Tuesday, December 10, 2013
This semester, my creative writing students are reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. It makes me happy that one of the most popular writing books is written by a professed Christian who sprinkles thoughts on faith throughout the book. Lamott spends a lot of time discussing the overwhelming feeling of attacking something as big as writing a novel. Nothing scares writers as much as looking at the scope of a project. It’s debilitating, and often, our excuse for procrastination. Lamott’s solution is to change her focus. Instead of looking at the project as a whole, she likes to use a one-inch picture frame and what can be viewed within that amount of space. Then, a novel becomes just a chapter, a chapter just a scene, a scene just a paragraph, a paragraph just a sentence. Once we take the fear out of where to begin, or how to continue, we’re free to work without so much pressure.
I find that Lamott’s approach works well in life as well. I’m a stressed out person by nature. My mother will readily tell you about taking me to doctor as an infant and the doctor telling her that stress plagued me. And I can’t decide if choosing a profession in which I consistently have to be flexible and go with the flow is helping me or hurting me. Regardless, when I am faced with the task of planning the school year, planning a unit, planning something that would typically overwhelm me, I find what fits in a one-inch picture frame and start there.
With the end of the semester approaching quicker than we’d like, only to be followed by the holidays, stress is upon us. My encouragement to you is a borrowed story from Anne Lamott and the source of her title. When she was a young girl, she watched her older brother try to write a report on birds. He had three months to write the report and of course, had procrastinated until the day before. He was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by stacks of supplies and books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task. Her father sat down beside him, put an arm around his shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
Posted by Phoenix Christian Preparatory School at 10:20 AM
Monday, December 2, 2013
I watched as my 3 year old daughter struggled with the crumbling pie dough. Over and over she tried, on her own, then said, "you fix this Mama”. I gathered the pieces of dough so I could roll it out, however, every time I tried there were her little hands trying to help, but getting in the way. Again I tried, and again there were those tiny helping hands, getting in the way and making it impossible to fix the dough. Finally, I said “I can’t fix this till you take your hands off”.
Years later the Lord reminded me of this story as I cried out in despair.. “ why don’t you do something?” I’m praying, reading the Word, tithing, and going to church, and I am still fighting this disease. It was then He reminded me of the story. He couldn’t fix anything till I took my hands off and trusted HIM! I was trying to earn my healing.. trying to “do” instead of just “being.”
Some of us are experiencing challenges: unsaved loved ones, illness, financial struggles, and most of all the anguish of unanswered prayer. If that is you, maybe you will think about "taking your hands off the pie dough” and LET GOD FIX EVERYTHING!
To this very day if I am tempted (and I often am) to try to "fix things myself” I remember that THE BATTLE IS THE LORD’S 2 Chr. 20:17 and that it is JESUS who ALWAYS causes us to triumph.
2 Cor. 2:14
As we approach this Holy Season, it is my prayer that all of us will relax, rest, trust and be thankful we can ”take our hands off the pie dough”.
Thank you seems so feeble, Jesus, for who You are and all You have done for us! I love You!!
Posted by Phoenix Christian Preparatory School at 9:26 AM
Monday, November 25, 2013
The story is told that in the late 1800’s, a great sailing ship
left San Francisco on its way to New York around the tip of
South America through the Straits of Magellan. On the
voyage, it encountered heavy seas and was blown off course.
As it came up the east side of the coast of South America
opposite Brazil, the days lost as a result of the storm had
caused the ship to run dangerously low of fresh water.
For days, the great ship had seen no other vessels. Finally,
however, another vessel was spotted and the following
message sent: “ We are running short of fresh water, can you
help us?” The reply came from the sister ship, “Dip where you
are.” Thinking their request had been misunderstood, the
message was repeated. Back a second time came the reply,
“Dip where are you.”
Heeding the message, buckets were lowered and water from
the sea was hauled aboard. Much to the surprise of the crew,
the water was fresh. The great sailing ship in its journey had
come to a position 200 miles off the coast of Brazil in line with
the mouth of the Amazon River which pours fresh water 300
miles into the Atlantic ocean.
The Christian life is often like that. The needs of a particular
hour require resources that we don’t have. The promise of God
is that those resources will be available to us in the moment
of need. Often the resources are about us and to have them,
we simply need to “dip where we are”.
“My God shall provide all your needs according to His riches
in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
Posted by Phoenix Christian Preparatory School at 7:55 AM
Monday, November 4, 2013
The story of the Paralytic.
Vs. 18 “And behold some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in, and set him down in front of Him.”
Vs. 19 “And not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, right in the center, in front of Jesus.”
I heard a sermon on this story a while back and it touches me every time I hear it or read this story. What you have to like about the paralytic and his friends is that they were a determined group, full of passion and had a goal.
Things do not go as they had planned but that did not stop the men. Do you have any days like that?
They had to do something drastic. There was an opportunity to see Jesus and get their friend healed. They had to climb the walls and bust through a roof. The men did not care how they got to Jesus and on that day and nothing was going to stop them. They found an opportunity and got it done. The man was lowered right in front of Jesus. Jesus healed him and told him to take his bed and go home.
I wished I was more than the paralytic and his friends. In the craziness of that day, they had created a way to get to Jesus. Nothing stopped them. NO crowd or walls would prevent them from their goal.
An important part of our life is to create some God space in our daily lives. Otherwise we may just face an obstacle and give up.
Posted by Phoenix Christian Preparatory School at 9:30 AM
Monday, October 28, 2013
“You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex 20:3). The natural response to this commandment by sinners is to worship and serve the creature rather than the creator who is blessed forever amen (Rom 1:25). Hence, our society is full of idols - man made substitutes for the real God. This is nothing new. In Acts 17 Paul is taken by the number of idols that the Athenians had. God substitutes come in many different sizes, shapes, colors and disguises. If we are to know and acknowledge the living and true God in all areas of our lives as commanded, then we must ever be at work seeking to identify the idols in our modern American society. This is necessary so that they do not sneak their way into our lives. Christians must remind themselves and all others that “the Lord is God, there is no other besides him” (Deut. 4:35).
Posted by Phoenix Christian Preparatory School at 9:56 AM