Thursday, October 28, 2010

prepared hearts...

I had the honor of attending a benefit tonight for E3 Ministries. This group does missions throughout the world, and I enjoyed hearing about the work they do as well as meeting some of the people who have done God's work throughout the world. The MC for the night talked about his own personal experience on a mission trip as well as several other speakers. One in particular talked about prayers they we pray as we approach a mission trip. So often we pray that God will prepare the hearts of those we will come in contact with on the mission...

... but how often do we ask God to prepare our hearts for the mission??

This thought really jumped out at me as I lsitened to these speakers. Missions has always held a special place in my heart... I love the world in the sense of wanting to experience different cultures and communities. But I also live by the theory that I should leave any place better than I found it. I think better, in any case, is showing the Love of God with others, and sharing when given the opportunity.

God has really been laying some different things on my heart lately. Those feelings of uncertainty I have been feeling are developing into a different direction, but one in which I need so much guidance.

... seriously, so much guidance.

It's one of those moments when I have a feeling I might know what He wants me to do... but am clueless as to how I should accomplish it or where it will take me. I pray that He will prepare my heart for whatever He has in store for me... friends, please join me in that prayer.

Love Y'all,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

the Bull Riding bond...

I had a lot of bonds with my daddy... but i think the most unique was probably our love of watching bull riding. It all started during the summers I was home during college. There was one tv in the house, and if daddy was home, we watched what he watched... and he watched bull riding. I guess I started watching between freshmen and sophomore year, because I can remember watching it in my room in the residence hall... Daddy would call me after a good ride, and I would call him to talk about the event when it was over... on weekends when we were both home, we would watch together and usually keep mom up from yelling at the TV while it was on (we liked to enthusiastically cheer the riders on... well, I still do.).

Last Spring (2009), PBR came to Birmingham and Daddy actually took 2 days off work so that he could come to town and we could go together. We had a really good time until his boss called him to go to work on the 2nd day and he had to leave early. We actually got to be apart of the audience that we saw on TV every week... and that's a memory I will never forget. I'll never forget watching daddy as he had a conversation with his favorite rider, Mike Lee (who won the 2004 World Finals Event and Championship). He never told me what they talked about... but I'm sure he shared his mind with Mike... and I know daddy enjoyed the conversation too.

After Daddy died... watching PBR ( if you want to learn more) is just not the same. It reminds me of him so much... and the unique interest in a sport we both loved to watch. I didn't share that interest with anyone but him, and to this day I always want to talk to him about it after I watch an event. Luckily, mom has started watching more often... we texted back and forth about it tonight, and we may take a mini vacay to Vegas next year to go to the Finals (though Daddy probably wouldn't be a huge fan of that)... I really appreciate that mom has somewhat taken up an interest in PBR so that I do have someone to share it with...

This is Mike Lee from the NOLA event in April '10

Guillerme Marchi at BHam event in March '10 (mine and Daddy's first time to watch PBR live)

Obviously bull riding was not the only bond Daddy and I shared... I don't think I could list them all. Today is one of those days that I think about him a lot, and the weirdness that he is not present in my life anymore. It's been 17 months since he died... but sometimes I still have to think about it, about that horrible day to remember that he isn't here on earth with me any more. Today I was thinking of this as I was driving around town. In a way I think I feel guilty for how little I mourned my grandparent's death in relation to his. Yes, I miss seeing them... but I don't ache for them like I do daddy. I don't weep for their loss like I do his... and I don't know that that will ever stop. I truly don't. I believe that there will always be times (and they are getting fewer and farther between) when I just cry... for no particular reason other than something reminds me of him.

I try to imagine what life is like for them in Heaven. John 14:2 the bible says:
{In My Father's house are many mansions , if it were not so, I would have told you.}
I wonder if each dwelling place is unique to it's resident. But at the same time... if all we do in Heaven is Praise and Glorify God... do we have a need for a unique residence. If we do... are we in areas with our loved ones? Does Pawpaw have his lawnmower? I feel like Heaven is a subject I should study more... what is the reality of our eternal dwelling place?
As I looked up the above verse... I had to laugh at the John 14:1. It's one of those moments where God hits you in the head with a reminder that He is here, right beside me as I cry about missing daddy, and type it out for whoever may be reading it.
{Let not your heard be troubled;
you believe in God, believe also in Me.}
John 14:1
Love Y'all, Kacey

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Paralysis of Analysis... a lack of Faith?

Reading Mr. David's book again tonight and it brought up a topic that I think can be very evident to a lot of us...

{Paralysis of Analysis} The term "analysis paralysis" or "paralysis of analysis" refers to over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation, so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. A decision can be treated as over-complicated, with too many detailed options, so that a choice is never made, rather than try something and change if a major problem arises. A person might be seeking the optimal or "perfect" solution upfront, and fear making any decision which could lead to erroneous results, when on the way to a better solution. (Thank you Wikipedia for the definition...)

I had heard this term, but never really thought about it... but I can think of times in my life that I have put myself in this position... that my over analyzing has been detrimental to me and my development socially and spiritually. Biblically, I believe that one of the most obvious examples of Paralysis of Analysis is that of John 6, in which Jesus feeds the 5,000.

John 6: 1-14

1Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee
2and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick.
3Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples.
4The Jewish Passover Feast was near.
5When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?"

6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
7Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages[
a] would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"
8Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up,

9"Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"
10Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them.

11Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted."

13So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
14After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world."

I think that a lot of times we are like Philip (verse 5) and Andrew (verse 9), we only consider what is right in front of us... and not what the possibilities are. The more I think of that I consider how I often put God in a nicely wrapped box, because I don't consider that there are other options for me than those I have already thought, planned out, etc... I am convicted that this Paralysis of Analysis is in some ways a great lack of Faith. Because just as Jesus fed the 5,000 with such a small amount of food, He can make opportunities in our life grow exponentially as well. Why would I want to put God in a box when His vision and thoughts span an undefinable space. He has no limits... so why do I try to limit Him?? I can't.... but why in small little human brain do I try to? This is something I need to work on... I have always struggled with "giving things over to God"... because if I pray the the same prayer daily, am I truly giving it up?? Is that praying with Faith when I daily remind God what my needs and desires are? (Seriously... input on this particular subject would be appreciated)

Ultimately, I think it is most important that we recognize that our focus on the outcome of these analysis should be similar to that of verse 14. I believe that what God does in our lives can be our own personal "miraculous sign" of His work in our lives... and that we should never ever hesitate to give him the credit for the results, so that others might be able to see Him in our lives simply through observation.

Love Yall,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Unity in Diversity...

One of my very best friends in college, Chris, spent most of his growing up years in Ecuador as a MK. His dad, Mr. David Sills, recently wrote a book titled, "The Missionary Call - Find Your Place in God's Plan for the World." I have started reading through the book and wanted to blog about something I picked up on in Chapter 1 of the book...

While discussing Understanding the Missionary Call in Chapter 1, Mr. David writes... "When God calls His child to live the life of a missionary, He gives him the desire with the calling. In addition, the Lord gives a spiritual gift to every true believer (1 Corinthians 12). However, in addition to the gift itself, I believe that each believer has a passion area for the exercise of his gift." I love the point that Mr. David makes about passion. I truly believe that if God calls you to do something, whether it go on the mission field, start a new career, or simply to give more of your time or finances... He will also supply the passion for your particular calling.

After reading this section I ventured to 1 Corinthians to check out the reference to Spiritual Gifts.... I so love the way this chapter unites the body through our differences. We Unite in Diversity by bringing all of our different gifts to the table to help each other out... teamwork is a wonderful thing. :)

{1 Corinthians 12}
1Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.

2You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.

3Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.
4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. '

5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.

6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,

9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,

10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b]

11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

So yes, of course I have read this chapter before... but until about 10 minutes ago I had no clue what my spiritual gifts were. I just found 2 surveys online and took them both, and my results were similar on both. My primary gift on one survey was Shepherding. This gift has to do with leadership... I thought this part of the description was pretty accurate...

{HOW CAN YOU USE YOUR GIFT? This gift is a great help in many areas. You may serve as a Sunday school teacher, small group leader, pastor or assistant pastor, bus captain, special ministry leader (such as youth, children, men, etc.), nursery worker or as a half-way house or other type shelter volunteer. You may consider serving as a dormitory leader in a college, orphanage, children's home, etc. Scout troops would appreciate your assistance as a den leader.}

Okay... so I guess it's right.

