Archive for May, 2005

Cajun it Up!

We’re here!  I have a few moments on a hotel computer so thought I would send a little update.  We made it to New Orleans yesterday afternoon (Sunday) around 2 pm.  Before we could check in, we went and walked a couple of hours around the Riverwalk and Bourbon Street.  None of my seniors have been here before so it was a very new and eye-opening experience.  New Orleans is a whole different culture from JC, MO.  We came back to shower and then went out to dinner last night.  17 of us make it a little interesting for dining.  After that some of my boys wanted to hear some live jaxx music so I took them to Preservation Hall – very famous jazz place down in the French Quarters.  They had a blast and the music and weather were perfect.  We came back about 11 pm in the rain.

I went 38 hours without sleep.  I believe a record for me.  Got some sleep last nigth and we are ready to hit it this morning and then go to the beach this afternoon.

Hope to post more later!!  But in the meantime, know our senior trip is rocking and we are having a grand time.

Peace -Melissa


Read Full Post »

Saying Goodbye

I’ll be heading out in a few hours for our senior trip.  Final quick post before I go.  My post from last night/early morning needs to be updated.  It does appear that I have a virus and it took over my laptop this morning.  I have some connections that are going to take a look at it next week.  I’m not sure if it is repairable or not.  I have a backup to take with me so hopefully I can stay connected to do work and to update on our trip.

Let me share for all of you who think I never have moments where I am out of sorts that I had a little emotional breakdown this morning.  The computer itself was not the issue but was the last straw.  I’m extremely stressed and overwhelmed with work stuff and this week has been an emotional upheaval for me in other matters.  I wasn’t really facing it and I didn’t really deal with it this week.  This morning as I accepted the fact that viruses are eating away at the core of my computer, I, too, have viruses eating away at my core.  I’m running on fumes this week and it is a bad way for me to start out on two-weeks of trips. 

It is hard for me to deal with realities rather than possibilities.  It is difficult for me to be honest rather than idealistic.  It is a struggle for me to face facts rather than cling to hopes. It kills me to say goodbye to dreams . . . but sometimes life leaves you no choice.

Thanks for just letting me put it out there.  I’d appreciate your prayers this week as we travel and spend some final time together as a youth family. I’d appreciate your prayers on my behalf as well that I’ll let God care for me this week and that God will be strong in my weakness.

Peace – Melissa

Read Full Post »

Murphy’s Law

Murphy’s Law:  "If something can go wrong, it will."  Now, I don’t really believe in this law.  It is contrary to my optimistic nature but sometimes I wonder. Especially because of the pattern of major hang-ups right before I leave on big trips or youth events.  Today was busy, busy as I tried to wrap up things before I leave town.  Much did not get done and is now coming with me to the beach.  Oh, well.  However, right at 5 pm I get the word from our maintenance crew that one of the vans I was planning to take on our trip did not get a good "brake" review and it isn’t suppose to leave the state.  So, a last minute scramble to figure out another mode of transportation as I head out the door.  A few calls and rearranging and that problem was solved.  I rush home to get ready for the evening and try to get my laptop going to check email.  My computer starts acting really funky and making weird noises.  I reboot a couple of times and no luck.  I feel like I can just hear the worms eating away my hard drive.  Steve gets here in the middle of my computer crises and seeing my desperation and realizing that he will be blog-less next week unless the situation is fixed, gets on the phone to his brother-in-law who knows computers.  So after dinner, we go to meet up with them and he takes a look at my computer.  No apparent virus.  Lessons learned:  1) When Windows tells you they have updates for you to install, you should do that.   2) When you get the Norton AntiVirus renewal notice, you should renew it.  Don’t keep hitting "renew later" for 5 months.  Do it NOW!   I have repented.  My computer is now fully updated and my subscription is renewed.  Tonight was a close call.  Thanks, Steve, for saving the day and my sanity.  I started to have the tremors and shakes thinking about no computer for a week.  Pathetic . . . .

Tomorrow (or I guess today) is jammed with final errands and work before I get ready to leave.  Not sure if I’ll have time to post before I head out and not sure if I’ll be able to get to internet while on the trip.  But I’ll do my best. Don’t want to miss a prime opportunity to make everyone jealous.

Some things to chew on from my Galatians readings today:

"Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you." Gal. 3:11 (the Message)

"In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female.  Among us your are all equal.  That is, we are all in a common realtionship with Jesus Christ."  Gal. 3:28

I’m not commenting on these tonight.  They just really stuck out to me and spoke to me.  I’ll leave it open for you to engage the Scripture as the Spirit guides.

Peace – Melissa

Read Full Post »

… is love, sweet love.  It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. Not just for some, but for everyone."

I was reading about a church plant, Imago, the other day in the book Blue Like Jazz. In the book, Miller talks about their humble beginning and the difficulty they experienced in growing because of their focus internally.  Then the group committed itself to simply loving others because they deserve to be loved.  No other agenda, no other motivation, no outreach plan for the church.  Just love.  In a short time. their community grew and within two years, they have grown to over 500 members.  Now, the number here isn’t important but the reality of what happens when we honestly and genuinely love is.  Nothing clearer in Scripture than this, right?  Love God, love others. 

But it isn’t easy is it.  Like I said a couple of days ago, its messy and complicated and scary.  These are nonnegotiables if you are going to love others.  But so are joy, care, being understood and new understandings.

"To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive – to grief, sorrow and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before."  – Rollo May

Whatever love you are talking about, this applies.  Eros, Philia, or Agape. To love another human – whether in a passionate way or a brotherly/sisterly way – is an opening to the negative as well as the positive.  It is because it involves humans with human nature and human depravity.  But to not love is shutting the door to the positive – to blessings and intensities that we would miss completely.  The old adage:  "It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all."  And to not love means we miss a whole dimension of God that can only be fully understood or known through vulnerable love with one another.   Everyone must weigh the risks for themselves but as one who used to be self-protected in this area,  let me say with honesty that it is worth it to love and with the help of the Spirit, it is possible to come through any hurt to the other side which is a stronger, wiser member of God’s family.

I am committing myself to loving others more authentically, more compassionately, more Christ-like than I ever have before.  Why?  Because they deserve to be loved.  No agenda, no manipulation.  Just love.  My prayer is that one day at a time, God will change my heart to match my will to love and that one day I will wake-up and realize that God has done an amazing heart-change in me and to love is no longer a concerted effort but rather way of life-breathing for me.  I love without thinking and if I stop loving, I cease.

Peace – Melissa

Read Full Post »

Booyah Day

Today rocked!  What a fine, fine Wednesday and I had NO idea when I woke up how great it would be.  Totally unexpected blessings.  HA! (thought I’d dropped this, huh? Not a chance. Unexpected blessings are the greatest – right, Grady?) I just decided not to post about them every day.  But today . . . well, today was just grand.  It was a rich and grand because of people and because of ideas and because of possibilities and because of dreaming and because of Spirit moments.

I finished The Last Word and the Word After That  book by Brian McLaren and it was such a great read.  I enjoyed it thoroughly not only for the rich dialogue within the text but because of the richness of reading along with a friend and processing it along the way.  Such a better way to read texts like these.  Thanks, B, for all the processing and challenges and rabbit chasing.  I love those "rascally rabbits"! 

Side note:  I realized I used the word "rich"  3 times above.  Before you beat me down on that, let me argue that it is evidence of the great value that such things bring to life.  I will take such "riches" over material riches any day.

I was blessed by Chelsea’s presence in our office.  She is such a sweet spirit and great to have near by.  I’m glad she is working along-side me this summer.

Preston and Steve – your emails are highlights in the day.  You guys crack me up.  Preston, you are so worth $200 and Steve, remember – one strike!!! 🙂

I was super blessed by Cari who dropped by tonight with some great indulgences and some wonderful conversation.  I am very thankful for this surprise friendship in someone I’ve known for a many years but only recently have developed a friendship with. 

I truly appreciate all of you and thank God for your presence in my life.

Peace – Melissa

Read Full Post »

Life is Messy

I apologize for not posting for a week.  Life has been getting in the way.  It has been two very busy weeks as I prepare to leave town for a while on trips and need several things in place before I go.  So much of my time has been spent with that and with some wonderful, rich fellowship with friends – individually and in mass. 

I am so thankful that God has changed my heart and created a recognizable love within me for community.  It has become a deep blessing for me that has surprised this introvert.  I am the better for it. Thanks to our Common Ground Lead Team for such a wonderful "church" experience Monday night after our meeting.  That was rich.

Right now I feel very close to God.  Because I need God very much right now and have nothing within with which to gather comfort and so I’m forced to rest in the Spirit.  I’m thankful for things and events and feelings that force me to rest in the Spirit.  It is a good place to be.  Life is messy; faith is messy; relationships are messy – these are realities that are unavoidable but not destructive.  The messiness is where we learn some of the most needed lessons; where we taste some of the satisfying pleasure of God’s nature; where we grow compassion towards others and humility regarding ourselves.  Into every life, a little messiness falls.  God is in the business of cleansing.  So it only seems fitting that we come before God in all our messiness and allow Him to do the cleaning up.  Don’t try to wipe down before you come . . . you’ll miss a spot for sure.  Come in your filth and grime and let God wash you clean.  Do this each day, each hour, each moment if needed.

I just finished a very thought-provoking, theologically-challenging book that I hope to post on soon.  I’m still processing it but when I get some coherency, I will share some reflections.

I will post at least once before I leave and may even bring my laptop along to frustrate you with pictures from the beach!

Peace – Melissa

Read Full Post »

What a crazy, busy week it has been and will be.  Good but incredibly busy.  There are so many big project things on the plate right now as we head into summer months so I’m a little under the gun.  But I know it will all work out and things will fall into place.

Tonight I had about 35 youth over for a bbq.  Mad house fun but a perfect night.  Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs and the kids came to and from Memorial Park.  We had a nice time of sharing together at the end and it was wonderful to hear their testimonies of what God has been doing in their lives through c-groups, our student led small group Bible studies. They also weren’t ready for it to quit for the summer so we’ve decided to keep up with a c-group or two over the summer.  Who am I to keep them from gathering together for community and Bible study?  I was reminded tonight about why I love what I do and why I’m in ministry.  It is my life calling.  My heart only feels at home when I am about the purpose of connecting people with God.  Even though I sometimes get weary of a host of things that come along with the territory of church work, I have no doubt of my calling and it is most important to me.  I know it is truly what brings me a sense of contentment and meaning.  That is also why I’m saddened by the understanding that I’ve been selfish and self-preoccupied for a while now and not as committed as I know I should have been to connecting others, and myself, to God.  It is so easy to get distracted by life and things that are not bad in themselves but can be distractions if you allow them to be.

I want to end with this thought. 

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Ephesians 5:21

Submit, not because someone has earned it . . . but because Christ put me first.
Forgive, not because someone deserves it . . . but because Christ forgave me.
Serve, not because someone needs it . . . but because Christ served me.
Accept, not because someone should be accepted . . . but because Christ accepts me.

Don’t do right because it is the right thing to do.  Do right because Christ has done right by you.

Peace – Melissa

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »