Wash and Dry! Wash and Dry!

A couple of weekends ago, I worked at a free laundry event. The event was created by a lady who does extreme couponing.  Unlike most of the other folks on the TLC show, she does not hoard the items she gets, she gives them away to people who need them the most.  There were so many things that touched me about that day but it is amazing how quickly I let those lessons slip from my mind. Well, until last night. I was doing laundry.  As I was folding the laundry, Dashboard Jesus fell into the pile.  I felt convicted.  I say God never talks to me but when he tries to show me something, I say that is nice and I put it out of my head    As I stood folding the laundry in my house, those lessons came flooding back.  Thank goodness, he cares enough to remind me.

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So, what can we learn from a free laundry day.

  • God is not Dead!

I met a lady at the event.  She lives on a very tight budget.  Not the kind of tight budget I live on, where I have a lot of room for extras, but a real tight budget.  She was thinking she was going to have to wait for her check to come in the mail before she could do her laundry.  She was watching TV and saw an advertisement for the free laundry event.  When she got there, she felt love and acceptance.  She knew God was alive but she felt it deep in her soul.  I know God is alive but do I feel it in my bones.  Do I feel it so deep, that I am willing to sacrifice so others can feel his love?  I am not even talking about a big sacrifice.  Maybe my Starbucks or even a pair or shoes or movie trip.   She said she was going to proclaim, her words not mine, that God is indeed alive to everyone she saw.  Do you feel like God is alive in your life?  What are you willing to sacrifice?

  • No matter how dirty our laundry is, God makes us clean.

There were all types of people at the laundry mat.  Some people are there because they need to wash something big.   Most people are there because they do not have the equipment at home.  It is amazing what people will tell you at the laundry mat.  People have real life struggles.  Some of them are money issues.  Some of them are bad decisions.  Some of them are just because.  As I stood out and looked at the crowd, I thought all of these people are God’s children.  No one is more important than another.  We all have struggles.  Some are bigger than others.  We all have dirty laundry and only through God can we be made clean.  All of us that have been around the church block know this.  God has shown each of us this grace.  Why is it so hard to extend that grace to those not like us?

  • Any gift to someone, be it kindness or some help, shows them God’s love.

At this laundry event, people brought snacks for everyone to eat while we there.  There was also bottles of water.  The police were there to make sure everyone was safe, which was not a problem, but they also brought things to hand out, like pens and coloring books and bags for the kids.  In talking to one of the little girls there with her mom, she asked me if she was allowed to have some of the snacks.   She said she did not want to get arrested.  Before she left, she told me this was the best day ever and asked me if I would be her best friend.    Kindness means so much and does not cost a thing.  A little bit of help, giving a cookie or a hug also goes a long way.  What would happen to our neighborhood if evreyone looked out for each other and showed some kindness.  Waht if we even lended a helping hand?  I think it is easy for me to say since I live in a small town but what about when I go to the city.  It is easy t be kind to someone like me but what abpout those who are different.  My attitude goes a long way in showing God’s love, not only to the person receiving but to me.

Life is about the little moments that change you.  Will I allow myself to be changed? Am I paying attention to the little moments and not just searching out the big earth shattering moments?

 

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Sparkle, Jesus!!

Slparkle, Sparkle!

 

Ok, I have a confession.  I like reality TV.  Truth be told, I like many different types of reality TV.  My favorite is a show by Lisa Ling called Real America.  If you have not seen it, I would recommend catching it on the OWN Network.  The premise of the show is to understand the different perspectives of different groups of people in the US.  Each show highlights a different group.  Some of the people she talked to believe in casting out devils.  Some of the people were transgendered.  Then, she talked to kids that are struggling with ADHD,  among many others.  One of the episodes highlighted Mom’s who had children that participated in pageants.  The episode was called Sparkle Babies.  The phrase was used to encourage kids in the pageants to get on stage and let their personality shine.  The mom’s would act out the moves that child was supposed to do and yell ‘Sparkle Baby’.    In watching this show, most of the ‘shining’ done by this kids were over the top fake poses.   Isn’t that how we like our Jesus?  We like him safe and fake.  We don’t like to dig deep.  We do not want Jesus to get to comfortable in our life.  That is just too messy.  We like our Jesus all sparkly and pretty, not wild and dangerous.

