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Posts Tagged ‘Love’

Shameless blog post today. I just returned home from church where I heard another great sermon…a sermon that encouraged me and left me with practical steps I can use in my every day life. I’m blessed to be able to hear these great sermons every week…and soon you will be able to watch and listen also. Soon these sermons will be online and available to anyone with an internet connection. Many of you know that my favorite preacher is my own husband, Don McGarvey, pastor at Troy Mills Christian Church.

Don’s finished up a three-part sermon series on Being the Church. Just as a little tease for what is to come I’m going to offer some of my notes from the outline of today’s sermon: Being Built Up.

Living_Stones“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4-5

Jesus Christ is the foundation, the Chief Cornerstone of the Church. Each one of us are “living stones,” designed to build up the Church wherever we are. We are all a part of the Body of Christ. No one person is more important than another. With Jesus Christ as the head of the Church, each member is free to be who God has purposed for us to be. I won’t include every aspect of the sermon but Don included a list of what we, as believers, should bring to the church each week:

(1) Love

We are called to love each other, not judge, not gossip. Love.

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(2) Encourage

Building up someone is one of the most important tasks any one of us can do for another believer.

 “but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:13

(3) “Spur”

We could use the word “prod” or “incite.”

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,” Hebrews 10:24

(4) Serve

SOF_Galatians-5-13No longer do we care only about ourselves, but as members of God’s Church, we need to serve one another selflessly.

“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13

(5) Honor 

Putting someone above yourself – give deference to others.

“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;” Romans 12:10

(6) Instruct

We can all learn from one another. What has God been speaking to you about from His Word? Sharing the insights of the Word with each other grows the Body of Christ!

“Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” Romans 15:14

(7) Kind and compassionate – Ephesians 5:32

Ephesians_5_32And do all this with kindness and compassion. Our world needs to see the love, kindness and compassion of the Body of Christ. Not judgment or self-righteousness.

Can’t wait until you have opportunity to see these sermons for yourself. If you are a believer in Jesus, you are a member of the Church…let’s build it up!

 

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Is it possible to be exhausted and energized at the same time?

I had a busy, but so satisfying Saturday. My morning was spent with ten friends. We ate brunch, laughed, chatted, drank coffee (I was good – drank my herbal tea), encouraged one another and made cards to give to someone who may need a little spark of joy.

I also caught up with a long time friend I hadn’t seen for quite some time. Of course I’ve seen her Facebook posts but I mean really seeing, really connecting. Face to face. I’m sorry but no technology, no emoji, can replace a flesh and blood hug. It felt so good to listen to her stories about her son, her family. It made my heart glad.

This afternoon I met up with another wonderful friend. That hug was so great. She’s recently come through a tremendous health battle and is making a slow but steady recovery. I loved listening to her stories – some humorous (because she always finds something to laugh about), some humbling, most uplifting – of God’s faithfulness, His steady presence beside her – her honest confession that this journey is difficult. My tea got cold as we took turns connecting over our life stories.

Late this afternoon Don and I visited one of “my girls” recovering from pneumonia in the hospital. She was sleeping (thankfully for her) so we caught up on her health adventure of the last few days with her parents. Our own experience with our son’s pneumonia at much the same age gave us some insight into what they were going through. Scared but trying to be strong and calm for their daughter. Trusting doctors but still praying desperately for lungs to open and sleep to come. So glad we could connect and pray in that hospital hallway. And just heard they were able to go home tonight.

Connections. It takes your time, your effort, your willingness to set aside the routine to meet with someone face to face. There is no substitute. So I’m exhausted but energized by the human connections I made today. I can still feel the love conveyed through those hugs. ❤️❤️

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Pet Peeves. I’ve come to the realization that pet peeves are just subtle forms of complaining but acceptable because we all have them (plural). Many of us could make a list: Top 10 Pet Peeves (and still have plenty left over for a second or third list).

There are those who specialize in grammar, harping on “their/they’re/there” and “accept/except” and “lay/lie” and of course, “you’re/your.” These people have become more vocal as texting and social media posting have become the norm. At least once a day I see a post on my timeline bemoaning the lack of proper grammar on Facebook. Personally, I won’t repost any cute meme if it contains a misspelled word…I’m guilty of being a Grammar Czar.

Maybe you have issues with technology…more specifically, those of us who are trying to keep up with technology. Do you do an eye-roll when encountering one of us old people trying to learn a smartphone? Yes you do…admit it. Do you sigh in exasperation when you text and text and text, with no response…not even a “k”? Or maybe you deplore the overuse of emojis.