I also scored high in Showing Mercy and Service on the assessments. I am comforted in knowing that things which I am passionate about such as caring for and comforting others, and well as service to others seem to be gifts from above.

It is so good to know that I serve a God who plays an active role in my life. He gives me skills, gifts, desires, and callings. I am confident that God has called me to work with college age students... but I guess the future location of that calling is to be determined. I am not sure where the Lord will take me... but I know that my path will be uniquely selected for me and me alone. And I am thankful and continually prayerful that God will make His calling evident to me, as well as create a renewed passion within me for whatever His plan for me may be.

Love y'all,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Prone to Wander... Unfortunately.

I write about songs a lot... lyrics especially. One of my favorite hymns to sing is "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." We sang it in church on Sunday... I when the line {Prone to wander Lord I feel it...} was sung... it was like a big ole slap in the face from my Heavenly Father.

I am so prone to wander...

I think anyone who has ever traveled (or gone to Wal Mart) with me would tell you that I like to wander... I like to see new things, take different paths, explore different options. And while in life, I think that is a good thing... I am concerned that those options, those paths, those new things often distract me from the One whom I should be fixed upon.

I of course, look to the song for inspiration... (and Wikipedia for the info). This song was written by a young man. A 22 year old pastor in 1757. I am thankful to Robert Robinson who wrote this song 253 years ago... because my voice still shakes and I tear up with conviction nearly every time I sing it. Robert's version though is a bit different than Praise and Worship version we are used to... take a read a notice a few extra verses. The mental picture of the last verse... wow.

{Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing}
by: Robert Robinson, 1757
1. Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise his Name, I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.
2. Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I'll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,Safely to arrive at home.
3. Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.
4. O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
5. O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.
My conviction of my wandering stems from a reprioritzation that needs to take place in my life. sleep, work, friends, family, tv, enterntainment, social media... these are things I focus on when I could be spending time in the Word. When I could be learning... when I could be growing... when I could be gaining that Wisdom I am so desperate to have. Wisdom that I want to share as I learn. How can I not spend more time with the One who sustains me day to day. How can I hear answers to prayers if I don't take the time to listen.
... I can't.
I'm not really sure where to start, not sure where the Lord will lead me in a lot of aspects of my life... the thing about God is is that He is everywhere... so it is so important for me to make time for the One who has been with me for all time... He deserves so much more than I give Him. And though I can never give Him enough time or enough Praise I should strive to honor Him with more than my attitude and my works every day... I should honor Him with my time, with my mind, with my stillness and listening ears. I want to learn, but I have to study in able to do so.
Keep me in your prayers friends... for you are in mine.
Love y'all,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

God won...

For the last 24 hours I have watched the news with baited breath as 33 miners and 5 rescue workers have emerged from a 2000 foot hole deep into the earth of Copiapo, Chile. I fell asleep on the couch last night watching the news, I woke up and rushed to the TV to see the progress of the rescue this morning. I can’t count the tears of pure joy I have shed for these men and their families as they have come out of the rescue pod and into the arms of their loved ones.

How does something like this happen…

How do these men survive 69 days under the earth???

According to Mario Sepulveda… he met God, he met the Devil… they fought and God won. Check out this article/statement from Mario to hear it from him.

Mario is an inspiration to me. I was not able to watch all of the rescues… but his was the first that I saw. He was the 2nd miner rescued, and he came out cheering. He hugged his wife, he hugged President Pinera, he hugged the First Lady, he hugged the other miners, the rescuers, and then he started a chant of Pride!! The encouragement and enthusiasm of this man who literally just rose from an abyss... is so inspiring. Mario was in a literal abyss (like the deepest valley ever!!!), so how does that compare to those emotional valleys that we get into. I can't imagine what they went through... don't really want to, because I know it had to be painful... physically, mentally, and emotionally.

{Chile! Chile! Chi Chi Chi Le Le Le … los mineros de Chile!}

I have seen pictures of the men who came out of the mine and hit their knees in prayer. I have read accounts from them today in which they talked about the hand of God in their survival. Many of them were wearing t-shirts that say “Gracias Senor” (Thanks be to God)… the faith of these men is incredible… just think of the platform that God has given them through this experience. The entire world is waiting to hear what they have to say, and the words they choose will influence so many peope. Just imagine having that influence...

oh wait friends... you do! We all have a sphere of influence on someone... so watching these miners reminds me to pay attention to what I have to say and how I say it when talking to those around me... because you never know who is listening.

