Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
Another thing this class focuses on is asking questions to see what the child is thinking, how they are feeling and why their behavior is bad. This was illustrated to me this week. Every morning lately Cade has been saying, “I don’t want to go to school”, which is weird because he loves school. Jen and I have gotten frustrated and started telling him to stop saying it because we know he doesn’t mean it.
Again I say, parents ask questions. Yes, Cade still needs to go to school, and yes we want him to love it, to learn, and have fun, which he does. But we must never forget to find out what is in his heart and what he is thinking and feeling. Children have emotions, feelings, and thoughts that often get ignored in our desire to make them do "what is right" (in our opinion) regardless of the situation.
Parents learn from my mistake and ask questions and please, please, please, listen to them when they answer.
God Bless you in this most difficult yet rewarding task,
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Please follow this link and read an amazing passage of Scripture in the NLT and know that my prayer echoes Paul’s when I think of you, and you coming to terms with the fact that down here you are replaceable but with God your value has no end.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Her name is Sharon Bridgewater and she quietly and unobtrusively gets things done. She would never dream of usurping any authority over her especially God's. She is one of the most godly, humble, selfless women I have ever known. She will do anything for you and will go out of her way to serve you before herself. She needs us right now, needs our prayers, needs our encouragement, needs our love, needs our selfless service, and trust me when I say, that if the roles were reversed she would be the first to do all of these things and many more for you or I.
Every day when I go in the office I just know she will be there and I'm ashamed to admit that sometimes I take her for granted. It's not that I mean to, it's just that she never seems to show any weakness. Even while she has undergone test after test, she would repeatedly call in and apologize profusely that she couldn't make it in, as if she were inconveniencing us all. That is the kind of spirit that is seen throughout Scripture in Godly women. A more steadfast woman, mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, and friend would be difficult to find. Sharon, if you get a chance to read this please know that we all love you and are praying for you.
In Christian Love, Lance
Monday, May 23, 2011
This makes me think about the greatest kingdom ever, the Church. This last weekend at a Memorial Service for a Christian, who had passed away, I saw three ladies from TSCC working in the kitchen and made the comment, "I see you three at every event we do, slaving away in the kitchen and you need to know how much I appreciate you". They're response was, "you are at all those events working too". This is true but my response was, "yeah, but everyone sees me and knows that I'm working, and yet how often do you guys get credit for your service in the Kingdom?"
I also happen to know of 4 men from TSCC who are up at Park Creek today cutting limbs back from the road so the campers and RV's coming up next weekend can get through with minimal scratches. A couple of them are probably taking time off work possibly even unpaid to work in the kingdom. I also know that there was somewhere around 50 volunteers at our VBS Lunch yesterday and yes all of them have jobs they will be doing during our VBS programs.
So coming from a guy who is often on the frontline, here is a big thank you to all the backline (if that's a word) workers out there, not only here in Sacramento but in the Church all over the world whose service often goes unnoticed. And to all those veterans who have served our country, and those who continue to serve our country, a big thank you to you as well. May you all have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend.
P.S. The reason I didn't mention the names of the people is because for those that I noticed or know about there are many more that I don't even realize are doing things behind the scenes and I don't want to leave anyone out.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
You and I have been told over and over that the more you serve others the happier you are, and you have probably been as skeptical about that statement as I have. Let's face it as a general rule we are pretty much self serving people. So through the years when I've allowed myself to be guided by the Holy Spirit instead of myself I've found myself in positions where it's been proven to me that it is really true, the life of a servant is a happy life.
Yesterday I went and visited an older lady in our Church named Lucille. She has been struggling physically and hasn't been able to attend the services for quite awhile. She has been through quite a bit in her life and as I was driving to her house I was praying (with my eyes open of course) that I would have the right words to say to encourage her and lift her spirits. Turns out God must have been fairly amused with my self-centered prayer. You might be saying, that doesn't sound like a self-centered prayer, well it was, because that very prayer just assumed that I would be the one doing the encouraging as if I'm the great glorious encourager and she is the poor down-trodden soul who needs my wonderful abilities. I'm exaggerating a bit here because of course that is not what I was thinking but instead of asking God to use this situation for His glory, I assumed that she was the one who needed the blessing.
You probably know the rest of the story, I walked in and while she looked pretty frail, the only thing I noticed was how happy she seemed. She talked to me of how blessed she has been with so many great neighbors, and friends, and family members and church members. She talked of all the opportunities she has had in her life to help and bless others. We talked about her beloved El Camino that she gave to her brother, and her family; we talked about the paintings on her wall, and many other things. She never stopped smiling through the entire visit, and I was reminded again of how when you start out with the idea of serving someone, often you are the one who gets the greatest blessing.
