May 20, 2013

What's So Important About Church?

Photo by Deb Spoons
freedigitalphotos.net
Why go to church? I can have a relationship with Jesus all on my own. I feel God more out in nature than I do within four walls of a sanctuary. It will be more important to go when I have my own kids. I don't get anything out of going to church. Church just doesn't speak to me.

I've heard these statements and have really pondered the question: What's so important about church?

Well, John's sermon yesterday gave me an answer that I feel makes sense. Yesterday was Pentecost, the Sunday we remember when the Holy Spirit was poured out on Jesus' followers awaiting the promised gift. John spoke of three things we receive when we accept Jesus and are given the Holy Spirit: Peace, Joy, and Mission. It was when he spoke about our mission in this world that I truly began to understand the importance of church.

The original word for Holy Spirit is BREATH. God breathed on the disciples and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, just as God breathed on Adam and gave him life. This breath of the Holy Spirit is special, because it gives us purpose and can give us passion.

Psalm 150, the last psalm listed, speaks of the purpose and mission of those who have the breath of God.

Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals. let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.
    Hallelujah.

It is a mission of the church...the universal church, the church world-wide...to praise the Lord. We praise the Lord with our lives because He has given us breath...not only physical life, but life life in His Spirit.
The church is a group of believers who gather together to worship God. To praise Him. To love Him. To honor Him. If our mission as Spirit-filled believers is to praise the Lord, then  we need to join together as believers worldwide to praise God and lift up His name. There is great power in the collective worship of God.

But I don't get anything out of church! Church is not for your pleasure. Church is a place to collectively worship the one true God. It is a place to further the mission of God. Worship requires you to consciously think through the words of the songs sung, the prayers said, the scripture read, and the sermon preached. It requires you to come prepared to give...not receive. Don't get me wrong, you will receive great things when you truly worship God as He deserves. But receiving something is not the purpose of coming to church.

I'll go to church when I start my family. If the parents are not sold on the mission of God before they have kids, then their kids won't capture that mission of God. Parents need to have their own relationship with God and be sold out for Him before they can train their children to love Him. It is not the church's job to train up a child in God's love...it is the parent's job. The church can - and does - teach, but it just reinforces what is taught at home.

I feel God more out in nature than I do within the walls of a church. Yes, there is something about being out in nature that draws us to God. It is because we are truly recognizing and seeing God's work around us. It is because we are focused on His creation and recognizing the gift that it is. But we can do the same thing at church. So often we go to church, wondering if we will get anything out of the service. We go through the motions. But we aren't actively participating. We aren't truly meaning the words of the songs we sing. We aren't truly agreeing to the words spoken in prayer. We aren't truly paying attention to God's words spoken through the sermon. There is power in the collective worship of God's people. We can experience His powerful presence when we truly worship in spirit and truth.

Church is not only a place to worship God. It is a place to be encouraged by other Spirit-filled believers. There are times when I am struggling with something in my life and someone in church will come up and ask about me...and sometimes even KNOW what I am struggling about. That is the Spirit loving on me and encouraging me...through a fellow believer. I wouldn't get that encouragement...either from the church member or from God...had I not been in attendance. Church is not just an institution...it is a family.

Church attendance is not a requirement. We don't need another thing on our "guilt list", for sure. But church attendance is an outgrowth of our heart. We spend time and energy on what is important to us. We make time for what we love the most. What is most important in your life? (Disclaimer here: There are times when we just cannot make it to church. In today's economic times, sometimes we have to work on Sundays. There is no shame in that. What I am saying here is that worshiping God is more important that shopping, catching up on sleep, and watching TV.)

This is certainly not a complete list of reasons for the importance of church. What would you add to my list?

May 10, 2013

DIY Framed Earring Holder

For my latest project, I took an old frame and turned it into place to hang my hook earrings. I think it turned out rather cute.


First I primed the frame with a spray primer.


Then I spray painted the frame a light blue.


With a white paint pen, I added a paisley design to give it some interesting detail.


I let it dry overnight, then added some rubber mesh (used as a mat in cabinets, like contact paper) to the back. It was easy to attach with a staple gun, and then I trimmed of the excess with scissors.


I'm happy with it, though I am kinda bummed that it only holds the "hook" earrings...not the studs or clasp earrings. Oh well...I will need to think of something else.



