>Lean On; Lean In

>You remember that big-hit song in the 80s, “Lean on Me”? 
“Just call on me brother when you need a hand, we all need somebody to lean on…” 
It was a remake but man, was it a hit. 
“Lean on me” is also a cliche. I tell others, “Hey, man, lean on me anytime,” and others tell me the same.
But sometimes it is so tough that I need to be absorbed by something stronger, steadier, more stable.
Leaning on humans is good, but not enough.
That’s when it calls for a lean IN.
Doesn’t God tell me I am his lamb? his child? and under His wing?
All those metaphors are more about leaning in, than leaning on.
I can lean ON when I am equal to another, you know, shoulder to shoulder.
But when I feel small & weak, I need to lean in to God.
Absorbed by his love and protected by the shelter of his wings.
Where I am the helpless–foldng and buckling into the arms–of the Helper.
I’ve had to lean in to God more and more. Maybe you have too.

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>Str8 from My Gut

>How do we know what to do, what is right?
How do we do it when God’s not in sight?
We pray, “Please whisper in my ear today,
seems like some answers are just clicks away.”
We’re dependents, desperate to hear from Him,
pain travels to the heart where answers begin.
It is there where we once asked Him to live,
The Answer is there, and He’s ready to give.
He doesn’t need to be the other side of our sight-
to know what to do, what to say, what is right.
He’s closer than anything we can visualize, see,
He’s in our heart, the Answer, the center of me.

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>MY NAKED PASTOR

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My church is getting naked, and so is my pastor! No…not that kind of naked, a new kind of naked. A revolutionary kind of naked. A nakedness that has no shame; a nakedness that would make God smile. Beginning Sept. 9 at 8pm, our church is putting our pastor on a 24-hr webcam. We are going to see him in his fishbowl – the good, the bad, the great, the ugly – for FIVE weeks. Not too exalt him, but to realize, thru him & with him, that we’re all fish in a bowl. Which simply means the more transparent (naked) we get, the more permeating Jesus Christ can be. We aren’t called to be children in hiding, concealment, or shame. God has called us by name, we are His, and we are to be naked and unashamed in HIS light for HIS glory. So, get ready, ’cause on Sept. 9, Flamingo’s going in a bowl.

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>Times r a Changin’

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  • In Ancient Greece, a courier named Phidippides could run 155 miles in two days.
  • The Pony Express could travel 1,966 miles from Missouri to California in 10 days.
  • Using email, I can send a message around the world in a few seconds.

Times are a changing.
Thankfully, so am I.

  • Before being hugely influenced by my pastor & his wife I would judge people within a few seconds. A couple yrs. ago, I remember judgingJoel Olsteen. I merely saw him and immediately judged him. I had some nerve.
  • Last year, I remember prematurely judging a new person to our team. Though not within seconds, but still…within days. Right after this person came on board, I calculated in my head what they would and would not be able to do. It’s been over a year, this person has not only done what I thought they could do, but also shown there is nothing they won’t do. Gosh I’m ashamed.
  • Today, I had an opportunity where there was no time to judge. As I exited a ramp and slowed down to wait at a stoplight, a woman walked toward me with a sign, “Please help. Homeless. God Bless You.” I rolled down my window, handed her a $20 along with aFlamingo card and continued driving.
I hate it that I judge. Hey, no offense, but I think I’m gonna finish this post with God today. God, I stink at judging. I’m so sorry. Please continue to evolve me into a girl who judges less and loves more. Please remove my planks

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>DJ Boo-Boo, part 1

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DJ, in his happier days with uninjured eyes.

DJ, in his not-so-happier days.

It gets your heart racing when you hear break-the-sound-barrier shrieks from a kid.
It gets your heart racing when you run to the scene and blood is pouring from their eye.
That’s my little man, DJ, up there.
He got poked with a sharp metal stick thingy and unfortunately it cut his eye, right on the lid, just beneath the lashes. But fortunately, it missed his eyeball (thank you for your protection, God).
The doctor couldn’t use the glue stuff cause it was to deep so they actually had to needle those 2 stitches right in there.
My poor little guy.
If you feel sorry for this kiddo, send him a comment today.
He’s laid up today and would get a kick out of reading them.

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>My Cuban

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Many of you know the following about me: I am not mushy, I don’t kiss in public, I don’t sing songs or write poems to show my love. I am more likely to annoy the Cuban than dote on him. I don’t always hide my conflicts with him. I usually forget Valentines Day & our anniversary. Ten years ago, I told him, “I can open my own car door.” After he proposed to me, he was confronted by 2 concerned pastors who advised him to not marry me. This Friday, we are doing an interview on the topic…of all things…fighting.
So, for the most part, the general public has only seen a very odd-couple in action.
But the Cuban and I embrace our oddness, and we aren’t ashamed to let the world see it and there are a few things I’d like to add…
1. I am fiercely protective of him and I think I will hunt down and break the teeth of anyone who hurts him.
2. In 2000, I almost left him. I will spend the rest of my life staying as close to him as I possibly can get. And I will never let go.
3. The Cuban is my best friend. After God, there is nobody who has my greater trust, love, sacrifice, or devotion. The Cuban is truly the man.
4. Despite our oddball ways, we have a strong marriage. And it isn’t strong because either of us hold it up. It is “bulletproof-vest” strong because a few years ago, when we couldn’t hold it up anymore, God did. And we believe He’s never stopped.
5. The Cuban isn’t the wind beneath my wings or the wind in my sail or any of those sappy cliches. He is the antonym of me. Every weakness in my life, is his strength. 
And I am thankful.

OK, well, there it is. 
I felt it, so I had to write it. 
Thank you.

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>Praying ABCs

>One time, when I was lying on an operating table for a broncoscopy, they were just getting ready to jam a big tube into my nostril when I felt the strong urge to pray.
So I thought, “for every letter in the alphabet, I’ll come up with a word for God.”
I thought this might pass the time; stretch my creativity; take the focus off me;
& give Him some long overdue praise!
Well, it stuck with me and I’ve been doing it ever since.
It’s like 26 ways of letting Jesus know how much I love Him.
When I journal, when I worship, when I pray,
I’ll walk thru the ABCs.
And to take it a step further, I’ll try to come up with different words each time (with the exception of Q, X, and Z, not much you can do with those letters)
Anyway, it goes something like this:
Dear Father, you are Almighty, Beautiful, Creative, Destined, Everlasting,Faithful, Glorious, Holy, Incredible, Joy, King of Kings, Love, Mighty,Noble, Omnipresent, Perfect, Quintessential, Redeeming, Safe, True,Undeniable, Victorious, Wonderful, Xcellent, Yahweh, Zealous….Amen!

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>”Jess”

>When I was a little tyke, my p.’s were like hippy-Christians. I remember many-a-weekend where their hippy-buds would come over for “house-church,” and they’d all show up with their kids & potluck dishes in tow. We lived out in the country, on one long & lonely road where there were 3 houses on it and nothing but rows of corn in between. As our parents would worship and study the bible in our living room, we kids would play outside, the good ole’ games: kick the can, firefly catching, hide-n-seek in the corn fields, freeze tag. 
One of my little buds was a girl named “Jess”.
I remember making fun of “Jess” alot. She was from a blended family, she had a funny last name (as if I didn’t), and, well, gosh, I don’t know, I just made fun of her.
“Jess” had a very difficult upbringing. Too difficult to blog about. I would never describe the details to you. But it was a very, very difficult upbringing.
Years later, long after parting ways and now living in different states, I got some news. “Jess” had found her little brother dead in his bed. He had shot himself. He was only 15 or 16. My brother (who was the same age as her bro and who grew up playing with them) and I drove back to Ohio to attend the funeral. What can I say? It was one of the saddest things my eyes had ever seen.
And after all “Jess” had been through in her life, now this. 
I don’t know where “Jess” is today. But she was on my heart. I wish I could take back all the teasing I did to her. And I wish I could just sit down over coffee and just let her talk. But I can’t. 
I guess I’d like to say that if you have someone you’d like to sit down with, do it today.
Tomorrow you may not be here. Tomorrow, they may not be here.
Don’t let time be your culprit for absences in your heart.

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>My Haman Being

>Esther. It’s not a book in the bible I pay alot of attention to. I guess I figure it’s a story I already know. HA! I know nothing! 
‘Cause today, I read Esther 5:9-13 and it shouted “Wake up, fool!” right to my soul:
Now you’d think I’d be changed by something Esther did. Oh no, not me. 
No, God had to convict me about something this Haman-joker did in Esther 5.
Haman wasn’t a human being, he was a “haman being” — a guy so full of himself.
Alas! Note to self:
don’t say things like:
“I had this great idea…”

“What do you think of my new…”

“You should have seen me…”
“I don’t mean to brag, but…”
“I’m never wrong…”
“I know it won’t fail…”
When I talk like that, it’s not just a bunch of words. 
It’s a bunch of words coming from a cocky heart. 
“Jesus, please give me a heart of humility; a heart willing to not get credit, to not esteem itself, to not be noticed. Jesus, please take away my Haman being.”

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>Footprints no more!

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While on vacation, I had this perfect idea! I’d take a picture of my footprints in the sand and blog about that cheesy “Footprints” poem. However, no sooner did I click the camera, and the darn ocean came and washed away my beautiful set of footprints. (see picture)
Ya know, I can have perfect ideas in my head all day long, but when they are put into action, they WILL be imperfect.
And I just think its cool that God works like that.
As leaders, God gives us a perfect place for our dreams and ideas to roam….it’s called our mind.
And He doesn’t interrupt much there.
He also gives us imperfect places for our dreams and ideas to play out…it’s called our actions. And alot of times, He interrupts there.
As I lead, every time God interrupts my actions, I’m so glad that He did.
Man, would I do some stupid things if God wouldn’t step into my actions.
So as a leader, be glad if you have a perfect idea to take pictures of your feet, AND don’t be ticked if the action of it gets washed away by the ocean -it just means God’s got something better.

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