No Limits

Do you have a shared data plan for the phones in your family? Do you ever go over the limit? Does each person get their fair share or do some people use an excess while others go without?

We have bumped right up against our limit the past two months. This month we have disabled the data on all our phones with over a week to go before our new allotment kicks in. We are going thru withdrawals together because someone didn’t consider the amount of data they were using and that they weren’t the only ones using it. They didn’t overspend their data maliciously, but they failed to consider just how much their fun was going to cost them and others if they spent too fast.

I started thinking about God’s love and wonder how many people think His love is like a limited family data plan. If I don’t use it, someone else will. I better grab all I can before it runs out. Or maybe there are those who don’t take what is rightfully theirs because they don’t want someone around them with a “greater” need to miss out.

Wait! What?

Are we talking about the God who loved the world so much that He sent His son to die for us? Are we talking about the God whose thoughts of us outnumber the sand? Are we talking about the God who knows how many hairs we have on our heads? All of our heads? Surely THAT God has an unlimited supply of love for each of us to grab hold of each and every moment of each and every day. Surely that God has enough for you AND me and the rest of the peeps in this world He loves too!

Here’s to unlimited LOVE!!! Go get ya some!!!

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Communities, Gangs and Orphanages

This morning I opened Facebook to see what was going on in the world…because that is the best source for what is going on in the world, right? I always check the notifications associated with that little red number first. You know, the number that begs you to check Facebook every 5 minutes because that number MUST contain something very important that just can’t wait!

This morning it DID contain something very important. It contained a notification that I had been tagged in a post by my friend Karen De Armond Gardner who had written this post on her blog. Really, take a couple of minutes to read it. God is an incredible weaver of stories and you might just find that He has something for you in this post, or some of her other ones…you don’t have to stop with just one!

So what was so important in this post for me? Besides the fact that I was there when Karen first received the word that jump starts the post? Besides the fact that I got a chance to hear, “the rest of the story”?

I’ve pondered connection and community a lot the past few days. I’ve actually been pondering those things for a good while on one level or another. Do you think you can have one without the other? Can you be connected without community? Can you have a community and not be connected? I’m not so sure you can be connected without a community. You really do need at least one other person besides yourself. But, can you be in community without connection? Can you be a part of something and not be connected to it? Can you be a part of a community and find yourself alone? (And all of a sudden I have more than I can fit neatly into a single post)

The following is the paragraph in Karen’s post that set my mind to pondering this morning:

My sense of not belonging rooted in an orphan spirit. We all want to belong, to know we bring value. The gang community grows as more fathers abdicate their role and mothers take on the burden as providers. Leaving the young to fend for themselves and search for a place to belong.

Gangs…we’ve all heard that people are drawn to gangs because they are looking for a place to belong. They endure harsh initiation rituals in order to belong. They do evil things to others in order to prove their right to be a part of a “family”. They accept the often unacceptable in exchange for connection. But, without a father, they are still orphans.

What about you? What about me? Are you part of a gang or a family? Are you connected to a community or just occupying space in it? Is your community connected to the Father or are you all just a bunch of orphans trying to get by the best you can? Have we settled for an orphanage when God is calling us into His family? Are our rituals based on Kingdom principles or are we living out a gang mentality and calling it something else?

I’ll let you ponder that a while…I’m going to go take the dog on a walk and get some fresh air.

 

 

Boxed, Framed or Remembered…Its Your Story

Do you take lots of pictures of your family and friends? Do you rely on snapshots or spend the money on something more professional to mark the progression of your family thru the years? If you rely on snapshots, do you use the camera on your phone or a real camera made for taking quality pics? What do you do with those pictures? Do you choose your favorite to stick in frames and hang or display prominently around your house? Do you have a few on your refrigerator? Do you put the rest in albums or boxes or leave them hidden in your phone or computer? Are your precious and not so precious moments tucked safely away or on display for the world to see? What would happen if your computer crashed or your house burned down or you lost your phone? What would happen if iCloud evaporated?

What would happen if you laid all your photos out side by side? Would they tell the story of your life? Would someone who doesn’t know you be able to look at your pictures and really know you? Do the pictures in the frames tell the whole story?

A picture is worth a thousand words. Which pictures of yours are worth a thousand words? Are those the pictures you choose to frame, the ones in your boxes or the ones hanging out in your phone? Or are they the ones you didn’t take? Are the thousand word pictures the ones locked away in your mind or heart because the moment was too precious to interrupt with a camera or share with the world in a frame?

What about the big picture? The one that doesn’t fit in a frame? The one that is ever-expanding. The story of your life? The picture that tells more than a thousand words…sometimes in just one day? Do you have that picture on display for the world to see or do you have it tucked away somewhere? Do you value and protect that picture? Would you frame it the way it is or give it room to grow and expand?

I am thankful for the people in my life who live out loud. I am thankful for the people who share the stories of their lives and not just the pretty, smiley faced ones. (Wait, all my friends are pretty smiley, faced peeps, I’m talking about their stories!) I am thankful for the people in my life who are in the process of growing and expanding and busting out of the frames and boxes of their past and sharing those moments with me and others so that we can grow and expand.

Who have you invited into your story lately? Maybe there is someone who needs to see what is in those boxes that you are afraid to share? Maybe they have a picture you need to see? Maybe you will discover that your lives are part of a bigger picture that you are both a part of?

Or maybe you need to let God have a look inside those boxes with you and talk about some of the pictures that you’ve tucked away?