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Ignoring a Call—what it might cost you…

 

Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized.

Acts 9:18

 

What a huge moment in history that was.

In this moment, Paul chose to follow God’s call and become His instrument. He chose to become a disciple of Jesus, to go and tell the world about Him, making arguably the biggest impact for Christ ever made.

In this moment, Paul also chose a hard life. A life of persecution and prison. His former friends wanted him dead. His power and prestige in the Jewish faith and community instantly vanished. A question occurred to me:

In this huge moment, what if Paul had chosen differently?

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A Heart for Missions is Too Full For Guilt

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Mark 10:21

 

Recently as I was preparing to leave for a mission trip, my spirit became deeply cluttered.

Just thinking about it was causing me a lot of worry and pre-guilt. Would I be able to handle being with children in extreme poverty, often with physical and/or mental disabilities? Several people with much more mission experience than I warned me that I would be heartsick, broken, and overwhelmed with my own underserved blessings.

So, I prayed, and I fasted, and then I went to Jamaica—not the touristy part.

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I Will.

Read it! Psalm 22

From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.

(vs. 25)

Think it through

This spring I found a cool idea on Pinterest: list all of the “I will” verses in the Psalms. That sounded like intentional living to me, and as I’ve written a time or two before, this blog isn’t really about organizing; it’s about intentionally living for Christ. (Organizing is often a big part of that, of course!) So I started reading a few Psalms a day and writing each “I will” statement on a piece of blank paper (not very pretty).

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Will You Invite Them In?

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10 

 

As I speak and write, I hear people make many statements about organizing—and often they’re the same things over and over. This is one of the most common:

“My house is such a mess I could never have anyone over.”

 

This breaks my heart. I address this very comment in my talk about party organization (Christian Hostessing). Basically, I share my opinion that:

  1. The people who love us don’t care what our house looks like.
  2. The people who are critically judging our homemaking skills… well, they probably need to get closer to Jesus, so we need to invite them on in and share our faith!

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Are You Real or Fictional?

 

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

Philippians 2:13

 

My sweet daughter came home from Writing Day Camp last summer bursting with news. “I met a real author today!” she exclaimed.

My husband and I exchanged a smiling look over her head. Then she added, “And I met one at school last year, so that makes two real authors.”

“Wow!” my husband said, matching her tone. “And, you live with one!”

She blushed. “Oh, yeah, but…”

But.

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Organizing You is Back!

I was sitting at a desk in a tiny hotel room in Edinburg, Scotland.

Believe me, I never thought I’d begin a story like that! But just after the Lord called me to write a book, He gave me the opportunity to accompany my husband on a once-in-a-lifetime business trip.

My husband went off to his conference, and there I was in a hotel room in Scotland, completely alone for the first time in years, with nothing in front of me but a blinking curser.

After a few minutes I moved from the desk chair to the floor and kneeled. Lord, I can’t do this. I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know how to start writing a book.

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Get Ready to Beat Your Drum

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,

On my drum?

 

We all have favorite Christmas songs we love to hear all season… and on the flip side, we all reach out to change the radio station when we hear our least favorite carols (perhaps for the fifth or sixth time).

The Little Drummer Boy hasn’t been one of my favorites. Maybe that’s because it’s not strictly Biblical, or because it’s the story of a child I could no longer identify with… until recently.

During this Christmas season, The Little Drummer Boy has elicited a strangely emotional response in me—even bringing me to tears.

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Listening for the Voice in Your Head

Read it! John 12

The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

(vs29)

Think it through

In church, we’re often reminded about the words God spoke at Jesus’ baptism, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew and Mark both share their accounts of that holy moment with us.

But I’ve rarely, if ever, heard sermons on John’s account of another moment when God spoke aloud to the people in Jesus’ presence. How I would love to have been there, to have heard Jesus call out, “Father, glorify your name!” and to have heard the voice from heaven say, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” Amen, Amen! my heart cries. Glorify your name!

But would I have heard the voice of an angel, or just thunder?

Would we have had the right perspective?

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When Someone Asks, “Are You Still…?” and You’re Not

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others,

as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

-I Peter 4:10

 

This fall, I was enjoying the pumpkin farm when a woman reached out and tapped my shoulder. “Mrs. Upton?” she asked. “You used to be my teacher. I’m…”

“Lindsay!” I said. I often wonder about some of my favorite “kids,” and Lindsay is definitely tops on that list. It was so good to see her, and a little strange!  I taught high school math right after I graduated from college, and there really isn’t a huge age difference between me and those kids anymore. They’re all grown up, with careers and homes and children of their own.

I met Lindsay’s adorable daughter, and she met my children. She said to them, “Your mom was my teacher! She was such a great teacher.” Then she looked at me and asked, “Are you still teaching?”

I felt bad saying “no.” I only taught high school for four years, then I spent two years tutoring, then we moved and I stopped teaching altogether.

Or did I?

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Hey, I Don’t Hate This! (My Blogiversary)

I never intended to write books. That was God’s request. (Or maybe order? No, call).

I never intended to be on social media, either—yet it’s what you have to do, right? I can blame my publisher for the Facebook posts and tweets… but I give my sister-in-law Kristen full credit for the happy time I’ve spent on Pinterest!

I certainly never, ever intended to blog. My publisher made me do it. Honestly, I thought I would hate it. And now here I am with one full year of blogging under my belt, thinking, Hey, I don’t hate this!

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