As a girl, I like sparkle.  I wear them.  I have them on my phone case.  We put sparkles on everything.  At a church conference, I even bought a shirt with a sparkle cross and flame on it.  Sparkles are pretty.  But sparkles on my Jesus, on my Faith?   So how do I shed my Christian sparkles?  How do I leave the safe, easy Christian life and start following the true Jesus.  The one that is dangerous.  The one that will take my heart and mind and break it into a millions pieces.  I follow a blog written by Holley Gerth.  It is a great blog and her books are wonderful.  She talks a lot about God Size dreams.  God size dreams are never safe and they rarely sparkle.  They are scary.  They require us to give a large piece of ourselves.  To change in ways we never thought were possible.  There is a quote on her blog.  I have included it below.

Change-the-World

 

Oh friends, isn’t that true?  God size dreams are meant to change the world.  Even on the days when we do not feel our best.  So, as of now, I am going to try and leave the sparkly safe Jesus behind and follow the Jesus that changes the world.  Won’t you join me?

 

Happy Birthday, John Wesley!!

John Wesley’s birthday is this week.  For those of you that run in the church circles, you have heard about John Wesley.   He is the founder of the Methodist Church.  His beliefs do not just impact the Methodist Church, but many churches use his beliefs to spread God’s word throughout the world.      If you have studied the life of John Wesley, or if you have never heard of him, here are some good things to know about him.

  • When confronted with God’s voice, John Wesley was transformed.

You would think, based upon John Wesley’s work, that this transformation was a no brainer.  This was not an easy road to transformation.  When John Wesley was in college, he worked on his spiritual life.   He had started a Holy Group.   This group met together, prayed, studied the Psalms and the New Testament.  This group grew in number despite being called crazy for their consistent study.  In 1735, James Oglethorpe , wanted John Wesley and his brother Charles to come to Savannah, GA to lead the church.  During the long sail to the Americas, John Wesley came into contact with the Moravians.  The Moravians were a division of the Protestant Church that places a high belief in Christian Unity, devotion to God, missions and music.  He was so moved by their values that it shaped how he did his ministry.  Also, on this boat, John met a young lady.   Her name was Sophia Hopkey. Wesley and Hopkey became romantically involved, but Wesley abruptly broke off the relationship on the advice of a Moravian minister in whom he confided. Hopkey stated that Wesley had promised to marry her and therefore he had gone back on his word in breaking off the relationship. Wesley’s problems came to a head when he refused Hopkey communion. She and her new husband, William Williamson, filed suit against Wesley.  The case was dismissed but in the end, John Wesley felt his reputation was so damaged that he needed to return to England.  He left Savannah exhausted, depressed and beaten down.

When John and his brother Charles returned home, they received counsel from a Moravian missionary.   John attended a Moravian meeting at Aldersgate , where he heard a reading of Martin Luther’s preface to the Epistle of Romans, and later wrote “I felt my heart strangely warmed”.   Have you ever felt your heart strangely warmed?   A few weeks later, Wesley’s heart was on hire and he preached a sermon on the doctrine of personal salvation by faith, which was followed by another, on God’s grace “free in all, and free for all.”   God knocked and he answered with a resounding YES!  He did not look back.

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  •  John Wesley understood that sharing God’s word was not just up to the Pastor.  It is up to all of us.

How many times as lay people, have we said, that is not our job.  It is the Pastor’s  job.  How about that is not up to me, we have a Church staff?  How many times have Pastor’s misunderstood lay people or looked down on them.  Saying, I am the leader, they need to do what I say.  I fully understand that these statement do not include every Pastor and Lay person.  I also understand that we need to have discerning leaders running our churches.  However, I also believe this is a wake-up call to call to all of us.  It is God’s church and we need to pull together to make sure we reach those that are hurting and lost.   That means compromise, bible study and being able to discuss things in an open and safe way.

  • John Wesley lived his life as simply as possible.  He gave away as much as he could to help others.  Not 10%, not the bad stuff he did not want but the majority of what he had.

Do you notice how many times the word ALL is listed below in the quote from John Wesley?  How did we get to be a society where we only do good when it does not get in the way of other things in our life.  When did we start to be a society that hoards what we have, when others have so little.  How many shoes, shirts, plates, books do I need?  God does not expect us to have nothing but I do believe he expects us to have a balance.   Are you focusing on studying the bible but not serving others?  Are you serving others but not being part of the fellowship with other believers?    The message below seems so simple but so hard.   Could it be true that might be missing out on some of the great blessings God has in store for us because we are holding back a big part of our life?

wesley Quote

I don’t have all of the answers.  I wish I did.  What I do know is that the more I get to know John Wesley and his life, the more challenged I am.     Where do we go from here?

