Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Childhood

A short video on children. These are among my favorite subjects to capture. I love how candid and uninhibited little tykes are before the camera. Enjoy!


video

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Just because

This is what I learned yesterday.

Just because you plan a day at the lake, it doesn't mean it will be sunny.
Some girls and I had an excellent day planned at a lake. Kristi and I planned to take the day off of work, even though we had a lot to do. We have 2 weddings this weekend so we decided since we're working the weekend, this was going to be our "day off." However, we woke up to clouds. And rain. And COLD! In JULY!

Just because I used to rock at Mario Kart, it doesn't mean I'm good anymore.
Back when I was younger, I played N64 with my brother and brother-in-laws all of the time. And I loved it, because it was the one game I played with them in which I was actually competition. Last night I was at my sister's and my 8-year-old nephew begged me to play Mario Kart on the Wii with him. So I did. And I placed 12th twice in a row. But then we played a round called "Coconut Mall" and I got first place, and my ego was restored. I'll tell you... they have sure advanced in Nintendo since I was 8. I used to spend my days with Bubble Bobble, Pacman, Duck Hunt, and Mario 3, and now before I even begin a game I'm instrcuted to "create" a virtual version of myself, pick out my outfit, purchase a car, and create a profile. It's crazy!

Just because there is free food, it doesn't mean I'll eat it.
WHAT?! I know, right. Hard to believe. I went to a Chiefs game last night and it was "Free Hot Dog" night. But I didn't eat one, even though I love hot dogs. This could have something to do with the fact that I had just finished a great dinner that included Monkey bread and Snickers cheese cake, so I was a little full. Don't worry, I still got popcorn.

Just becasue it's July, it doesn't mean it's going to be warm.
Last night we sat outside with jackets on. It was 65 degrees and cold. Felt like September. I can't wait for Fall, maybe then it will be warm.

Love you all!

T

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Stand

Lately, I've been thinking.

The Lord began working in my heart at the beginning of last week. I had the thought, "Is my Faith evident to others? Am I a Christ-like witness? Can people look at me and know what I am about? Who have I touched lately?"

Not that it's all about me. Certainly not. My worry is that my "self" is getting in the way of being real about Christ to others.

Wednesday night was Family Worship in Morton. One of our Morton ministers had the message about the "4 Cs" ... Call, Conviction, Confession, Conversion. The minister who followed up said, "If you are a believer and are wondering what you are "called" to do, don't sit around and wait for a thunder bolt to strike in order to know whether you should witness or not. As a believer, your call IS to witness." As Christ-followers, our jobs are not to be stagnant and wonder, "Hmmm... I wonder if I should have said something there?"

It's not like we need to shove the salvation message down everyone's throat, but it's an attitude of being aware. Taking opportunities as they come. Establishing relationships. Showing people who you are... so when the time does come to "say something," the groundwork is laid. And sometimes it will be more spontaneous. The goal is to be clothed with the Armor of God, have a Christ-like attitude, and "live" the true joy that comes forth. Sometimes it's the nonverbal witness that speaks louder than any words can. We should appear "different." A "different" that stirs others up and makes them wonder, "Where is their source of Hope coming from? What is the joy I see in their face? How did they get through that tough time in such a way?"

Sometimes, I realize that my perspective is so off. I miss opportunities because I think, "But Lord, shouldn't I have some sort of amazing spiritual experience here?" Not necessarily. Often God wants you to work exactly where He has you... such as, the co-worker you've sat by for 3 years, or the brother who has a hardened heart and it's easier to say nothing at all, or the friend who is the nicest person in the world but lives a dysfunctional lifestyle. You don't need a random stranger off the street or a new face at church to "witness." Often the most obvious candidates are just a close friend or family member away. And sometimes they ARE in the form of a new face or random stranger. But let's not forget those who surround us!

What amazes me, as I look at this concept, is that we are talking about souls. Human, living souls. Anyone who believes... are you not filled with so much hope and joy that you will one day get to spend eternity in Heaven? Imagine not having that inside of you. Imagine living a life of sin, emptiness, and despair. Imagine filling your life with activities in order to distract your numb mind and hardened heart so you don't have to face the Truth of the matter which is the consequence of a burning Hell to anyone who does not believe. It's not just a, "Well, I said something but I don't think she received me well. Oh well," type of thing. It's a person's very life! It's a big deal.

While I say that, let me make it clear that we, as humans, do nothing to "save" people. It's totally Christ. We are vessels. We are spreaders of His love. We are children of God. We can show true joy. But we do nothing next to Christ but let Him work through us. It's His death on the cross that saves us all from eternal despair, and it is that blood that covers every person.

We may definitely be used in the process, but really, it's not about us at all. We are just being used by Someone so much greater in order to glorify the King.

On Thursday night I went to a praise singing. There was a talk afterwards that also touched my heart, containing the same theme as the night before: Christ's work to save others and what are we doing to witness? How have we suffered for Christ?

I thought of my own life. The majority of my work is with a business partner who is an amazing Christian friend. While we can be a spiritual encouragement to one another, it's not as if I have to worry about her soul. We do have customers, and we have discussed that one of our goals is to be a Light to those who are unbelievers. Beyond that, though, it's not like I'm daily surrounded by massive amounts of unbelievers who desperately need the Word.

That sounds like an excuse.

And it is. No matter what, there are always people in my life who need Christ. I don't have to go far to find them. As I was saying before... often, they are closer than I would like to realize. After so many tries, witnessing should not become "old news" with a certain person. With that being said, we are not called to be annoying, pestering Christians but as loving. Our attitude of joy and love towards someone should not change just because he/she refuses to listen. Furthermore, sometimes we may face opposition or actual "suffering" for the cause of Christ. Fortunately for most of us, in this day and age and our current culture, this does not mean being stoned, persecuted, or thrown in jail. However, sometimes it DOES mean being put down. Feeling rejected. Being made fun of. Standing alone. Walking away when everyone else stays. Being the odd man out. Showing a different action instead of going with the crowd.

Are we ashamed of Christ? Do we let others and what they think of us become more important than Christ in us? Do we hide Him away in order to blend in or "stay cool" at the very cost of being a witness of His Love and sharing His Story?

It happens in my own life a lot more than I care to admit.

I'll end with a song that we sang on Thursday night. The lyrics really stood out to me.

The Stand

You stood before creation
Eternity within Your hand
You spoke the earth into motion
My soul now to stand

You stood before my failure
Carried the Cross for my shame
My sin weighed upon Your shoulders
My soul now to stand

So what can I say
What can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You

So I'll walk upon salvation
Your Spirit alive in me
This life to declare Your promise
My soul now to stand

So what can I say
What can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You

So I’ll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all

So I’ll stand
My soul Lord to You surrendered
All I am is Yours

Love you all!

T