Thank you Lucille for your wonderful outlook and your beautiful spirit and thank you God for reminding me that to serve is to be happy and blessed. We don't serve for that reason of course but it is a result of our service to God and to others.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Often people make the statement, "I'm struggling with my faith", and I understand because I've made the same statement myself a time or two. Here's what I've found though when doing some self inspection and when talking to others who are going through the same struggle. Faith in God really isn't the issue, many times. Faith in what God is doing or isn't doing around us is the issue. I believe in God and there is no way (in my mind) that I will ever stop believing in Him, but when I see things going on in the name of Christianity that is absolutely contrary to God my faith starts to waver. Maybe the Church you are attending is not a very bright light for the world, or maybe those around you look really good on Sundays but the rest of the week, you know what's going on, maybe you've been reading or hearing or watching all the horrible tragedies that are happening or maybe you look at your own life and can't see God working at all.
It is so easy to get frustrated with the gossipers of this world, and the mean spirited people, and the ones who try to tear you down to build themselves up, and the list goes on and on. Unfortunately many of these people wear the name Christian which just makes it that much worse. What we see around us and what we believe become so far apart that we cannot connect the dots. Add in the fact that you are constantly reminded that you are not doing enough for God, saying the right things, abstaining from the wrong things, reading your Bible enough, praying enough, etc. it is no wonder that your faith begins to dim.
So far this article is pretty discouraging huh? But here is an undeniable truth that we know, hear, quote, but so often don't really believe. "For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV. If you want to live for Christ you cannot go by what you see. What you see oftentimes is discouraging and disheartening, but what you believe is that God is in everything, and that He will never let you down. "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV
The beautiful thing about all of this is that the more we focus on what we believe and not what we are seeing, the more God will show us visible, tangible, real expressions of Himself. Remember Elijah who wanted to die because of all the horrible things around him? God used His own creation to take care of Elijah, used a violent wind, earthquake, and fire to get his attention, and then spoke to him in a still small voice. Finally God revealed to Elijah all of the others who were still on the right side. Elijah's faith wavered because he was focusing on what he saw which left him unable to see the evidence of God all around him.
So today, right now, wherever you are, you have the opportunity to live out your faith. You believe in God, show it through your life. Others may or may not come on board. Tomorrow there may be another terrible tragedy in the world, but you live out your faith and watch God bless your life, and who knows, maybe you are the one that will bring life to the Church you attend. Not because of anything great you do, but because of your great faith in the Creator of this world. Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. NLT
May you see the grace of God today and may you act on it so that someone else will see it as well.
Monday, March 28, 2011
What a trip we've had so far. Traveling 26 hours in two days with a 4 month old baby wasn't a picnic but we managed. From there we went to the Osborn Reunion in Grove OK, where I re-connected with my family, some whom I hadn't seen in 24 years. From there we went back to Woodward, OK where we spent time with my parents and other friends which was also a great time. Then I headed to Tulsa for the Tulsa Evangelism Workshop fully prepared to hear new ideas about ministry and evangelism and ready to take them back to the Church with renewed vigor and vitality.
Of course God had different ideas and I found myself in the first two classes being convicted and on my knees in repentance for allowing myself to be work oriented and not God focused. I heard lessons on surrender and a non-judgmental spirit, and humility, and many other things that as I spend hours each week working for the Church and God, I tend to forget or ignore. This brings me to my conversation with God. I found myself telling God that He just didn't understand. I wasn't here to be convicted or spiritually challenged myself; I was here to bring more passion and excitement back to Sacramento. "I'm here to help lead a Church along the path of transformation they are called to, don't you know that God?"
His response was equally as aggravating as the process leading up to it, I could almost audibly hear Him saying to me, "You need to be transformed in order to lead anyone else into transformation, but then you know that don't you Lance"? All week of classes and sermons I was hearing great ideas and ways to help the Church become more mission minded and reach the unsaved but even while hearing these, there was a constant reminder that I need to let God work through me, and lead me as I team up with the elders to lead the Church. God works, He delivers, He saves, and He deserves the credit and glory that humans like me try to take sometimes.
So this week of surrender and forced humility, coupled with the encouragement, and exhortation I received results in an overall excitement of getting to go back home and continue to work in the greatest organization of all time, the Kingdom of God. Thank you for reading my rambling thoughts.
Friday, February 25, 2011
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that WHOEVER believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. In the fifth grade I had three whoever experiences all in the same year. Three occasions to sign up for something that anyone and everyone was invited to sign up for. Being the smallest, scrawniest, slowest, nerdiest kid in my school let alone my class, I was often subjected to being the last one selected or not selected at all very frequently. These 3 opportunities though were for whoever wanted to sign up. They were band, football, and basketball. Being that it was the fifth grade and a small school they apparently didn't have the heart to turn anyone away. But even with that being the case, I had very different experiences in all three situations. There are many reasons as to why they were so different. Some of it had to do with the educators, some of it had to do with my talents or lack of talent, but regardless of why, each whoever opportunity was vastly different.
