This concept is in regard to the conversations we have in the communities and organizations we live in.
Perhaps it is a vision statement. Perhaps it is a life mission. Perhaps it an all-inclusive goal setting.
When one day I look back on my life, I want to know I left my footprints all over the lives and hearts of the people I interacted with along the way. I want those footprints to be evident in those who are lost, in my closest friends, and even the strangers I come across only for a moment in any given day. I want to have left my footprints all over the lives of people.
I do not want my footprints to be for my own recognition, but because my footprints prove I showed up. I want my footprints on the hearts and lives of people only because I came running when I saw God's activity in their lives. When I saw God's movement in different moments, I stepped in.
That is the influence and impact I want my life to leave. I want it to be unlike footprints in the sand and entirely like footprints in wet cement that dried before the imprint could be smoothed out.
I sit and think of the times Jesus said, "Come!" to people. Then I am trying to remember all that was wrapped up in each invitation that is still being said to me today.
This week I am taking a break from the normal and appealing to my music lover side.
To preach is grace. To preach the gospel is amazing grace. I sat thinking of the enormous gift I have been given to do something that is truly worship for those who are wired in a similar fashion as me. I started to wonder what people walk away with after our time together. These are those reflections:
God, I have so many things I am thankful for, but I realize I rarely intentionally and actively thank you for those blessings in my life. Psalm 92 opens with the reminder that "it is good to be thankful to the LORD". Good for what? Good for who? I am convinced that it is good for me to be thankful. It is good for me to be thankful, and I am not so sure it is only good in the sense that a good person is a thankful one. I believe being thankful does me good.
So here is my heart and mind prepared to thank you for so many things.
Thank you for protecting my heart through my leaving the pastorship of SOLAS.
Thank you for Eric Waterbury, Jesse Peterson, Glenda Harr, Justin Wallace, Gary Tangeman, Ryan Masters, Grant Cox, Brandon Farmer, Nicole Farmer, Mark Shetler, Anh Powers, Dan Demuri, Tim Layfield, Jeff Koons, Steve Rodriguez who likely all are unawarely said just the right thing at the right moment when my heart and mind needed it most. This is YOUR doing.
Thank you for Tonya who has been a cheerleader who has been frustrated by frustrating things and also encouraging when it is most needed.
Thank you for the smiles and hugs of my daughters where I find beauty that points my heart and mind to you.
Thank you for statements and notes and "drop bys" from friends just to make sure things are good and okay.
God You are good. You are all together good. Surely goodness is to follow all the days of my life.
Reading Psalm 88 today after I have resigned from a ministry I have loved for 7 years has presented me a great challenge. Though the Psalmist never turns toward any real resolve in this Psalm, there is one phrase he repeats over and over throughout all his sorrow and lament where I find my heart's biggest challenge.
Over and over the Psalmist says, "I have called out to you every day, O LORD; I have spread my hands to you...in the morning my prayer comes before you. I have cried out to you for help, O LORD."
Will I in this time, cry out to God each day? Will I spread out my hands to Him? Will my prayers come before Him OR will I wallow and mope and "try to figure it out"?
Today, I ran into a friend at the coffee shop and told her the news. She said she was sorry, and then she said she would be praying. I thanked her like I have everyone who said similar things the last week. But then she said, "No! I mean that. I WILL pray for you."
I stopped to look her in the eye and say, "I believe that. Thank you." (NOT that I don't believe others are actually praying for me, but her directed affirmation was helpful.)
This has me thinking and challenged in this time. I appreciate all the prayers people are offering up on my behalf right now, and I am truly humbled by so many great friends who would do this for me, but here is the challenge: I MUST PRAY...also! I must pray each day and extend my needy and shaking hands to God. I must cry out to Him every day.
Today reading about the death of Elisha in 2 Kings 13 has given me a reflection for my heart at this very moment in my life. Just before he dies, the king over Elisha's people comes to him for a final blessing. In a moment involving bow and arrows and the prophecy behind it, king Joash does not react to the fullest potential he could have in regards to the future of the nation in accordance to what the King chose in that moment. In verse 19, Elisha is saddened by the King's response to pound the ground 3 times instead of 5 or 6 times because however many times he chose to pound the ground would be how many times his nation would overcome the attacks of their enemies later.
Here after my resignation as college pastor and going into the night of my goodbye reception I feel Elisha's sadness. One of the most troubling, dis honoring and truly heartbreaking things for me as your pastor of 7 years would be to hear and/or watch those I have taught and lead with all my heart go and not truly live out the things I have spent so much of myself to teach and invest in you.
I want to have the heart of Paul in some of his letters' openings to say to you months and years from now: "I praise God when I remember you. I am confident that HE (NOT I) who began a good work in you will perfect it. I have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love you have for one another. It is right and good for me to feel this way."
I pray and really hope NOT to feel like Paul's opening to the Galatians when he says, " I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who CALLED YOU by the grace of Christ, for a distorted gospel."
My friends and my SOLAS FAM, if I have truly had such a strong impact on you (as many of you have said), I want to hear and see stories proving that in the future!
All my heart and love is FOR YOU. I've always been for you, and I will always be for you. Grace and Peace!
All is grace!
We most often are moving and going so frantically that God’s peace and blessing cannot land upon us.
If God’s peace descends like a dove, I am all but swatting it away with my hectic grasping after success as defined by the American
My priority is to be concentrated on Abba. His closeness is my ultimate good, and not my success as is demanded of me. I spend too much of my heart, mind, energy, and time comparing myself to others.
Abba, I need you. I need you to be close to my heart and mind. I need your peace if I can just sit still long enough that it might descend upon me.
My God, over and over again, I am reminded how woefully inadequate my prayer life truly is. I am ashamed of my lack of time and effort in prayer. I cannot imagine any excuse for a lack of prayer, and in return I cannot imagine any reason for me to wonder why ministry, family, leadership and other areas of my life seem to be without power, passion, life, progress, or growth. If I reap what I sow, I cannot be surprised when I sow little. If the condition of the church, family, and organization will take the shape of its leader's character and tone, I just cannot be surprised, nor can I place blame anywhere but my own lack of prayer and fervor for time with you. No matter how great my teaching and preaching can be, it is barren and empty without having received it fresh from you in prayer.
My God, I am woefully short on the very front of prayer where the power of preaching really lies. My God, I have to pursue you and intentionally pray that you may hear my heart for family, for students, and for ministry. My heart does break for them, but that brokenness has very rarely driven me to my knees for them.
O my God, I am brought low this morning at this realization. Thankful for your grace, I do not want to ride its coattails. I want to be with you more and receive from you the tone, character, desire, wisdom, and vision for the people I love.