Christmas Lists

I love making lists.

And I’ve been making a lot of them lately.

To-do lists, grocery lists, lists of goals, and especially Christmas lists of gifts, and party planning, and elf-like stuff.

I think one reason we make lists is because we like the illusion of control it gives us.  It says “I have a plan!”  We get to check things off, accomplish things (and yes, I’ve been known to do something and then add it to my list so I could check it off).

But sometimes those lists are the very thing that threaten to leave us clutching a bottle of Advil, wondering “How in the world did I get in this mess and how many days til January 2nd?”

And then I imagine Jesus saying, “Come to Me all who are weary with Christmas and give me your lists.”

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Games With Points and Spiritual Practices

A Spirit-stretch Friday re-post as I’m enjoying the spiritual practice of a short Sabbatical… 

Spiritual practices are usually kind of like workouts at the gym.  They’re supposed to stretch the spiritual muscles that need stretching…to practice what you hope will one day come naturally (like running a mile on the treadmill so that if one day you’re being chased by a bear you won’t collapse in a heap after 15 yards).

But that can sound a little…intense, so a couple weeks ago I decided to make a little game for myself.  In our family we LOVE games, especially games with points.  (In case you’re worried about my theology about now, I know discipleship isn’t a game and it is about grace and cooperating with God’s work in our lives.  Just give this a chance! :))

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Looking for Life and Death and Maybe Jesus

I’m taking a little August sabbatical.  I pray you’ll be blessed by a repost from last year on a Spirit Stretch Friday…

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Communion Debacle our daughters experienced at church.  It made me think about how hard it can be to truly enter into this sacrament and be present to God in the moment…reflecting on His grace and our sin.

Frankly, it’s darn easy to be present to…me.  My comfort, my will, my convenience, my agenda…But Jesus?  Not so much.  Are you with me?

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What Fills You Up?

What fills you with joy or gratitude or spurs you on to higher ideals?  What energizes or encourages you?

Is it particular relationships with people who pour wisdom and hope into you?  Or a particular place or tradition that makes your heart sing?

In what environments does God’s Word come to life for you?

We need weekly rhythms of filling so that we serve out of overflow but I believe we also need seasonal and yearly rhythms of filling too.

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Ilegal Bible Reading?

Here’s the rest of the post from Wednesday.  We’re talking about avoiding Bible Boredom…

When we were little, my cousin Karl had some weird ideas about road signs.  And one of them was that this was the only place deer could cross the road legally.

Somehow he thought deer would understand (maybe because of the picture of themselves that they’d recognize) and line up to cross only where they saw that sign.

Over the years I’ve had some weird ideas about what was “legal” Bible reading…you know…what “counted” on the cosmic scoreboard of spirituality.

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Olympic Parents and God

Watching the Olympics this week I’ve been struck by the parents of the athletes.  Invested, hopeful, prayerful, committed, passionate are just a few of the words that come to mind.

What a contrast to the image of God I think many of us carry around – the distant, more concerned-with-global-chaos or, out-of-touch-with-what-it’s-really-like “Being” who kind of nods or frowns or raises His eyebrows from afar.

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Out of Control and Canceling my Day

The other day I wanted to throw something.  Or have a pity party that would involve eating lots of Patticake (from YUM!) with Cookie Dough ice cream.

And I couldn’t figure out why!

Until the late afternoon when it hit me.  I was cranky because I felt out of control.

Can you relate?  Maybe just a little bit?

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How do You Right-size?

I love the story of Teddy Roosevelt who used to take his friends outside at night, look up at the stars and recite the wonders of God’s creation.

Marveling at the Milky Way, the searching out the spiral Galaxy of Andromeda…

After awhile he would say, “Now I think we’re small enough.  Let’s go to bed!”

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Just a Quote

“Our legacy is the trail of bread crumbs we leave leading toward Jesus.  Make it look like you lived in a bakery.”  Bob Goff

Reflecting on my “crumbs” from yesterday…Where did they lead people?

Were they crumbs of grace?  Inclusion?  Value?  Encouragement?

What about you?

ABC’s of Praise in Pictures

The other day I was walking in a “Holy Place”.  I hadn’t been there in awhile.  It’s a path around a lake I walked daily for years.

And along that path God has soaked up a heck of a lot of tears.  Listened patiently to my rants.  Grieved over my anguished cries of confusion.  And accepted my praise with a smile I think.

And in the patches of Godlight along the path He prompted something in me.  Lately it seems God has been reiterating the theme word, “specific”.  As in spell it out kid.  As in not the Cliff Notes version.

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