world, and sin happens. We just have to know what to do with it and how to overcome it.
a. God loves us so much He gave us the freedom of choice…of decision making.
b. Sin abounds in this world because of that freedom…people can choose to not follow God.
c. As a result people make bad choices/decisions that can have far reaching, damaging effects on others.
d. God doesn’t exactly allow bad things to happen. They happen because of our freedom to choose.
e. God loves us so He wouldn’t engineer the damage/pain/abuse of one of us just to teach another of us a lesson. In fact He wouldn’t engineer our own pain to teach us a lesson.
f. BUT God loves us SO MUCH that when something bad does happen He will not waste the opportunity to teach/grow us (which is exactly what you said in your sermon)—everything is part of God’s plan.
He doesn’t want our pain to be useless or in vain. He wants to bring something positive/good/useful out of it. He is using it to teach me/you/us to change, mold, and grow, and He’s doing all that because HE LOVES YOU.
“Your message, your salvation, your body, your struggles, your successes—all proclaim God’s glory.” (from It’s Not About Me by Max Lucado).

3.) Your calling is connected to others. Your assignment, your vision, your calling cannot happen without spiritual growth and/or community. You can’t fulfill the purpose of your life by yourself.
In your sermon you mentioned Hebrews 3:1. I like the New American Standard Bible version:
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling…”

I like that “Paul” addresses the brethren (fellow members) as holy. Dictionary.com defines holy as “dedicated or devoted to the service of God, the church, or religion.” We are dedicated, devoted, and set apart, called for a higher purpose….together, as a fellowship, not alone.

It cannot be done alone.

“God wants you to be in regular, close fellowship with other believers so you can develop the skill of loving. Love cannot be learned in isolation. You have to be around people—irritating, imperfect, frustrating people. Through fellowship we learn those important truths.” (The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren).

“Busyness is a great enemy of relationships….God, whether I get anything else done today, I want to make sure that I spend time loving you and loving other people—because that’s what life is all about. I don’t want to waste this day.” (The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren).

4.) God empowers what He calls me to do
If God gives you an assignment, He will give you the power and strength, and ability to do it.
You commit yourself to God’s calling….
“God I will give you my life, however long that is…..”

I loved the prayer you shared from 2 Thessalonians with the congregation…”With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Mission Trip 2014 Part Two

As I mentioned in the last post we split the kids up into 4 different groups and rotated them through different “work stations” so everybody got to do something different, everyday. The kids were so good at being flexible and were willing and able to do all that was asked of them…with minimal complaining. Here are some pictures of our different work groups throughout the week!

(All of our kids got along SO WELL–it was so nice)!

CAM03671Lillie, Macie, Hannah, Britani, and Dana

CAM03672Clayton, Jonah, Jasmine, Dominick, DQ, and Taylor

CAM03673(Boojie), Kasey, Grace, Morgan, Lindsey, Cody, and Nathan

CAM03674Victoria, Grace, Colton, Bailey, Grace, Tim, and Matthew

CAM03729Dominick, Colton, Kris, Grace, Bailey, Craig, and Kasey

CAM03731Jonah, Tim, Cody, Britani, and Grace

CAM03732Victoria, Taylor, Clayton, Macie, DQ, Morgan, Jasmine, Grace, Matthew, Paul, and Lillie

CAM03733Walker, Chris, Dana, Nathan, Hannah, and Lindsey

Here are a couple of “random shots” of some of the kids….

DQ, Lindsey, and Grace

DQ, Lindsey, and Grace

Jasmine and Victoria

Jasmine and Victoria

Morgan and Victoria

Morgan and Victoria

Hannah, me, Lindsey, and Dana

Hannah, me, Lindsey, and Dana

Grace and Jasmine

Grace and Jasmine

me and Victoria (twins for the day)!

me and Victoria (twins for the day)!

Walker, Dana, and me

Walker, Dana, and me

Someone was TIRED!!

Someone was TIRED!!

me and Victoria

me and Victoria

IMG_20140703_185936 - CopyThis picture is awesome! Grace was ALWAYS making weird faces and “photobombing” everyone’s pictures….So, here she is. Paul used an effect on his phone to create this picture.