Archives for January 2010

"Cuddle Up" Valentine’s Day Giveaway!

3315856884_d912916985_zSince tomorrow is February 1st, I’d say it’s time to kick off a fun Valentine’s Day giveaway! February can still be pretty cold in our neck of the woods so how about a giveaway designed to warm you and your honey up? How about a “Cuddle Up” Valentine’s Day Giveaway?!

Here’s the deal. You supply the honey and the blanket, and I’ll supply the hot drink — a $15 gift card to Starbucks. Cuddle up with your honey in your favorite spot and enjoy a yummy hot drink, compliments of yours truly. If you don’t have a honey handy, how about cuddling up with a good book? Book lovers deserve some fun on Valentine’s Day, too, don’t they? Get it? Book lovers? Sorry, couldn’t resist :)

To be eligible for the drawing, just leave a comment on this post by noon (CST) on Feb. 14th. If I don’t know you personally, be sure to include your email address or link to your blog. To add to the fun, tell me what your current favorite hot drink is and/or what book you’d like to cuddle up with next.

I’ll start us off. As always, my favorite hot drink is hot chocolate with mini-marshmallows, even though I’ve been reduced to making it with no-sugar added Nesquick and topping it with only 7 or 8 mini-marshmallows. One of the books I’d most like to cuddle up with whenever I get my hands on a copy is Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.

Of course, the best book to get close to is the Bible, God’s Holy Word. Why? David said it best in Psalm 19:

“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” Psalm 19:7-11

Flickr photo by David Robert Wright, Creative Commons License

**Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter comes out this week. Sign up to the right to receive it free by email!

Small Touches

Sometimes one amazing story after another unfolds during a mission trip. Other times the tale is one of an encouraging pat on the shoulder, God’s Word handed out in a fleeting encounter, or simply a cup of coffee offered with a smile. Such is my Beautiful Feet mission trip tale this year. It’s a story of small touches.

Of course, the trip held many of the big blessings it always holds — things like renewed relationships with other area long-time team members, new friendships with first-timers, and sweet reunions with those who minister at Beautiful Feet week in and week out. Also standard were the reminders of just exactly where we were and what life is like in the inner city. This year it was a drug deal going down in the middle of the street right in front of our vehicle as we headed out to the projects to pass out fliers for our backyard Bible club. A few minutes later, it was the bullet holes we saw in one of the front doors we knocked on. This brings us back to another big blessing — our safety during each trip.

The biggest blessings, however, are the ministry opportunities themselves, even when they’re just a series of small touches like mine were this year. I spent the first half of Saturday morning sorting clothes for the homeless before going with a team to nearby neighborhoods to personally invite children to the backyard Bible club. I helped with the 3rd-4th graders that afternoon and then rode the bus with them back to the projects so I could tell them goodbye by name as they got off the bus. Sunday morning I helped serve breakfast in the soup kitchen, and my job was to simply pour milk with a kind word and loving touch into the cups of those who wanted cream with their coffee.

I also got the chance to plant the Word of God into the lives of a few homeless women. I had taken several years worth of Journey magazines (a daily devotional magazine for women by LifeWay) for the Beautiful Feet staff to use however they wished. Mike, the pastor at the Feet, suggested I try to hand out some myself while I was there. So in between my various jobs, I dashed to my stash of Journeys every time I saw a woman I could approach. What a thrill when I saw one young woman pouring over her Journey as I ran to grab a few more to take to a woman waiting out front for me. How I pray that those magazines will make a life-changing difference in the lives of those women whom God loves so much.

I’ll probably never know how God will use my brief encounters and small touches from this past weekend. But use them He will. Many times it takes many touches of His love to lead someone to faith or recommitment. Others times, God uses small touches to encourage hurting souls at just the right moment.

And the neat thing? We don’t have to go on a mission trip to give these small touches. We can offer them day in and day out, right where we are. We just need to open our eyes and be alert to the opportunities He places in our paths because sometimes small touches make life-changing differences…

“…serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13b

Flickr photo by journeyscoffee, Creative Commons License

**The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will go out next week. Be sure to sign up (to the right) if you haven’t already. It’s free!

