Keep Your Honk to Yourself

Honk. Honk! HONK! HONNNNNKK! Commuting to the city is noisy.

I imagine every tenth car has a shredded horn while mine is rarely ever used.

Why does someone ten cars back feel the need to put all their weight into their horn until their wheels finally start moving?

Either their wrists really hurt by the time they get to work or their cars are automatically wired to honk whenever they stop moving.

Please exercise your road rage in therapy or at the gym because your horn isn’t getting you anywhere.

Have a nice day! Honk. Honk.

 If I HONK without love, I am just plain noisy!

1 Corinthians 13:1

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Ash Jumping

Ash Jumping


Forgive me Lord,  I sinned against you, my neighbors and myself.  I have not loved my sisters or myself as you love me.  I’ve sinned.

I am ashamed, have shamed and been shamed.

I’ve been proud and boastful.

Thank you for pulling me out of the ashes.  You never hesitate or deny your love. Thank you for gently dusting me off. Thank you for kissing my ash-filled head and wiping my tears. Thank you for loving me despite my sins.screenshot_20170301-105529

We journey to your cross. Cast our burdens upon your alter. Our sins a pile of ashes.

Praying for a new day, weeping as you sacrifice yourself. We failed your commandments. We failed you. Looking forward to your empty tomb and the promise it holds for everyone you love.

I feel wrapped in your love and forgiveness. Thank you. Amen.

I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. Job 42:6

Recharge Yourself – Finding your energy source and plugging in

rechargeHow Do You Recharge?

Are you tired, worn out, lack energy or feel depressed? What is your energy source? When is the last time you plugged yourself in?

God invented wireless charging long before Nikola Tesla demonstrated it in 1891 or Meredith Perry made it a reality for our technology.

In 1921 Carl Gustav Jung gave us a greater understanding of how we were created to charge without wires. Some of us need an outside energy source while others have inner source.

If you haven’t guessed, I’m referring to the way we are wired with a wireless extrovert, introvert or ambivert energy source. Being an extrovert or an introvert has little to do with whether we like people. This trait is more about energy than relationship. Extroverts seek an outside energy source and introverts have an inward energy source.

We don’t choose our energy source.  We are born wired as an extrovert, introvert or ambivert.  It is futile and draining to try to change someone’s energy source, even our own.

Extroverts draw their energy from interactions with the people around them. The more time they spend with other people, the more energized they become. Extroverts can be shy. They are not always loud or talkative but extroverts gravitate toward social interaction. Extroverts lose energy while alone and can become depressed in the absence of others. Therefore it is important to encourage extroverts to socialize.

Introverts reenergize in the absence of other people. Introverts find interactions with other people draining regardless of how they feel about the other person. Time with a loved one is just as draining as the person sitting next to them on the bus. So it is really important for introverts to have a space of their own to reenergize especially if they spend most of their day with other people.

If an extrovert and an introvert are invited to a party, the extrovert may feel too exhausted to go to the party while the introvert may be full of energy and eager to go. At the party the extrovert gains energy while the introvert becomes drained with each social interaction.

Sleep is a necessary energy source but it isn’t the same type of energy we get from our personality source.  An introvert exhausted from exposure to too many people will not be ready for more interaction the moment they wake up. Nor will a people deprived extrovert wake up more energized and in less need of interaction.

How long does your battery last? An extreme extrovert’s battery runs down quickly in the absence of people so they need lots of daily contact with people. An extreme introvert can go days without human contact and is easily exhausted by human interaction.

Extroverts and introverts can become overwhelmed, overstimulated and exhausted. Introverts and extroverts can be people-oriented or task-driven. They are equally intelligent. Extroverts and introverts may put others needs before their own and be overly concerned about what others think. Both may be sensitive.

Recently, there has been much talk about ambiverts or people who draw their energy from people and time alone. Ambiverts are rare.

Jesus and God are ambiverts. Jesus spent lots of time alone in the wilderness to pray and lots of time with people. If Jesus was an introvert He probably wouldn’t have had twelve disciples. If Jesus was an extrovert He would have been exhausted after 1 much less 40 days in the wilderness.