Hmmmm………how about Happy Birthday John Wesley!  My we continue to learn and grow from the example you given us.

The Power of the Burrito!

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I am on the road this week for work.   It was time for dinner.   Normally, I love to find local favorites that I can not get back at home, unless I am tired.  Then it is chain city.  Tonight, it was one of my favorites, Chipotle.  When I drove into Chipotle, there was a man standing on the corner holding a sign.  When I pulled in, I could not see the sign but it was the cardboard type and I could guess what it said.  As I was waiting in line, I swear there is always a line, I kept looking back.  I watched as car after car drove by him.  I felt God telling me I needed to give him money.  I felt it so deep in my bones, that it felt like the Father, Son and Holy Spirit was sitting on my shoulder.

For those of you that know me personally, you would jump to the conclusion that I hopped out of the car and handed over some money as soon as the feeling struck me.   I so wish I could tell you that was true.  I drove the long way around the parking lot to avoid the situation.   As I was driving the long way around the parking lot, the man, who looked more like college kid, went to sit down.  That is when the excuses started.  ‘See, God is telling me not to help.  The man went to sit down’.  In his defense, we are having a huge heat wave and he was trying to get some shade.  As I drove across the street to my hotel, I still had that weight on my shoulders.  Then came excuse number two.  ‘I have seen Nancy Grace.  My family would kill me if I go back, plus I am already across the busy intersection and my food is getting cold’.  The the weight crushed me.  I needed to go back.  As I was driving back, I decided that I was scared.  I did not trust this feeling was from God.  I was scared for my stuff and scared for the inconvenience if something bad happened.  I am embarrassed to say I put my drivers license, a couple of credit cards and my phone in my pocket.  As I drove back, the man was still on break, as did a quick circled in the lot, he went back to his spot.  It was now or never to trust God.  I rolled down the window and this man holding a sign had a hard time looking at me.  When I went to hand him the money, he was surprised.  You see, he was not just asking for money, he was a father, looking for work to feed his family.  The funny thing is his story, how he got there was not important.  He was important.  He was a person, a child of God that needed help.  My heart broke.  I could see him and his family trying to figure out what they would eat.  My heart broke again.  I could see him getting more and more desperate everyday .  I could see him telling his family, it would be ok.  He would get work.  He would figure it out.  He just wanted to work.  My heart broke into a million pieces and I can picture Dashboard Jesus weeping.  These are HIS children.  So tonight, I pray for several things.  I pray for that man and his family.   I pray that God blesses them abundantly.    I pray that this man finds work.  I pray that my heart is forever changed from the I will help when it is easy to the extravagant generous person God is calling me to be.

Talk about money well spent.

The Bird

No Birds where hurt in taking this picture.

No Birds where hurt in taking this picture.

One of the many joys of living in the Midwest is the wonderful spring months when you walk out of your house and you start to see a bird nest being built.  Now, these birds are crafty little fellows.  They build them in your wreath on the front door.   They build them on your light fixtures.  At first, you marvel at their craftsmanship.  Then, you start to hear very loud chirping when you walk out your door from a Momma bird that is trying to protect her little ones.  After many days of this, and going out the back door when possible, you might get to the point  where you try to reason with the Momma bird.  You try to tell her that she build her nest in the worse possible place.  You need to get out of the house and go to work.  As spring rolls into summer, the baby birds are born and they start the process of growing up and moving out of the nest.   In the Midwest, we move to the next phase.  I call it the clenched fist phase.   This is the phase where the new baby birds and the older birds take off as you are driving and look like they are going to bomb your car.  This is also the phase where the birds are in the road, you know you do not want to hit them and they wait till the last minute to take off causing you to slam on your brakes.

When I was driving to  church the other day, there was a group of birds in the road.  As I approached, they started to fly away.  One little bird, who looked pretty healthy decided that it was way too much effort to fly away when all he had to do was to  just cross the road.  You can insert any bad jokes here.  This little bird stopped,  froze in place and then decided to run as fast as his little bird legs could carry him.  God designed this little bird to fly.  He saw his friends fly away.  He saw his bird parents show him how it was done but he froze when it was time to follow through.   Do you find your Christian walk that way?  Why do we freeze and take a short cut or not follow through on God’s plan for our life?  It is hard to not relate to that little bird.   To know God’s plan for our life and to do the opposite.  I am sure there are many reasons why the little bird did not take flight.  Maybe it was scared.  Maybe it forgot.  Maybe it lost focus.  Maybe it just did not want to.  What excuses are we using?

