Our One True Gift

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For years I reveled in God’s blessings. I soaked up the gifts that He showered over me. From the simple things, to the big things, I always had a way of spotting His gifts.

Over time, however, I started to act like a little kid in a toy store. Whatever I got, it wasn’t enough. I always wanted more. I’d receive His newest blessing and quickly say, “…but God {insert whiney voice here}…I want that too…”. Like a drug, I couldn’t get enough. Like a spoiled brat, I wanted more.

Not only had I lost track of the fact that as a fallen human I didn’t deserve any of His gifts apart from Christ, but I too started to serve those gifts as if they were my god.

One morning as I prayed for more blessings, asking Him to bring me some grand gift, I heard Him whisper softly into my spirit. His words were kind and gentle, not harsh. He spoke in a whispered tone that reverberated through my spirit saying,

You love my gifts more then me.

It hit me hard. HARD. I knew He was right. I had begun to love His gifts more than Him, the very Giver of those gifts.

I started to think about what that meant, how that looked to Him. It was as if my nephew loved the Legos I got him for his birthday more than me. That thought brought tears to my eyes, even now, the tears well up. Not the thought of my nephew loving his Legos more, but the thought that I paid more attention to my Legos then to God. I loved the gifts He gave me, I worshiped those gifts, more than Him. And any attempt I made to hide that from Him were lost, He knows my heart, He sees where my true treasure is.

It was as if I was blind and now all of a sudden the scales were removed from my eyes and I could see. Apart from Him these blessings meant nothing. Apart from Him, these gifts had no eternal impact, no eternal worth.

This life is our one opportunity to grow close to the One and Only. No gift that He’s given us will impact our eternal lives and legacy more then the gift of Himself. He is the true gift, He is the one true gift. He is what our hearts long for, hope for, yearn for, churn for. Apart from Him, all those other gifts don’t really matter, they are fleeting.

Yes, we are called to praise Him and thank Him as He lay gifts upon us each day; from the sun shining in our window, to the Starbuck’s card we find in our purse, to the safe travels He gave us on our road trip. They are all gifts and blessings and worthy of praise lifted high from our lips. But in the midst of thanking Him for all the little things, let us not forget to thank Him for the greatest gift of all – Himself, our One and Only.

Let’s not continue to love our Legos more than the Giver. His gifts are sweet, but nothing compares to the sweetness of recognizing Him as the greatest gift of all.

{Official} Book Club Announcement and Schedule

Home is Where My People Are
I am so excited to announce, officially, the launch of the Allume book club, starring Sophie Hudson’s, “Home is Where My People Are”!

 

I have been reading this and, seriously, you do NOT want to miss out on this opportunity to gather with some friends for some laughs, and some serious, southern comforting words.

 

Now, I admit, I am not from the south, but I feel like I could be. If it weren’t for my Michigan drawl, that is. But seriously, I love a lot of things deemed southern and when I read Sophie’s book, I nod in agreement and wish that things were more like that here in the Midwest!

 

I’m excited for the coming weeks and want to invite YOU to form a book club of your own. You can do it on your blog or within your church or local community.

 

We are giving away 200 books to the first 200 people who sign up for one HERE. 

WE ARE ALL OUT!

{Please note, only the first 200 people who sign up will receive a book, so don’t wait!}

 

And if you have never heard of Tyndale Rewards, you just have. They give you free books and Bibles — yes FREE! So be sure to go check them out and sign up for some free goodies!

 

Here’s the schedule for the Allume Book Club, hosted right here:

March
11th: Week 1 – Ch 1-3
18th: Week 2 – Ch 4-6
25th: Week 3 – Ch 7-9

 

April
1st – Week 4 – Ch 10-12
8th  – Week 5 – 13-15
15th – Week 6 – 16-18
22nd – Week 7 – 19-20
29th –  Close – Logan and Sophie Web Chat

 

Will you join us or host your own book club?
Home is Where My People Are- Alume Bookclub

an Audience of ONE

We make it incredibly chaotic.  We make it all about our words and our life and consistently say.. “look at me, look at my life, look at the mess I am wading in.” There isn’t a need for it and quite frankly, our God is not a God of chaos.

He is the God of order, intention, intelligence, justice, joy, compassion, relationship and love.. I could fill pages.  If we focused on the Mighty One God, how much of our own agendas, our need to be heard, or need to be seen by the world how much would fade away?  How much more frequently would we see the Eternal God through our words or worship or social media channels? How much more joy, compassion and love would this world be flooded with?

Psalm - 3 final

 

I know it gets kicked around and misused across the Christian landscape a lot but our lives are really only about the audience of One. Before our feet hit the ground, before the first words roll off our tongues, we have a choice.  Each of us has the ability to choose the audience we worship in front of every single morning. God’s given us each an individual story to write or if you will, worship set to play out before Him.

In the midst of our messes we wade in, are we truly surrendering to Him?  Are we tending to our primary ministry that He has given to us individually? Regardless of what that ministry looks like, there is no greater call on our lives than the one that God commanded us to choose : Love God and Love Others.  Period.  No question, no division, no compromise and absolutely no complaining.  After all, as we look ahead to the beginning of Lent, He’s already sacrificed it all just for us, hasn’t He? And yep. That means the sacrifice is for you too.

 

Mutual Hospitality

Mutual Hospitality

“Everyone wants to be Thoreau. We all want to go out into the woods and disengage from society, but I think there’s something really special about doing the opposite, which is still going in the woods but engaging others to help you.” – Jesse Frost

The last three months have interrupted my life in a way that I could’ve never imagined four months ago. Four months ago there were plans for travel over the holidays, decorating to be done, and events popping up on the calendar. The Sunday before Thanksgiving I had a plan.

My plan was to take my son to school on Monday, scribe exams for the lower grades in the morning, get some supplies to start prepping for Christmas lights, finish up some laundry, and maybe start packing. On Tuesday, I was going to take advantage of the forecasted warm weather and start putting up light clips outside, finish packing, and then we would hit the road after my husband came in from work.

We hit the road all right, but at 6:45 AM on Monday with my husband in the back of an ambulance! This was not in the plan at all, but God had a bigger better plan that would span Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, the Super Bowl, my birthday, Valentine’s Day and the rest of our lives! We are still learning what life looks like from this new vantage point.

We are country people, even though we’ve spent significant time in urban and suburban areas. As such, self-sufficiency of sorts is part of who you are more than a hipster trend with an off-the-grid tiny house and a permaculture garden watered by rain barrels. Many country people have their “family” within arms’ reach and at the ready with a moment’s notice. There is community you’ve had your whole life that never had to be built you were born into it.

So, family came to the rescue for the first two weeks my husband was in the ICU. Then they left and went home. We had two more weeks of hospital visits and more family for a few days just before Christmas. My husband came home, then my parents came back for a few days, and then life hit like a ton of bricks. This is when I had to do that hardest of things for me.

I “let” others step in to help. With all the talk of hospitality, I wasn’t willing to receive it. I had “company” for around 20 days over the holidays, but didn’t see that I was denying others the chance to serve. There is a mutual hospitality when we do life together, we have to let others into our need – not just our mess.

I had community with Allume, my church, my Bible study, classroom parents, and friends. But I found more family through the calls, messages, prayers, visits, and meals. My pride and self-reliance almost made me miss this. When we engage with each other and receive we develop a desire to give to others which then grows exponentially.

We shouldn’t need to have a crisis but develop an awareness of all we’ve already received and give back. However, if you do find yourself in crisis, be willing (i.e. humble enough) to ask for help and let others bestow some glorious hospitality of true community on you. You will both be blessed.