Also we know that Jesus is with each one of us all the time and in all places. That is a lot of social interaction even when we don’t acknowledge His presence.

Name extroverted and introverted biblical characters. Who are you most like?

Our energy is also related to our pace, how quickly we reenergize. The rabbit and the turtle compete with one another at work, home or in the community. It is no secret that we work at different paces. Couples, parents, teachers and employers quickly notice someone’s pace but disagree on which pace is best.  Have you been told you are too slow or too fast?

The best pace depends on the project.

Each pace has a place in our unique puzzle. There are tasks that require speed and quick turns while others require accuracy and precision. And some require both. Fast paced individuals talk fast, move quickly and get a lot done in a short amount of time. Others have a much slower pace with life in general. They are more cautious and deliberate. Slower paced individuals may not get as much done but they may be more accurate and thorough. Both may have short attention spans and be impatient. It is futile and exhausting to try to change someone’s pace.

How long we hold a charge and how long we need to charge is also related to our pace?

What is your pace? Are you still tired and exhausted? Go recharge.

It’s not a sin, it’s a command.

“‘Love …As I have loved you,’” John 13:34

Lord of Grace, you love me. You understand me. You have given me your heart, your soul, your mind, your strength and your body. Please Lord help me to be kinder and gentler with myself. Help me love myself the way you love me. Forgive me for the way I’ve treated someone you love dearly – me.  Help me recharge. In Jesus’ name. Amen

 

Healthy Relationships 101: Learning to Love

Luke 10_27A relationship is stronger when God is part of it!

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Sunday, April 12, 2015, begins our 6-week study of God’s simple love formula for healthy relationships at home, work, church and everywhere else (Luke 10:27). We will explore biblical truths and advice about toxic relationships. We will look at how Jesus modeled loving His Father with all His heart and others as Himself.

Jesus showed us the importance of making time for each other, resolving conflict, forgiveness, helping one another, prayer, and building a strong spiritual foundation for all relationships.

Join me at Church or here Sunday April 12, 2015 –May 17, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.

 

Week 1: LOVE Defined

 

Week 2: God’s Perfect Love

 

Week 3: Loving Self

 

Week 4: Loving Others

 

Week 5: Toxic Relationships

 

Week 6: Loving Farewells

Lord, you know our hearts, our weaknesses, and the times we fall short of loving you, of loving others and of loving ourselves. We need you. Inspire us and bless this study.  Teach us to  Love you with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength and with all our mind’; and, help us Love everyone as you teach us to love ourselves.  Amen

Reformation Colors

Jesus –

Why did you rise from the dead so early in the morning? Couldn’t you have made your grand entrance around noon or later?

Are you really surprised to find half of the congregation asleep and the other half listening for an excuse to sleep in next Sunday?

It is hardly the party hour. The best parties start after the sun goes down, not when the sun comes up.

While the children may have lots of enthusiasm once they get there, getting them out of bed and into their party clothes is exhausting.  Not to mention how our bodies take a little longer to warm up as we get older.

So you’re probably not surprised that attendance goes down when the pastor is out-of-town. After all, who are we going to see ?

I’m just suggesting that when planning your return you take a later flight and make sure our pastor is in town.  Just a really good suggestion.

All about me,

My Church Lady Notes

Sunday ServiceReformation Sunday the pastor, my hubby, was away on a men’s retreat. I was teaching a parenting class during Sunday school and scheduled pre-marital counseling after church, so I never gave a thought to “alternate” plans.

I knew I was going to be busy so I spent more time deciding which shoes looked good, would be comfortable and gave me a leadership edge than about my husband not being in the pulpit.

I was looking forward to seeing and hearing the visiting pastor. I knew we were in for a treat. The last time I heard her preach I felt like she was talking directly to me and I liked how she was able to transform the liturgy into a conversation.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very blessed to be married to a spirit-filled pastor. I love hearing his sermons. I LOVE worshiping with him, especially as his assistant.  And…

It was Reformation Sunday.  As a Lutheran convert, I appreciate the annual confirmation that I’m saved by grace and other biblical truths. And while I’m inspired by the ways the Holy Spirit stirs up my husband, I am also moved by how our Lord shakes His word out in others.  Sometimes it takes another voice to nurture the message into action.