What projects are you working on? Organizing? Cleaning? Crafting? Anything?

Have a fabulous weekend!


May 08, 2013

Early Mother's Day

I got an early Mother's Day present with the arrival of my daughter for a couple of days! She came in around noon on Monday and left at 7 pm Tuesday night...a day and a half of pure heaven for this momma. I don't know what made this visit so sweet, but it really was.

Monday night we cooked lasagna and John made a tiramisu for dessert. May I just say...delicious!




And Mark was home for supper and I was able to grab a picture of him and Elyssa.


Tuesday morning I got to eat breakfast with all my kiddos! What a treat, though we missed having John, Kelly, and Carlos with us. I did have an awesome time, full of laughter and good food.


After breakfast, my sweet daughter took me shopping at Sam Moon's and bought me a pair of sunglasses and 2 beautiful earrings for Mother's Day. I love them, but truly, the best gift was her presence with me. She brings such life and laughter wherever she goes. I am blessed. Blessed to not only have a wonderful daughter, but blessed to have three sons who are such gentlemen and spoil their mother.

My heart is full and overflowing...thank you, LORD.


May 06, 2013

What Makes Bad Words Bad?

I've been thinking a lot about bad words lately. What makes a word bad? Is it because society says they are bad? Or is there an absolute that keeps the good words good and the bad words bad? I have thought about this for weeks and am not really sure how I feel about it.

We hear bad words every day. On TV, in the movies, at the store...everywhere. I have heard them spoken by God fearing people and by people who could care less about God.

I have been told...
  • They are just words. 
  • They are just words to better express how we feel.
  • Bad words are bad words only to the people who think they are bad. (???)
  • You say shoot instead of sh_t, so how is that any better?
Okay, so it's true. I sometimes say shoot. So what makes that better than saying the real thing? Why is it okay to say shoot but not sh_t? And why is it okay to type the word sh_t when it has a letter missing? Why do I feel the need to do that instead of typing the whole word. I am not using it in a bad way, but talking about it in an essay.

And that brings up another question. What makes bad words okay to use to express your feelings? Is it only bad when directed at someone else?

When you use bad words to insult someone, yes, that is terrible. You should never say things to hurt another person...with or without bad words. But how about using bad language when you hurt yourself and are angry? You are just expressing yourself, right? But why isn't it okay to just say ouch?

I don't really have any answers to all my questions, but I do know what the scriptures say about the words I speak.


  • May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
  • Keep your  mouth free of perversity (corrupt, improper); keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Proverbs 4:24
  • ...the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45
  • Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful in building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
  • Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. Brothers and sisters, this should not be. James 3:10
I know these scriptures don't necessarily directly talk about bad words, but I think that when they mention perversity and corrupt talk, bad words would be included. But these scriptures also imply that gossip and slander would also be included and I know I have been guilty of that. I don't always build up others as I should. Sometimes I can be critical, when in reality I have my open problems I should deal with. 

None of us are perfect and we will never be. We will always miss the mark. We do have God's grace and mercy to cover us and heal us. But that doesn't give us license to keep on doing wrong that grace may abound. We need to watch the words we say, using them to build others up, encouraging those around us. 

What are your thoughts about bad words? 



May 03, 2013

My Painting Experience

Last night I went with my friend Erica to Painting With A Twist in west Fort Worth. You go for 2 hours and follow the instructor's instructions and come away with a painting. The great thing about it is that it doesn't have to be perfect. As you can see below in the group photo, the painting are all different, yet all look great.

Here is the progression in my painting....

First the background. We started at the top and made our way down.
I did get a green streak in the middle of the sky, but the flowers covered it up.


Then the darker flowers

After the dark flowers, we added white ones and light yellow ones.
Then we added stem and some detailing on the flowers.

My sweet friend, Erica.

I have to say that I really love doing this. It is a fun time with friends. It teaches me some painting techniques and how to layer. And I come away with some art I can hang! This is definitely going in my bedroom, as it goes well with my springy color palette.

Do you paint? Ever wanted to learn? You should check out the site and see if there is a Painting With A Twist near you. Click on the link to see.....Painting With A Twist Locations

Have a GREAT weekend!

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