Finally, a great quote from one of the miners:

“There are actually 34 of us, because God has never left us down here."
-- 19-year-old Chilean miner Jimmy Sanchez, in a letter sent up from the mine Tuesday

Dear friends,

Please keep these men and their families in your prayers... the days ahead are going to be a huge transition for them all. I am so intrigued by these men and can't wait to hear more from them in the coming days.

Love Y'all - KC

Friday, October 8, 2010

Love, Joy, and Hope...

A lot of thoughts today as I sit in this quiet office (though yes, I am singing along to Pandora)... Fall break is this weekend... so students are quickly bolting for home or other adventures... I've been reading over friends blogs and contemplating some things I've been thinking about this week, and it's really just a question to ponder... I don't know yet if there is an answer to this question.

{What is more important: Happiness, Joy, or Hope? }

So we can make an educated decision... here are the definitions according to Miriam Websters online.

1. good fortune

2. a) a state of well being and contentment
b) a pleasureable or satisfying experience

3. Felicity, Aptness

1. a) the emotion evoked by well being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight
b) the expression or exhibition of such emotion: gaiety

2. a state of happiness or felicity: bliss

3. a source or cause of delight

1. trust, Reliance

2. a) desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment; also: expectation of fulfillment or success
b) someone of something on which hopes are centered
c) something hoped for

intransitive verb
1. to cherish a desire with anticipation

2. Trust

transitive verb
1. to desire with expectation of obtainment

2. to expect with confidence

So... thoughts?? I have been thinking about this more and more as I have read the definitions... Happiness is a great thing... we all feel better when we are happy. However, isn't our happiness usually dependent on how we feel and is strongly affected by outside forces. I can be having a good day, be seeminly happy and with one unhappy occurance, my day is shot... happiness out the window. (I personally think that is a negative character trait for me, but I'll use it as an example) So yes... happiness is good, but happiness is a vulnerable emotion.

Joy... well, I think joy is something I strive for (and the name of a sweet friend!). I feel like it is a step or two above happiness... like, happiness on steroids is joy... because it is a bigger and better emotion... also... happiness causes joy because they are closely related emotions (they have ALL the same synonyms). Really, can you have joy without experiencing happiness?
... now that something to ponder.
Hope... to me thats just such a necessity in life. How do you go day to day with out the hope of things to come (whatever your "things" may be). I also like that hope isn't just a thing... it's an action (noun and verb!)... you can do more with hope. Hope takes trust, hope takes faith... because you can't hope without expecting something in return... with hope... you have to expect a result. If it happens that the result isn't what you hope for, well... then I guess that would affect your joy and happiness... so in a way, it seems that your joy and happiness are dependent on the things you hope for.
Anyways... just something to think about... feel free to let me know your thoughts!
Also, please be in prayer for my mom. She is starting to clean out some of daddy's things, she bought a new bed, and gave away some of his clothes. It is really hard on her to relive memories through each and every pile... pray for strength and comfort for her as she goes through this unavoidable task.
Love y'all,

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Free as we'll ever be...

This may be a little weird... but as I was walking through the cemetary to help my mom put fall flowers on my dad's grave, the following lyrics from Zach Brown Band popped in my head:

"Just as free
Free as we'll ever be
Just as free
Free as we'll ever be
And ever be"

I literally laughed aloud at the symbolism of the song and my setting. But as I thought about it, I determined that the symbolism is on point really, for Christians anyway. Our death, no matter when, no matter how allows to be free from so many things that we endure here on earth.

Freedom from sin
Freedom from oppression
Freedom from pain
Freedom from suffering
Freedom from illness
Freedom from mourning
Freedom from heartbreak
Freedom from disappointment
Freedom from feeling inadequate
Freedom from confusion
Freedom from uncertainty
Freedom from loss
Freedom from indifference
Freedom from loneliness
Freedom from negativity
Freedom from feeling unsettled

We all struggle with those... one, some, or all... but if you know the Lord as your Savior, you can look forward to Freedom from those things. If you don't, well... check this out to learn how... or call me and we can chat about it.

"Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom."