NYC Missions

I wanted to share another experience from our first trip, a few years ago..  Ás I’ve talked about before, 4 students and 6 chaperones (overkill, I know) took 2 vehicles to NYC and stayed at a church in Brooklyn.   On street parking, which we were lucky enough to find 2 spots in front of our home church the night we arrived.  Because of street cleaning, however, the cars had to be moved every 2 days…. along with cars from everyone else in the neighborhood… which, as you might imagine, is no small task.   The gentlemen who came with us on the trip were kind enough to wake up early on the day they were to be moved.  I underestimated exactly what that meant, and I believe they did as well!  After two hours of looking for a place to park, they finally found a gated lot they could park for $25.00 per day and parked both vehicles.  After conferring with our leader, we decided to leave the cars there for the rest of the week – not having the aggravation of moving the cars was worth $25.00 per day.

An example of a really good decision made on the fly while serving the under-served in New York City.

We went about our missions projects (which I promise to write about) and got up Saturday morning to come home.   I was in our dorm room vacuuming the floor (and cheerfully humming a happy tune) when the other lady chaperones came to me with concerned looks on their faces.  I shut the vacuum off to see what was wrong.  I thought perhaps someone had gotten hurt.   The guys had just gone to get the cars from the lot, only to find the lot is closed on the weekends!

Hilarious.   I break into hysterical laughter for a few seconds before I realized the look on their faces dictated I should not have been laughing.   They were genuinely concerned!   I had to work really hard to keep a straight face – I’m not sure if it’s because I have a good 15 years on them and have experienced travel delays and other times when things don’t go as planned or if I was simply happy enough to spend more time in New York City, I just didn’t share their concern.  I knew enough about people, though, to empathize with their stress.

Fairly quickly, we began to put together “plan b” for getting the people home who absolutely had to be home to be at work on Monday morning.   I quickly volunteered to stay and wait for the garage to open.   HAHA   YAY! another weekend in NYC!  I loved it!

Turns out that one of our gentlemen is not only friendly, but resourceful and managed to find a phone number to call the owner of the garage, who, for a fee, was more than willing to come and let the cars out.   This escapade delayed our return trip just a few hours – and, amazingly enough, afforded us the opportunity to work in the kitchen of the church where we had stayed, and service their community breakfast.  Turns out that they had 9 volunteers call-off that morning, and there were 10 of us!

God, in His infinite wisdom, allowed our “misfortune” to be turned to blessing.  Ah, He does that so often!

My hope is that everyone learn to live life seeing the miracles of God unfold before their eyes! God is truly amazing, even in the midst of what seems like a crisis….   I’d call it a Chrisis!

Blessings to you,

1SB

 

 

 

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Yes, Lord, I’m willing…

All I can say is, “Hold on!”

When God asks if you’re willing to share your story, and you say, “yes, of course, Lord, but what story? I don’t really have a story.”   be prepared.  He’s about to give you a story that is so completely unbelievable that it can ONLY be written by Him – the author and creator of the entire universe.

I am so truly humbled to be His, and experience the unfathomable grace He’s giving to me right now.

To be quite honest, I’m not even sure I have the words to articulate the story appropriately right now, but I am confident that, in time, He will give me the words to say.

Yes, Lord, 1000 times YES.  I am willing to share all that You have done and are doing for me – for YOUR glory. I am trusting you with every single step I make.

Your goodness endures forever.

Blessings, SB

Keep me focused

Lord, today is Your day. Keep me focused on you and your holiness. Help me to take every thought captive and hear only your voice guiding me.

Your blessings are so far beyond what I could have ever imagined. Your mercy I can’t comprehend.

Before You, I lay my plans, my opportunities, my failures, my relationships, my worry, my joy. Guide each step. Give me a sign that I am following where You want me to go.

Yours is glory forever and ever. Help me to glorify you in all I do.

Humbly before you today,

SB

Every Thing

When our perspective on every thing that we own is that, in fact, it belongs to God, would the way in which we treat it be different?  everything.   every thing.     our bank account, our salary, our gifts and talents, our homes, our cars,  our debts, our children… everything.

For much of my life, I never gave this much thought.  A few years ago, in deep contemplation after working hard to get my family’s finances in order, I had a change of perspective – and began viewing EVERY THING I have as belonging to God, and I’m simply the steward of what He’s allowed me to have.  It was both freeing and humbling to look at my possessions differently – I began to look at things in terms of how they could be used to further His kingdom.

I’m not sure if it’s our humanness or our culture that challenges this, but I’d daresay it’s probably not a “typical” viewpoint, if there is such a thing.  In fact, I have to continually remind myself to keep this perspective, else I drift back to default, which is to think of things as “mine”.  Hearing our lesson on the talents last night reminded me that I’ve drifted from center and need to re-ignite my realization that ALL I have is HIS.

As I stand before an open door to an opportunity that I’ve prayed about for years, watching it fall into place in such a way that there is absolutely no way to mistake that God is orchestrating it, I am reminded of the verse:

Luke 12:48 “To whom much is given, much is expected.”

Luke 16:9: “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings

I am being blessed beyond measure that I might bless others beyond measure, giving God the power and glory forever and ever.

I am confident that God, who has called me to this purpose, will both provide and equip me to do His will.    He makes all things beautiful in His time.

Blessings,

SB

 

 

 

To whom much is given

Last night at youth group, we studied the parable of the talents

Mathew 25:14-30

I never realized before what a talent is worth Collectively, the 8 talents the master entrusted to his three servants was worth about $3.2 million.

In this passage, we noted that the master gave to his servant according to their gifts and talents, and noted that the servant was pleased with the servants who took their talents and used them to make more.

The use of the word TALENT is interesting to me, as I sit in a place where I believe God has called me to develop the musical and artistic talents God has given.

God has opened and closed doors for me in such a way I can hardly describe, although when the time is right, I will because I’ve promised God that I’m willing to share the story He’s given me.

“To whom much is given, much is required”

Much has been given. I seek to honor God with all I’ve been given. Still pinching myself to see if it’s really real.

Blessings to you all!

SB

If your dream doesn’t scare you….

Last year, I was introduced to author, Mark Batterson, who I’ve found to be one of the most inspiring leaders I’ve ever looked up to. He pastors a church in Washington DC that worships in movie theaters.

One of the things I’ve heard him say over and over again is that if our dream doesn’t scare us it isn’t big enough…. and that the bigger the dream, the bigger the opportunity God has to work miracles.

I felt I was close to the dream a year ago. Looking back over the past year, seeing the incredible situations unfold as they have, I could never in my wildest imagination have dreamed how God would use people and situations to bring about healing and reconciliation to enable other miracles unfold.

I am so completely in awe of the vastness of His love for you and me. I am forever and deeply in love with the God of the Universe and will forever be willing to go where He asks me to go.

He is faithful. He is faithful to me even when I am not faithful to Him.

God is up to something… and I’m so very excited to be a part of it.

Humbly, His servant,

SB

Examining my ways…

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.

Lamentations 3:40

Last fall, I met a man who is working on publishing a book about his journey to recovery from alcohol. He shared with me how God deliberately reached down to pick him up out of the gutter. He knows it and wants to share his story with others.

Since we met, he texts scripture verses to me every couple of mornings. It never ceases to amaze me how well the verses line up with my life. Funny how God works.

Today’s scripture is above. Examine our ways and return to the Lord.

I pray, in the quietness of my home, for wisdom as I contemplate grand decisions. I believe I am testing them, both by my knowledge and His spirit. I have consulted experts in the fields where I need input, and bounced my ideas off of trusted friends and prayer warriors, those with discernment.

I am with the Lord, He is with me, and I give all that I am to Him. I’m all in. .. and for the first time in my life, can see there’s someone else who’s all in with me, who believes in my dream.. It’s been amazing to watch it unfold. I’m not sure where it’s headed, but I’m here to say I’m willing to go wherever God has called me.

Lord, I want to honor You with all that I am. I ask you, with sincere humility, to intervene on my behalf and close doors that weren’t opened by You, and open doors that You want me to walk through. Give me the courage to walk boldly where You put me, sharing my story with those who need to know You. Help me to test my ways; I’m laying out my fleece and asking you to validate my ways. Shape them as You see fit. I am Yours.

Your humble servant,

SB