My Challenge

Oh Boy, now that is a refrigerator!

Oh Boy, now that is a refrigerator!

I need to clean out my refrigerator (you can see in the picture above).  I have what a lot of us have, fooditis.    I go to the store and get what sounds good.  I stock up on the sales.  I go out to eat and bring left overs home.  It all goes in the trusty refrigerator.  Every week, i examine what has gone in and I see what has grown furry or what does not look good anymore and I throw it out.  I am part of the world that has plenty to eat.  Sure, there are weeks when I want to do something or buy something and money is tight but I have never gone to bed hungry.  Well, at least not when I was not trying to diet or had to not eat for a medical test.  I have never known the I am hungry and I do not know where I next meal comes from feeling.

Mother Theresa said,

‘If you can not feed 100 people, feed just one.

Sounds easy right? 100 is too much for us to do but surely I can feed one.  The sad truth is I throw away enough food to feed more than one.  What if we all challenged ourselves  to treasure the food we have and use what we need.  If we take the money we were throwing away each week from our refrigerator , how many people could we feed?

Here is my challenge.  Will you join me?

  • Clean out my Refrigerator. When I clean out my refrigerator and throw out food, I am going to assess a dollar amount to the food and give the money to an organization that helps feed others.
  • Grocery Store Sales- There is no harm in buying sales but maybe I should buy several and keep what my family can use and pass the rest on.
  • Invite someone Outside Your Circle to Lunch.  There is an older lady in my town that walks.  She is usually alone.  She is not inside of my circle but she is important in God’s eyes.  I am not sure how she is doing financially but why should I limit hunger to just a food issue.  Maybe someone is hungry for fellowship.

Maybe feeding 100 is not such a stretch after all.

Everyday Average Salt

How is your Salt Level?

My bible reading today brought me to a verse that I had heard before but have not really given much thought.  It was…..

Let me tell you why you are here.  You’re here to be salt seasoning that brings out the God flavors of this earth.  If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?  You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage,- Matthew 5:13 MSG

When we were kids, we had horses.  No riding horses but racing horses.  We saw all different type of horse people.  We were the kind that the horses were part of the family.   In the corner of the stall, I remember a big block.  Everyonce in awhile, when the horses were not playing with the big empty milk jug on a string, they would go over and lick this big block.  When I asked my Dad why it was there, he simply said they just like it.  So that made sense because our Dad is the world authority of everything at that age.  Plus, I  like some salt on stuff I eat. When the work was done, we went home and went about our night.  As I was waiting for my popcorn to pop, in one of those fancy airpoppers (don’t judge you had one too), I started thinking.  If salt is a treat for the horses, maybe I could skip the effort of having to clean the airpopper and just go right to the salt.  So logical right?  So, I grabbed a handful of salt and swallowed it.   Not a pleasant experience.   Looking back on this now, I am not sure why I did not try to give the horses popcorn.   That is a much better treat.  Surely, they would have liked that better.  The truth is the salt blocks help balance out the horses system because their hay and oats diet does not give them the nutrients they need.  Kind sounds like the Christians we know, right?

Going back to my bible verse for the day.  If God is calling me to be the salt seasoning that brings out the God flavors on this earth, maybe I had better be a good cook.   Like the horses, if people are missing the God flavors in this world, how do they know or even care if I am being too salty or not salty enough?  Let me explain what I mean.

Not enough Salt- Have you ever felt like you were lacking passion?  Maybe you had better things to do than church stuff or spending time with a neighbor that is lonely.  Sure, you wave to them as you are leaving for church so they know you are a Christian right?  If they wanted to go to church, they would just show up or ask if they could go with you.  What about those times you are in line at the store and there is a problem in front of you?  What is your salt level then?  I can tell you there have been times when my God Flavors were not the best.  Maybe we have seen, because surely it is not us that did this, people who contain God and the church to Sunday morning.  As soon as we leave, we do not have to think about this God stuff until next Sunday.

Too Much Salt.  We have all seen those Christians that judge harshly.  Before folks jump on this, I believe we need to talk things out with people when things are going wrong but we need to do it in a loving way.  If we can not agree, we move on and hope that God will do the work the WE think needs to be done.  Either way, we get over it and continue to love.  We might have even seen some folks who believe that it is up to the staff of a church to do the work, we just have to show up and give our tithe. Were we differ from the folks above is that we let everyone know that the staff at our church should step up but not too much because  I liked that part.

