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“Sing it in Chinese”

Today I want to share with you these words that I wrote a couple of months ago with a really heavy heart. I wasn’t sure I was going to post it… it’s a little longer than my normal post, a story within a story, but I think the end is worth it.  Already Jesus is healing my soul, and I feel better than I did when I wrote this.  But I’m still asking for the song…

 

One of my dreams died today. Not with a big bang, but with the small “Pfhut” of a candle being blown out by a soft breath. My spirit is cluttered with disappointment and heartache.

But before I get into that, let me tell you a cute little story. (I always try to be positive.)

I like to entertain Oliver while I do boring things, like wipe the kitchen counters or run errands with him, by singing. Now that he’s reached the wise old age of 6, he’s becoming less than enthused about this. Recently I decided to impress him by singing one of his favorite songs with a lot of gusto, really belting it out and hamming it up as he ate his lunch and I folded laundry on our kitchen table.

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A Starry-Eyed Speaker

Did you see it? MOPS International has announced their 2016-2017 Theme: Starry-Eyed.*

I do a lot of speaking at MOPS group meetingsI just love serving these Mothers of Preschoolers! But when I first saw this year’s theme, I thought, Uh-oh.

At first “Starry-Eyed” sounded a little fru-fru… like a lovely dream, but a bit impractical. Then I read what the theme description actually says and I thought, I have a lot to share here, after all!

If you’ve heard me speak, you know that my talks are about much more than organizing.

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Escaping into True Reality

 

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”

-John 4:23

 

What’s your favorite way to relax and escape? You probably watch a few favorite TV shows. Maybe you love surfing the web, or playing game aps on your phone. Perhaps you do all three at the same time!

We have loads of ways to occupy our thoughts—plenty of false realities to choose from.

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For the Joy

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6

 

In January we tend to set goals, which I love. I already wrote about the best resolution, but another fantastic goal is to serve God with our time and talents. That’s a no-brainer, right?

It is unless we mess it up.

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Our Emmanuel is Already Here

Read it! John 21

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

(vs4)

Think it through

Many of Jesus’s followers had a hard time recognizing him after the resurrection. Isn’t that weird?

Mary thought he was a gardener. The two disciples walking to Emmaus were kept from recognizing him until after he broke the bread. The seven disciples on the fishing boat didn’t know it was Him, even with his familiar request to throw their nets to the other side of the boat.

They couldn’t see that their Savior, Jesus, was right there with them!

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Perspective From the Cross

Read it! John 19

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

(vs26&27)

Think it through

I can’t read through the Gospel of John, thinking about perspectives, without pondering Jesus’ perspective from the cross.

He looked down. He saw his mother, his disciples, his friends, and his loved ones. He cared for them. He saw his killers, and he asked God for their forgiveness.

He looked to either side. He saw two criminals. He encouraged the one who would let him: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

He looked up. He talked to His Father, who I believe heard and loved his son despite the separation brought on by burden of sin he bore.   Then he surrendered his spirit into the Father’s hands.

And through it all, he had the perspective of heaven. Even though he was experiencing things beyond my imagining, he knew the people perpetrating it had no power over him (verse 11). He knew that everything had now been finished so that the scriptures would be fulfilled (verse 28).

He knew that God would win in the end.

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Why “It’s Good for You” Isn’t Enough for Me

Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you,

but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.

Ephesians 6:6

 

Last night, I called up the stairs, “Hey, Spencer…”

He replied, “Yes, Ma’am!”

My kids don’t usually call me “Ma’am.” But Spence could tell by the tone of my voice that I was going to ask him to do something, and he was agreeing in advance. (Mom Moment: Awww, he’s such a great kid… but don’t worry, he’s not always like that.)

In Building Your House, I share quite a bit about how The Uptons view chores, allowances, and rewards. (In a nutshell: we assign chores and give small allowances, but they aren’t directly connected to each other.)  I’ve been very intentional about teaching my kids different ways they can help around the house, using Chore Passports (if you missed that post and the free printable, be sure to check it out). I’ve also thought about how much I require them to give me that help. (Again, in a nutshell: sometimes.)

But writing Building Your House made me think about the “why.” Why do we teach them to do chores? Because it’s somehow “good for them” to take out the trash?

 

Well, doing something because popular culture says it’s “good for us” isn’t good enough for me anymore.

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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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Now or Later? When to Reach For Your Goals

Time management is by far my favorite kind of organization.  Nothing clears the clutter out of your spirit like the knowledge that you’re using your time wisely—doing what you want to do and living how you want to live!  If I could spend time with each of you individually, the first thing I’d do is challenge you to write your life goals and assess your priorities.  How do you want to spend your time?

It’s a wonderful exercise, but when we really sit down and think about everything we want to do—personal goals, relationship goals, family goals, activities, ministries, passions, and callings—we’re easily overwhelmed.  We start to hear voices in our heads, pieces of advice from loved ones combined with pop-culture snippets:

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Will Heaven be…Boring? (Hint: the answer is no!)

Read it! Revelation 22

And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads.

And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—

for the Lord God will shine on them.

And they will reign forever and ever.

(vs 4&5)

Think it through

I’m excited about Heaven—like, really excited. Sometimes I can’t wait to be with Jesus and see what it’s like there.

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