Often, just by inviting someone else to join a group turns a gathering into a party we are glad we didn’t miss. And this Sunday was no exception.

However, the day before should have been a warning that not everyone shared my enthusiasm. While hanging out with a few church friends, one reminded the other that the pastor wouldn’t be there.

I, being rarely able to hide my opinions gave a sharp disapproving look, to which my friend tried a weak save by saying we should still go, she was just making sure no one was surprised that he wasn’t there.  And in my low cat caught the canary, aren’t I funny but I’m not, voice I said thank you but I knew he wouldn’t be there. Ha ha.

I know church-cation codes. I let her squirm before releasing her from my old Catholic guilt and allowed my Lutheran reformation wash over us by saying, “We’re Lutheran, we don’t have to go to church. We’re saved by grace.  We get to go to church.”
Visiting PastorThere was a time I would have shouted “BS” to the last sentence.  Clearly it negates the others. What is the difference between we ‘get’ to or ‘have’ to, if we end up in the same place in the end? The answer is Reformation which I’ll get to in a minute because I wasn’t being Lutheran at the moment, just a churchy preacher’s wife. I’m sure I would have used stronger words before my conversion.

Sorry friend.

On Sunday was a steady stream of “is the pastor here”, “the pastor’s not here”, “where is the pastor”, “do we have to …”

I confirmed for each confirmation student that they have class, than I repeat myself for their parents, I confirm for my students that I am here to teach even though my hubby is not and finally I teach my class before heading to church.

In church more people than usual came up to me before service began.  It was amusing to see so many usually introverted people get up from their pews and head straight to me before returning to their seats. Each felt the need to actually tell me they were there when obviously I’m talking to them, so I know they are in church.  I said I wasn’t taking attendance. A few apologized for coming saying they didn’t know the pastor wouldn’t be there and I joked that I was just as surprised as they were.

And another told me attendance was light because the pastor was out-of-town.  This wasn’t the first time I attended church without the preacher and it wasn’t the first time I’d been told members take a vacation when the pastor was gone or when there was an important football game. I said the pastor would be disappointed attendance was down but probably would also be upset if he missed the best attended Sunday.

It seemed like most were surprised I came to church without the pastor because I’m usually worshiping at another church either with or without the preacher.  And even the pre-marital couple seemed surprised we were meeting when the pastor was out-of-town.

When I got home I told my daughter I missed her at church while I proceeded up the steps to change my clothes.  My daughter reminded me that her father wasn’t there.

I stopped, walked backwards down the hall, and looked her in the eye before stating very slowly, “We do not go to church to worship your father!”  (Or any pastor, praise team etc…)

Obviously I was much harder on my daughter than anyone else. I was also a hypocrite.

I haven’t attended church every Sunday of my life. When I was young, my family usually left church right after communion and never went to church on vacation.  Occasionally we slept in on Sundays.  I don’t know if it was because the priest was out-of-town but I appreciated the extra sleep. And I rarely went to church in college.

And I don’t know when that changed.  After I became Lutheran I attended church on a regular basis but still didn’t worship while on vacation.  I don’t recall if it was a Lutheran woman bible study, a sermon, hubby going to seminary, trying different services at Synod events or a combination. But I know that when I started attending church while on vacation my worship was less of a chore and more of a celebration.

At some point several reformation points merged together, took root and began to grow.  I’m saved by grace, not works (Ephesians 2:8-9).  I don’t have to go to church.

I’m called to worship with my brothers and sisters because it is good for us (Hebrews 10:24-25).  Church is a support group for sinners.  I’m a sinner.  I fall short (Romans 3:23).  I need a savior who has already come and paid the penalty for my sins. It is a delicate balance of Good Friday and Easter. Worship is a celebration of that freedom.  Every Sunday we celebrate with wine and feast an independence day from sin and death. We celebrate and look forward to reuniting with our departed saints.

