Staying Available

Jump out of bed. Throw on workout clothes. Fry egg, drink tea, spend ten minutes reading the end of Colossians. Rush out the door, head for Curves. Dive into my 30 minute workout; spend 15 more stretching, then cool down for half an hour while chatting with some very interesting ladies. Drive home, clean up, throw on clean clothes. Write blog post, run out door for appointment downtown.

And on and on it goes.

How in the world did I get so busy? Why do I have so little time? And I only work part time! What if I had a job that took up 40 hours a week—or more?

It’s not just me. Everyone I know seems to be running at top speed. We fill our calendars then wonder why we feel so stressed. It’s an epidemic.

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Did You Say Something?

Does God talk to you?

The Bible is full of examples of God talking to people. Sometimes He used an audible voice, such as when Jesus was baptized: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Other times He spoke through the prophets, although we don’t know how they heard His voice. He talked to Moses out of a burning bush. And one time, God even spoke through an ass! (See Numbers 22:28.)

The Urim and Thummim were used to cast lots, another way for the ancient Hebrews to know God’s will (1 Samuel 14:41 is one example). Gideon put out a fleece (Judges 6:36-40) to make sure he was hearing God correctly. Pete and I did too; w hen God asked us to move to Colorado, we asked for confirmation that we understood what He wanted us to do.

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Setting the Tone for 2013

There are only a few days of 2012 left. Most of us take the opportunity a new year offers to refocus, perhaps make some changes (you could call them resolutions), and in general start the year with a clean slate.

Our church is doing the same thing. At the beginning of 2013, our pastors are calling for “21 Days of Night & Day Prayer.” During those three weeks, people will be praying round the clock, 24/7. We can sign up for a specific shift at a prayer room, or just show up at any time. Everyone is welcome. And of course, we can pray on our own as well.

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Good Deeds: Construction

When our daughter was in the eighth grade, she joined a short-term mission team from her youth group. Working with a ministry dedicated to this type of ministry, the teens built a house for a Mexican family who until then had been living in a cardboard hut.

It was a great experience for her, and a great blessing for the newly-housed family.

Construction projects are very popular among  short-term mission teams. You don’t need to learn another language, you can use skills you already have, the project can fit into a short time frame, and you are providing tangible results for appreciative locals. With all the hugs and smiles, you certainly return home feeling as if you have accomplished something worthwhile. Our friends and family have roofed churches, built medical dispensaries, constructed playgrounds, and painted sanctuaries.

But is it always appropriate to travel to another country to build something? Is that the best way to bless the people and encourage the church there? Or is it sometimes just a way to check off “good deed” on our spiritual to-do lists?

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