Beautiful Feet Revisited

Since we just got back home from our weekend mission trip to Beautiful Feet, I thought I’d just share a photo and re-run the poem I wrote a few years ago about the Feet (as the locals call it). I didn’t take my camera along because I didn’t want to risk losing it, but someone took this shot on the trip a couple of years ago.

If you look closely, you can see members of the construction team working on the outside of the building, but on the inside you might see meals being served, clothes being sorted, worship services in progress, people praying together — in other words, the body of Christ at work.

As you read the poem, I think you’ll get an even better picture of what Beautiful Feet is like. Enjoy — and praise God with me for this beacon of hope in inner city Ft. Worth!

Beautiful Feet

There’s a place in Ft. Worth called Beautiful Feet
A place known by all who live on the street,
A hot lunch for free can be found there each day
After food for the soul is served up some way.
You see it’s not just a place, instead it’s a church
Where many find themselves beginning their search
For some shred of hope, a way out of their pain,
For love and acceptance instead of disdain.
Beautiful Feet is a light in a dark lonely world
A beacon of hope like a flag unfurled
For God’s people show love to one and all,
For Jesus is the One upon whom they call.
There are those who serve faithfully day after day,
And those who come yearly to work, share, and pray.
Each one sees God’s power heal and redeem,
The lost and the hurting become part of the team.
Each year Kansas comes the talk is who is blessed more
Those in Ft. Worth or the Kansans galore.
They truly feel like family, the bond is oh so sweet
For God is the Father at Beautiful Feet.

“As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'” Romans 10:15b

Sanctuary and Shelter

With life on a more even keel for us this January than the last, Don and I will be joining others from our region this Friday on a weekend mission trip to Beautiful Feet, a church that ministers to the homeless and inner city population in Ft. Worth, TX. For nearly 30 years, Beautiful Feet has offered a welcoming and safe haven to many needy and desperate souls. We feel blessed to be a part of their ministry every now and then.

Even though Beautiful Feet is a church and not a homeless shelter, it provides sanctuary and shelter in both physical and spiritual ways. Years before I became acquainted with Beautiful Feet, I wrote the following poem one winter as I thought about the plight of the homeless. As you read it today, please pray for the homeless — and for those who serve among them. And pray for our team this weekend, please!

Sanctuary and Shelter

Cold winter night
And I’m in my home,
Warm sanctuary and shelter.
Snow slashes through biting winds
While darkness drives the temperature down,
I look outside and shiver.
Oh God, thank You for my home.
My thoughts then fly to those
Who have no home,
Those living in the streets.
Real people, real suffering,
Real needs too many to number.
Lord God, help me to know
What I can do,
How I can give,
Where I can be Your servant.
And in Your faithful servants, Lord,
May they see You
And find
True sanctuary and shelter.

“You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.” Isaiah 25:4a

**The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early February. Sign-up is on the sidebar.

Flickr photo by RodneyRamsey, Creative Commons License

Looking Back…and Thanking God

My last post found me looking ahead, but today I want to spend a moment looking back. Some of you may remember that this time last year we were in the midst of a season of increased demand.

Don’s mom lay in the hospital with renal failure, and the doctor didn’t expect her to live. He forgot, though, that she’s a gal who doesn’t go down without a fight. Yes, she beat the odds. She’s alive today, and even though she has to have infusions five days a week at the hospital, she’s in a fairly stable spot now. (I’m almost afraid to say that out loud — don’t want to jinx it!)

I thank God that He’s allowed her to enjoy more of life. More time to see her kids. More outings to Pizza Hut. A chance to see our daughter Kelli’s engagement ring… I’m beyond grateful that God made it possible for her to continue to live in her assisted living apartment. I’m thankful that my current season of increased demand has more to do with weddings and joy than with sickness and sorrow. For all of this and more, today I’m looking back… and thanking God.

I invite you to do some looking back of your own. What mighty thing(s) has God done for you this past year? Please share — let’s praise and thank Him together!

“It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.” Daniel 4:2

**The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early February. Sign-up is on the right sidebar.

Flickr photo by RichardO