So why miss the party?

Church isn’t any different than any other party.  Good parties have good food, good music and fun people. Exciting people do not attend out of obligation.

The fun leaves the party when the “I don’t want to be here but the host will be mad at me if I didn’t come” or the “I didn’t want to come but it would be boring without me or my 2 layer dip” sucks the life out of the group.

Imagine if on Sunday everyone was asked, “Are you ready to party?”  And this includes traditional service. Everyone who says yes is offered a bright party shirt, everyone who says they need to be nurtured is given a blue shirt, everyone who says they are here out of obligation is given a gray shirt and anyone who arrives claiming to be the guest of honor is sent to a box seat in the balcony with a tiara and boa. (Sorry Bishop if you get sent to the balcony.)What does your congregation look like?

We all have low energy days that we go to church out of obligation. If we don’t go who will greet people, pass out bulletins, seat people, read the lesson, serve communion, teach Sunday school, preach…

We also have days when it takes every ounce of energy to drag ourselves to church.  We are hurt, grieving and desperately need support.

Prayerfully we all have Spirit filled days when we are bursting at the seams to share our joy with Christ.  We know we are sinners.  We know we have been freed from our sins. We are thankful for our church family and look forward to seeing them.  We are eager to share the love poured out upon us. We know it is a party and we can’t wait to get there. We sing to church, dance while we are there and dance our way into the community to share the love of Christ. We want to invite our friends, family and the man on the corner to the best party ever.

At almost every party there are some who think they are the life and focus of the party. They think everyone came to see them and believe it wouldn’t be a party without them. When they arrive they state the service can begin and look for their place of honor.  But if they’re not Jesus, God or the Holy Spirit they need an adjustment.

This doesn’t mean we don’t offer our best and first fruits at the alter. We all should arrive with party hats and a grateful heart for our gifts and special talents.  Our focus, the guest of honor – God.

Long ago I realized that worship days I couldn’t put on my party shirt or a blue shirt for comfort are days I need to  celebrate anonymously somewhere else. I need a retreat; a boost.

It is also important to give before I go so the party is still there when I get back.

Imagine if instead of ministry fairs, everyone wore their shirts to church.  Brightly colored spirit filled members praying with and nurturing our blue shirted friends, stepping up to replace burnt out Sunday school teachers, ushers and council members. Imagine if your pastor arrives in a gray shirt and someone in a bright shirt steps up to lead worship.Church Obligations Seaching for Grace

Imagine a brightly colored congregation ready to party.celebrate

To those who missed service, I hope you got some rest.  You missed agreat sermon and awesome praise music – after all it was Reformation Sunday.

To everyone who worshiped elsewhere, please share.

Friendly Friday Proclamation

Whereas, my friend and blog follower told me she likes my posts but said quite frankly my recent Domestic Violence (DV) posts are depressing.

Whereas, my DV posts are written for victims and survivors as on on-line support group to say ‘we’re not alone.’

Whereas, if they were overly upbeat and optimistic, I’d need my head examined.

Whereas, I don’t want my readers to feel they need to take antidepressants before reading my posts.

Whereas, I love my friend and believe her opinion may be echoed by other readers.

Therefore, I planned to write a rainbow, unicorn, happy face love fest today for my friend.

Whereas, a daily post inspired me to make it a Friendly Friday feature.

Therefore, on the tenth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, I issue this proclamation to my beloved friend and readers.

Therefore, while I had a few darker posts planned for a Friday or two during Domestic Violence Awareness month, I declare that I will publish them another day or night of the week.

Therefore, I promise to only publish warm, positive, upbeat posts on Fridays with one exception – Good Friday.

Therefore, I promise to all my fellow victims and survivors that I will never post a “I’m so glad I was raped” or “How rape is part of God’s plan” post. Not happening.

Now therefore, by the power invested in me by WordPress as a blogger, I, Karen P. Simpson, call on my readers to help me with this endeavor by providing me inspirational pictures or stories of Christ in action.
Prayer

Karen P. Simpson
Sisters of Christ