I have a tech pet peeve list: GPS that takes me to the wrong address, iPhone batteries that don’t hold a charge (Thank you, Apple), and computers that (fill in the blank). Enough already – that list could get long real fast.Pet_Peeve_Toilet_paper

Then we have those whose pet peeves surround their idea of acceptable behavior, always willing to judge others on bad parenting, disobedient children, too fast/too slow drivers, tardiness and loud public conversations on cell phones, etc… For every behavior, we have someone who doesn’t like it.

Let’s admit it. Pet peeves, especially those that surround someone else and their behavior, is judging. You are assuming you are right, in whatever opinion you have, and the other person is wrong. We would all agree that none of us are perfect (especially when it’s us), but we still want everyone else to be our definition of perfect.

In the morning I grouse about slow drivers on the interstate and on the way home, I complain about the fast drivers speeding by me. Thank God for the “edit” button on Facebook postings because I have typed so many grammatical errors, I could fill an English textbook.

In an ongoing attempt to make better choices, I’ve been working on my decision to complain, instead of expressing gratitude. I proclaimed a “no complaining day” this past week. It was mildly successful – mostly because I posted a “no whining zone” sign on my desk and posted about it to keep myself accountable. But every day? It’s hard. So, once again, I’m making the choice to give people (myself included) some grace. To show love, instead of judgment. To offer a smile, instead of a frown, when I see something I may not agree with. I’m not going to compromise my convictions…but they are MY convictions and as long as no one is being hurt, I can live with a little public cell phone conversation.

P.S. Scripture shows a history of complainers who got what they deserved…some major heat and a few extra years in the wilderness.

“Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.” Numbers 11:1

“My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.” Psalm 45:1-2

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I was pretty stuck when thinking about what to blog about today. Most of the day I was nursing a bad attitude. I was irritated about almost everything, spinning anything to my “Poor me” perspective.

Then…I received a very nice surprise. My favorite (and only) sister walked into my office. She had come to town unannounced to get some freelance work done and suddenly, my gloomy, rainy, crappy day got a ray of sunshine. 

Isn’t it cool how God knows what we need when we need it? Many of you will call it a coincidence that my sister just happened to surprise me on a day when I was feeling blue but I’m not one who puts much stock in coincidences. I believe God cares about me, and desires to send “suddenlies” into my life. I believe God wants to show me His love, His grace and His favor in the everyday circumstances of life, even to orchestrating surprises to lift my spirits. 

My beautiful sister surprised me with her visit today, but she didn’t surprise God. He knew how blessed I would be to see her face, feel her hug and of course, listen to our laughter together. And now I have some together time to look forward to. No more gloomy day – now all I feel is warm and cozy. 

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Do you remember The Who’s song “Who Are You?” I’m old enough to know it from the initial release in 1978 (high school graduation year) but I sing it more because it was the opening theme song for the “CSI” TV series. Of course, I only know the opening lines: Who are you? Who, who, who, who?…repeat indefinitely. You are now singing it in your head, aren’t you? You’re welcome.

But this could also be my theme song every day…or at least a question I should ask myself frequently. Who are you, Kris…who, who, who, who?

Who are you when:

  • you stub your toe in the dark
  • that crazy driver cuts you off on the interstate
  • someone unfriends you on Facebook
  • you bomb that job interview
  • there are 20 people in the only open Wal-Mart checkout lane
  • a mole wreaks havoc through your lawn
  • an “overdraft” notice arrives
  • your identity information is hacked
  • ugly rumors about your pastor reach your ears
  • your husband watches TV while you clean the house
  • the church committee didn’t ask for your help
  • your favorite (fill in the blank) comes up missing
  • a deer sideswipes your car
  • you get caught by the red light cameras
  • you miss a deadline
  • the scale shows five pounds more than yesterday
  • the dishwasher floods the kitchen

We don’t need more examples…pretty sure you get my drift.

Who I am is what’s on the inside that comes out during times of stress, or disappointment, or rejection, or pain, or normal living of your everyday life. Although I love being on the mountain top, I become the real “me” in the valleys of life. And sometimes, I don’t like what comes out of me. Sometimes I see the ugliness of gossip, shame, condemnation, rejection, self-hate, and impatience.

