Archive for February, 2012

Not Just Another Conference

Anne Graham Lotz was thinner than I thought she’d be. When Jerry Jenkins introduced Anne, he told of a time when he interviewed Billy Graham. Graham looked over at Anne and said, “She’s the preacher in the family.”

He was right. She spoke from Rev. 1 about the magnificence and power and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. She encouraged us to serve Him with abandon, and see what great things He will do in our lives.

Inspiring doesn’t begin to describe it.

I’d heard the name, Sammy Tippett as a child, but couldn’t place him. When he spoke, he told of a time that many were saying he would be the next Billy Graham. Tippett said, “The Lord told me that my ministry had outgrown my character.”

When God spoke, Sammy listened. He took an unknown church in Germany and felt led to travel to parts of the world that Christ was not preached. His ministry has taken him all over the world.

He spoke of prayer and suffering, both necessary for a believer’s growth. He shared about a time when a man in his ministry wanted him to go to Romania, where communist rule encouraged atheism. He stalled, but eventually travelled there for a crusade.

Neither the townspeople, nor the city council wanted him there, yet thousands came to hear him. He preached God’s Word, then asked everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes. When he asked if anyone wanted to raise their hand to show interest in coming to the Lord–not one person responded.

“I wondered if I should offer an invitation to come forward. What if no one comes, I asked the Lord. It would be embarrassing!” Tippett says he felt the Lord told him to offer the invitation. He did. And no one came for a good while.

Then, he showed an old movie clip to us. A poor peasant woman in a babushka marched down the aisle of his crusade in Romania. The very one he’d been describing. She was carrying a flower. She stood before the podium, handed the flower to Sammy and knelt down on the hard cement. Two-thousand people followed.

Amazing. Life-changing. God-exhalting.

But that’s not the most amazing part. When Tippett returned to Texas, a prayer partner of his wife told him he must read her journal. She’d been praying for the salvation of one peasant woman in Romania for twenty years.

We doubt God. We put him in the box of our human limitations. But God works through one praying woman. He works through one humble man. He works through people who have suffered and people who have prayed, and He does extraordinary things.

Just ask a peasant woman from Romania and a praying woman from Texas.

Another Valentine’s Day

“Here’s my funny one.” Tom handed the card to me, and I opened it. I laughed out loud.

“Here’s my serious one,” I said, handing it to Tom. He smiled.

We looked at the grocery store rack a while longer. I picked a hilarious one for him, and he picked a serious card for me. It made me cry.

We kissed, put them back in the rack and walked out of the store.

It’s a tradition with us. Needless to say, we don’t buy Hallmark stock.

Rarely, do we buy gifts. Sometimes, we do when we really need or want something. As we’ve aged, what we need and want has diminished along with our hair and eye site.

It’s been thirty years this September. I can’t remember most of it. We were too busy trying to pay for the stuff that we had. Now, we want less stuff. A lot of time was invested in our children, and now they are grown.

We’ve realized that our marriage isn’t built on stuff, or even our children, but it is fragile. We’re taking some time to re-evaluate our covenant relationship. “A marriage tune-up,” of sorts. It’s a good thing.

Businesses do it annually. Why not marriages? We aren’t going to break any contracts, or bring in a new partner, we’re just trying to make ours the best that it can be. For surprising reasons.

The marriage relationship is a picture of Christ’s relationship to the church. A foreshadowing. The husband sacrifices and loves, the wife serves and respects. Not perfectly on this earth. But when those both within the church and outside of the church see a marriage where that is happening, they take notice.

They see through our marriage to the covenant maker, our bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

Jesus said in Luke 14:26-27, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, ┬áhe cannot be My disciple.”

Jesus didn’t mean hate hate. He meant that our love for our family pales in comparison to our love for Him.

Strange, when that happens, our love for our spouse grows. It grows because it is not human love, but divine.

We exchanged cards and we’re sharing our lives. It’s all good.

One day, there will be something immeasurably better.

In the meantime, don’t tell the grocery store.

 

Monday’s Musings

Imagine never being told you were wrong.

People in North Korea may know what that’s like. Or China. People who are famous, or the wealthy might have a taste of it.

It’s scary.

We need accountability. We need healthy criticism. Otherwise, we might do what is right in our own eyes and depending on my mood, you wouldn’t want to be there.

I spent the weekend with one of my dearest friends. Like dark chocolate, it was a treat. Because of our busy schedules, we don’t get much friend time, and I needed my “Diane fix.”

We talked, we laughed, we prayed. We also told each other about boogers.

Let me explain. Years ago, there was a man that everyone looked up to (literally) for his wit, education, and brilliance. One day I noticed a booger hanging out of his nose. It stayed there all morning. He must not have any friends, I thought.

Proverbs says faithful are the wounds of a friend. If you love someone, you tell them the truth. Not to get it off your chest, but to help.

The problem is how do you determine truth? Who is to say that you are right and your friend is wrong.

Truth is only found in God’s Word, the Bible.

So within the body of Christ, His church, we are commanded to exhort each other according to His Word. It is absolute. It is perfect. We are not. We need help.

The wounds that my friend inflicts are like surgery. They cut to heal. I did some cutting myself.

Later, it feels good.

Plus, I don’t have anything hanging out of my nose.

That’s embarrassing.