Just Right.  I am working hard on finding this balance.  This is the perfect combo of worship, study and community building.  When I get our salt shakers filled with other Christians and in my studies, when I really live out what I am hearing and reading, I can turnaround and flavor up this world.

How is your salt level?  In this world of APPS, surely there is an APP for that.  Then we can truly be seasoning this world in God’s way.  Take that Cooking Channel.

Not Just a Pew

Not a Pew

I am torn.  I would not say I am having a crisis of faith but I am having a crisis of Church.  Let me explain.  Last week, I attended my denomination’s annual conference.  This conference was not for the whole denomination but part of Ohio.  As I was sitting there listening to the proceedings, there were several folks that were sitting around me that did not seemed to be thrilled to be there.  The sad part, these folks were Pastors.  It made me feel like organized religion, more specifically the leaders of our Churches, are kind of like kids in high school.  Here is what I mean.

  • We have the cool kids.  These are the rock star pastors.  They have the biggest most successful churches.  I am so happy for them but I wonder if we are discrediting the other churches that are not as big.  Transformation comes in all sizes.
  • We have the used to be ‘In Crowd’.  These were the folks that were in the spotlight.  They were the cool kids once.  For what ever reason things have changed.  They long to be in the spotlight again.  I wonder if they have lost the true purpose  of the Church?
  • Studious/Over Achievers.  These are not the rock stars but they are stars in their own right.   They can quote bible verses and have all of John Wesley’s sermons on their computer.
  • Rebels.  Everyone needs a rebel.  They help us stretch and take a stand.  However, it is easy for a rebel to get out of hand to make a point.  When did we decide to become so destructive in our faith.  God does not say fight it out until the end.  We are to correct, support and pray for each other, especially when the first two fail.
  • No Shows. This one applies more to lay people.  It is a tough one.   We have all been no shows at some point in our lives.  No shows can be broken down into two groups.  The first group is the too cool for school group.  Is God important to me?  If God is important, shouldn’t I make time to show others the path to him?  Since I am not called to go door to door and talk to people about God, I need the Church and the Church needs me.  What easier way o help people find God than going to Church and being involved.  No more excuses on not showing.  The second group, my heart breaks for.  These are the folks that have been hurt by the church.  The hurt can be done by words or actions and it can be done by faithful servants burning out.

This is not a reflection of all Pastors.  I understand that lay people can be just as bad.  I am calling all of us to examine ourselves.

At the end of this post, I am including my favorite song.  It is by Casting Crowns and it is called Jesus Friend of Sinners.  There is a line in the song that says, ‘Nobody knows what we’re for only what we’re against when we judge the wounded. What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did.’    What do we stand for Church?  Do we stand for looking down on others?  Do we stand condemning others, like what they eat a a free meal or because they are different from us?  I have been so guilty of this myself.  I have been guilty of acting like everyone of the types of kids listed above.    With God’s grace, I am going to stand for more.  I am going to invest my heart and time into others.  The Church is not just a pew.  Church, it is time to stop acting like a school and start acting like the body of Christ.

Magic 8 Ball Theology

Magic 8 Ball Jesus

When I was a kid, there was a toy called the Magic 8 Ball.  Any of us kids in the know thought this toy had the power to tell the future.  All you had to do is ask a question, shake and the ball would tell you what you wanted to know.  The Magic 8 Ball has about 20 answers.  I had a friend who use to think that the Magic 8 Ball had a divine connection to God.  Although, I did not think that was true, there are some similarities in the answers the Magic 8 Ball gives and what we can expect in our prayer life.    Here is what I mean.

  • It is certain.  I loved this one.  This is the times when we ask God and we get that peace you  just can not explain.  Don’t you love it?  Whether it is what you want or not, the peace comes over you and the word does not seem so bad.
  • Reply hazy try again.  I hated this one.  I wanted to know why this reply was hazy.  In my prayer life, maybe the reply is hazy because I am not ready yet.  I need to prepare and study more.  Isn’t funny how my timing and God’s timing are rarely the same?
  • Concentrate and ask again.  This one always made me laugh.  As kids, we would try to put on our most serious look and really concentrate as we asked our question again.  In my prayer life, maybe my everyday life is getting in the way, not allowing me to really get close to God and hear his voice.
  • Don’t count on it.  This one was never good.  I think when God is telling me no, he wants the best for me.  Too bad I do not remember that in the moment.  I need to learn to let go and unpack what God is trying to teach me in these times.

The Magic 8 Ball first went on the market in 1950.  It is amazing that the toy is still on the shelves today.  I think it shows how much we want to understand how our life is going to play out.  Instead of asking the Magic 8 Ball, or maybe the horoscopes or Facebook, we should ask God.  He is the only one that knows what the future holds.

Jeremiah 29:10-12 says,

This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

How could I ask for more?

Where in the Whale are you Going?

Whale Jesus

When we were kids, one of the most popular Bible stores was about Jonah and the Whale.  I remember being grossed out by Jonah’s plight,  I am having flashbacks about the one or two boys in our Sunday School class that would draw all of the icky things that were surely in this whale’s belly.    To summarize this story for those of us that never could get past the thought of smelly fish in the whale’s belly, Jonah was a biblical missionary. God sent him to a place called Nineveh.  Here is where the problems start.  The people of Nineveh are bad people.  I am picturing Sons of Anarchy sort of bad people.  Don’t know what I am talking about, that is a  TV reference about about a motorcycle gang on the FX Channel.  Jonah did what any selfish man of God would do, he said no way and made a run for it to another town.  A town where the people were nicer.  On his way to his desired destination, a huge storm started.  The crew got worried and decided that they should throw off all of their cargo.  When that did not work, the crew cast lots, the biblical version of drawing straws, to see why God was punishing them.  Jonah drew the short straw and had to confess that God was mad at him.  I don’t know about you but I would have been mad that we just wasted all of that cargo.  Jonah goes on to tell them that the only way out of this was to throw him overboard.  After much discussion, the crew threw Jonah overboard and the sea calmed.  At that time, a big whale came and swallow Jonah whole.  For those of you that would like the actual story, checkout Jonah 1 & 2.

As I grew up, this story went to the back of my mind and was replaced by whatever story was in my devotional.  Oddly enough, this story never made it to my vast collection of Ladies Devotionals, guess it was not just me that did not like picturing smelly fish bellies.   When I was getting ready a couple of days ago my mind was wandering.  On the top of my bathroom vanity was a tiny whale that I was given when I stayed by Sea World in Orlando.  I got to thinking about this story( I credit my new friend Dashboard Jesus).   What can we learn as adults about this favorite childhood story?

  • God had to make all of this happen.  Whales do not appear at the exact moment a stray missionary with God’s very exact instructions is thrown overboard.  Like the picture above, I can see God talking to the whale and explaining to him his plan. God had this all worked out, even down to the part when Jonah was let out of the whales belly.  Jonah 2:10 says Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.  Looking past the part where Jonah was vomited out, did anyone catch it was on dry land?  The last I checked, I have never seen a whale walking around on dry land.  While this concept blows my mind, I am very glad that God does not use these drastic methods today when we do not listen to his call on our life.
  •   The fisherman saw what happened and started to pray to God.   If this was a modern day movie, starring Johnny Depp I am sure, the fisherman would not start praying.  They would say some dramatic lines with a few curse words thrown in.  Then they would go back to their daily lives.  This got me thinking.  How many days do I stop and start praying to God?  This world is am amazing place.  How many of us have had those close calls in life where instead of thanking God we are alive, we curse out the car next to us or lay on the horn.
  • During the three days Jonah was in the whale’s belly(ironically the same amount of time that Jesus was in the tomb), he was praying to God.  He was confident that God was going to get him out of this.  If it was me, I would be trying to find a solution, like crawling out the blow hole.  He committed to God in his prayer that if he was given a second chance, he would follow through on God’s instructions.  How many times I have prayed to get out of  a pickle only attempt to renegotiate later?

I want to follow God’s plan for my life but the truth is it is plain scary.   I am not sure if I am being completely honest here.  Maybe it is not as scary as it is inconvenient on my selfish little life.  Should I get up early to study my bible?  No thanks, that just does not work for me.  I need my beauty sleep.  Should I go to church every Sunday?  No thanks.  I want to watch church in my PJ’s.  That way if I do not like the sermon, I can just change the channel.  My Pastor gets mad if I try to do that in church. Besides, I do no like the sermons.   Should I give 10% to the church?  No, thanks.  I give to so many organizations.  Besides, we need a new big screen TV.   Sounds kind of superficial, doesn’t it.  Maybe instead of making excuses, I need to be still and just listen.  I wonder if when we listen and truly obey, we find that happiness that the Pastors are always talking about.  Maybe I should give that a try?