However, I want to welcome these wake up calls. Because if I don’t see the yuck inside occasionally, I won’t ever be able to clean my house. If I don’t recognize the nastiness inside, I’ll keep going along, thinking I’m just fine, so fine.

Don and I had a wonderful mentor who told us often:

“CharacteCB063014r is what happens when someone tips over your coffee cup.”

Who are you? I hope you find out today.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.Psalm 139:23-24

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Don & Kris – night before wedding, 9/25/1987

 

 

Cheesy, sappy blog post warning. If you can’t handle mushy stuff, just pass on reading any further. My 30-day gratitude chart asks me to write about the family member I’m most grateful for. Easy peasy. I love all my family, but when it comes to choosing one I’m most thankful to have in my life, I must write about my husband, my best friend.

We met a little over 30 years ago, when he began as a new staff pastor at my home church. We had mutual friends who wanted to welcome Don into the community, so my roommate invited him and this other pastoral couple over for spaghetti. He made me nervous. He had a dry sense of humor and a quick wit. He was so smart and I was attracted to him immediately. But I was kind of shy (I know, I know – most of you don’t believe me) and he was sooo much older and wiser than any other guy I had dated. Embarrassing detail: I spilled red wax on his yellow sweater when I blew out the candles. Mortifying. As he left the building, following dinner, he threw a snowball back into the doorway…got me right in the face. Yup – it was love.

Don_Kris_goofing_offWe dated three months, got engaged in May, and married in September. Sounds like a perfect romance, right? Not so much. Though we loved each other very much, we came up against a few people who objected to our relationship. The tough time we endured caused us to draw closer to God and to one another. We had a few very wise and trusted people who offered us safe friendships and our wedding on September 26, 1987, was a beautiful autumn afternoon, filled with friends and family.

Since that time, our life together has been filled with amazing adventures, trials and happiness beyond description. As happens in all relationships, we’ve gone through ups and downs, but we’ve always determined to communicate and love each other, no matter what. We’ve taught together, laughed together and cried together. Family_picnic_McCulloughWe have parented two wonderful boys who’ve made us so proud. Don is a dad who loves fiercely; his boys and I are everything to him – and we never doubted it.

Throughout the years, Don has been faithful in his pursuit of God; faithful in relationships with his accountability partners, his friends and with me. For the last year, we’ve been “empty-nesting” and I think doing a very fine job. We enjoy each other so much and there isn’t anyone I would rather spend my time with. He encourages me and my crazy plans. He allows me to be myself…and prods me to be all he knows I can be. He prays for me and with me. He spoils me.

Kris_Don_Neb_Ia_line_Sep_2016

Don & Kris–straddling the Nebraska/Iowa state line over the Missouri River

Every weeknight he has dinner ready for me when I get home from work. Yes, he is a great cook too. He is a man of God who desperately desires for the Holy Spirit to use him to grow the Kingdom of God. He is his own worst critic, so I take my job of encourager very seriously. 

I asked him this morning, if he knew then what he knows now, would he still marry me? Of course, he said yes. But honestly, neither one of us had any idea that we could love each other more now than we did then. Trials and struggles can tear couples apart or push them together – we’ve always chosen to push through together. Don, I thank God every day for putting you into my life! Here’s to 30 more years.

Wedding_family_May_2016

David & Tristen’s wedding – May 14, 2016

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attributes_of_godMy “30 Days of Gratitude” list has me contemplating the attributes of the God today. Imagine having to pick one attribute that I’m most thankful for. That’s like picking my favorite candy bar or my favorite child. Impossible. God is omniscient, omnipotent, immutable, holy, sovereign, infinite, transcendent, self-sufficient, wise, faithful…and so much more. For the sake of needing to blog today, I’ll pick one attribute of God that touches my heart the most…the mercy of God.

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

“The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and sin…” Exodus 34:6-7a

Have you ever watched your children misbehave and you knew you should discipline them so they won’t disobey again, but instead of giving them what they deserve, you hug them, snuggle them, and tell them how much you love them. That is mercy. Showing kindness and compassion, instead of judgment.

“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34

God continually shows mercy to those who love Him. He also shows mercy to those who don’t know Him at all. As our world continues to taunt Him, to reject His Son, to flaunt sin and lawlessness, God shows mercy…over and over and over.

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Romans 2:4-5

I am so thankful for God’s mercy to me. He did not give me what I deserve but instead shows me His love and grace and mercy…day after day. I am so grateful.

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