My basketball experience was a hilarious one. While I had played some basketball, about the only thing I could do well was steal the ball and that was mostly because I was so tiny, no one could see me until it was too late. The one time I had the opportunity to score was at the foul line and even underhanded I couldn't get it to the hoop. Everyone could sign up, and at the end of the intramural games the main coach picked a travel team to play against other schools. While I didn't even get close to making that team, my experience on the intramural team was mostly positive. My coach let everyone play and didn't care if we won she just wanted to give everyone a chance.
Band was a piece of cake. Even though I picked the trombone which was too big for me and I had to use my foot to push the spit valve because I couldn't reach it with my short scrawny arms. The fact that I was an Osborn and that meant that I already knew music was a help and plus there were only two other trombone players and they were terrible. We had a great music teacher and it wasn't long before I was doing pretty well and began to love playing trombone.
And then there was football. Not only was I tiny, I was frail, and slow, and the worst football player to ever lace up a pair of cleats. I was subjected to being pounded every day in practice, my coach who didn't like me made sure that no one ever took it easy on me and if they did he made sure they pounded me twice as hard the next time. I started the year as a 3rd string cornerback and then one day in practice I made the coach mad and he demoted me to 4th string which in reality we didn't even have enough players to have 4 strings. Needless to say it was a horrible experience and yet one that I not only endured but I signed up again in my 6th grade year.
Here's the thing, just because everyone can sign up doesn't mean that everyone is good at it, or will even enjoy it. But Jesus tells us that when it comes to everlasting life it just doesn't matter how good you are, how talented you are, or whether you are tall, short, fat, skinny, male, female, and He certainly doesn't care about the color of your skin. He doesn't care if you have money or if you are homeless, His policy is truly the only whoever policy that has no restrictions or challenges. Everyone is welcome, everyone will love the experience, and everyone is promised eternal life. The only thing we have to do is believe it. Pretty amazing huh? Heaven's whoever policy according to Jesus' own words are for everyone who believes. Do you? Will you be obedient to Him? I promise it will be better than any band, or basketball, or football experience.
Monday, February 7, 2011
About 17 years ago during my Bible College years a bunch of us went to a place called Heritage Square. It's a Victorian Village with lots of food, shopping, an amusement park, alpine slide, etc. At the time when we went they had a Bungee Jump as well. I distinctly remember that most of my friends were either unwilling to pay the fee to do the jump or were too scared. I being the brave, eccentric, loaded 20 year old with lots of money and bravery decided to take the plunge (literally). Okay so you probably want the truth right? I was scared to death but determined to prove that I wasn't scared and as for money, well I was a college student who waited tables to put me through school. $20 was a fortune for me, but I was determined to prove how tough and cool I was.
I climbed the stairs; the person at the top strapped me in and asked me a simple question. Are you ready? I wonder if God considered my answer of yes a lie, or deception or just stupidity. The second question was also simple, do you want to jump or do you want me to push you? My response was, "If you don't push me, I'll still be standing here an hour from now because there is no way I'm jumping off this ledge." The very nice attendant (or at least she appeared nice) said, "okay, I'll count to 3 and then push." I being the trusting sort, said okay go for it. She counted, one, two, and pushed on two. Apparently they do that to keep you from bracing yourself and thus injuring yourself. Well it worked. As I went plummeting to certain death I was the picture of beauty and grace and…………. Okay if anyone is reading this that was there, you are laughing your head off right now because you know that I apparently kicked and screamed the whole way down. Gone was the cool 20 year old trying to impress others, gone was my faith in the attendant, at this point I was too scared to even think about asking God to forgive me for the lie I had told just a minute before.
At the bottom I was approached by a complete stranger who offered to pay my way to do it again, so they could get it on camera (yes we had video cameras back then). I guess you had to be there (and not be me) to appreciate how hilarious the whole experience was, but I learned about faith that day. I believed in the harness, I believed in the security of the structure, I believed in the big fluffy thing I eventually landed in, and I believed in the attendant's word. If I was strong enough in my faith to do something like that why can't I believe in the Creator of the universe? He made me, He loves me, He sent His Son to die for me, and yes He sometimes pushes me off the edge when my reasoning is getting in the way of my faith, but if He says He's going to count to 3, He won't push at 2. I'm not sure if I will ever take the plunge again (speaking of bungee jumping), even if someone offers to pay the price, but every day is a plunge of faith, and yes God paid the price and it was a whole lot more than $20.
p.s. Thank you Jan Embree for bringing this unpleasant memory back to me by commenting on a FB photo =) LOL