Wednesday, August 27, 2008

You are good, all the time, all the time, You are good!

I was going through some old sermon notes today, trying to organize what I was going to keep and how I was going to keep it. When you are under an amazing teacher who showers you with truth it is impossible to keep every single note you wildly scratch, but I don’t dare want it to be a seed (a Word) I only heard and did not sow. I ran across this sentence and I most certainly felt led to share this with you. This truth might possibly be just what is or has been holding you back from total surrender to one amazing God.

What comes to your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you because it determines EVERYTHING!

This is actually a topic that the Lord has been drilling into my head over the past year or so and I wanted to throw it out there to you guys to maybe get you to think if this could be an area of hang up for you. Let’s first look at some ways we can think of God that will impact us in a negative way:

1. Unconcerned
2. Uninvolved
3. Dominant
4. Bossy
5. Wishy Washy
6. All smiles and love

This list could be a mile long, but let’s look at the opposites of just these and see what kind of impact they could have

1. Totally Concerned- Thus we take everything to Him because we are positive He cares
2. Totally Involved- Thus believing that if we ask He will most certainly be doing something about it, well even if we don’t ask (because although we are commanded to ask, if everything were left to us asking we’d certainly be in trouble too), we know He is working because He is God.
3. Our Authority- Not dominant as in mean, but our security could lie in the fact that He has the last call.
4. Loving Guidance- Not bossy, always having our best and other’s best interest at heart, but He does have a will He wants carried out.
5. His Yes means Yes and His No means NO- If God says it in His word or in personal revelation then it is a done deal, no need to wonder, remind, fret, touch base, done deal.
6. Finally, what if we had the right kind of reverential fear, again like a loving parent who we knew loved us, but we also knew that no meant no, and that they would pop our behinds if we refused to listen. We would certainly jump at obedience a little faster, don’t you think.

The things that God has been drilling into my head lately derive from many smaller pieces yet all fall into one all encompassing word. My smaller pieces are His Word is total truth, so ANYTHING it says is what God is so I must know the Word to know God. Secondly, He loves us but He means business. If He says go, I say yes Sir. If He says no, I say yes Sir. If He prompts, I am to listen and if I choose to spend time away from Him and His presence, I am the one to pay. And finally, the all encompassing truth that has changed the way I immediately think of God thus changing the way I immediately respond to Him is simply that He is good, all the time. Literally, all the time. Even when life makes no sense, when tragedies happen, when my favorite candidate doesn’t make it to the election or when I don’t like the way my husband is acting that day, God is good, all the time. His Word says that He sets all authority and that He permits any and everything that happens to His children, even if He didn’t will it (because He never wills sin), He must permit it. I sometimes don’t think we realize just how heart broken God is with some of the things He has to permit in order to bring His name the most glory, in order that we will fall flat on our face in repentance, in order for others to see Christ in our lives.

Now that Cross is crawling, I have got to allow a few bumps and bruises along the way. Sure I would love to pad everything down, but that isn’t how this world works. We have to fall a lot to learn how to avoid certain turns and twists, in order to get our feet up on the ground and the whole way I think we forget that our Good God is watching, wishing that that apple still hung on the tree.

Guys, above all else, God is good. I once heard an amazing testimony about a nation being impacted for Christ where previously missionaries were literally forbidden to go. That door opened all because of a tsunami where literally thousands were killed, but we could sometimes choose the alternative which could have been millions in hell. From that day forward, I think I got the hint that I don’t have a CLUE what God is up to and I just need to trust that He is good. I have felt sorry for others and myself for having financial struggles while following whole heartedly after the Lord, but if you asked me today what the greatest part of this last year has been, I would say being stripped of all my STUFF. I have since been disgusted with my need for perfect paint and spot free carpet. God has used this so called “injustice” to open my spiritual eyes to a focus that was so far from eternity that I am certain it made Him sick!

I pray that this rambling at least makes you ask yourself some questions. What do you think of initially when you think of God? And how does that mindset either spur you along or get you into a world of hurt? Above all else our hearts are deceitful so please, please seek the Word for your answer here. Feelings do guide us but they are not necessarily (or better yet rarely) truth. Search this one out my friend and believe that He is good, all the time! Stop questioning the creator of the universe for every nail you break (or see your friend break) and start believing that He is good, even if it doesn’t feel good to you!

Searching out core truths,

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Perfect Day...........

This morning started as anything but perfect, just an average day I would say, nothing horrible, but certainly nothing extraordinary. Jeremy has been working a lot lately in preparation for the fall kick off and as he left the house (again) this morning I loving frowned and asked, “When are you going to be home?” You see, this stay at home mom with more words per day than even the average Chatty Cathy was sad to face another day in predictableville. I found myself folding laundry, day dreaming about my upcoming fall travels, doing something I would so strongly warn against, looking towards tomorrow instead of enjoying today. I did manage to be somewhat of a godly wife and not nag my husband to death. Entertaining me is certainly not his #1 calling, especially after me passing along the Christ Centered Relationship pod casts to the whole reading audience. I need to at least attempt to practice what I preach. After Jeremy left, Cross began to have an honestly uncharacteristic melt down and I thought great, welcome to the weekend. The good news is, I just so happen to serve a good God. One that wants to rock my world yet is lovingly testing my heart on the front end.

Now, several hours later, I have enjoyed a wonderful walk with a friend, had a great conversation with an old neighbor and have now sat down to watch a brand new Bible Study, and then, just as icing on the cake, in the midst of the silent house due to the ever so blessed nap, it began to rain! The window unit air conditioner that Princess Kelly complains about every single day does have one not so modern day feature that is honestly priceless, it is tin. Similar to a rainy day with a tin roof and as I propped my feet up on some pillows and grabbed a blanket I decided I would just go all out and make myself an iced coffee to as closely immolate Heaven on Earth as humanly possible. There is nothing I love more than breaking the seal of a new Bible Study, knowing that I am about to embark on a hand picked, personal adventure with the God of the Universe. Discerning the Voice of God by Pricilla Shirer is my new adventure so I promise to share what I hear. (P.S. I just watched the first video and you MUST, MUST do this study, everyone!)

I just wonder how many of you out there are in need of the perfect day as well? One without the thrills of travel or friends or even family as great as they may be. I wonder if you, like me, just need a day with the Savior of the Universe. The funny part for me is that I didn’t even know that was what I needed. He, unlike husbands and stuff, never tells you to “hold on” and He never leaves you feeling empty in the long run like the thrills this world claims to offer. No, He rocks our worlds with His presence, never ever leaving us hanging.

His Word is our red carpet to this dazzling event. I have been studying like crazy lately and if I could go back, I would only study more. He is still in the life changing and sometimes even better, the day changing business. His Word can be purchased at hundreds of convenient locations. He has sent forth Bible teachers to give us tools that will both practically and educationally keep us on track. Maybe you need to break the seal of a new Word and dive in with full vigor.

I recently closed Stepping UP by Beth Moore and at the end she asked that we pray a blessing over our small group. You all know that in addition to those amazing gals, I was also certainly thinking of you. So to all my favorite friends, here is my blessing to you. Whatever study you did last can certainly apply and if you have never cracked the pages of a B-I-B-L-E (that was me just 5 ½ years ago) well then by all means, jump in while the water is warm, or is it wet??? There are perfect days to be had while we pilgrimage through planet Earth.

May this study have been a mere spoonful of the thousands of gallons you will drench yourself in over the years to come. He (Jesus) is living water and His Word is our well!

Loving you dearly,

Oh, and just to keep you coming back (like M&M’s on the corner of my desk) here are the newest of the cutest. The cell phone captured preciousness! Please forgive the quality. They turned out much better last time. Our camera is on the blink so this is all I have for now! :(

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Developmental Difficulty

Hello everyone, the Lord has granted me the okay to post. Who knows the correlation for sure, but I felt the Lord saying that when Cross began crawling, I could post. I wasn’t sure if it was the simple need to video our cutie in order for grandparents, aunts, and cousins to not miss a beat, but I am thinking it is a word picture He is using as well to encourage me, and hopefully you. I was a little worried because thus far Cross hasn’t been ahead of the game as far as the infant milestones go, so I was thinking it may be a month before I could be free to join you again. However, much to Mommy’s surprise, with the coaxing of a shiny red cell phone a few feet away, yesterday Cross went hauling across the room like a track star. He has always wanted to get his hands on a yummy cell phone and he thought his chance had finally come. He now probably wonders why that darn cell phone won’t stay put. I pray that you guys have all listened to the pod casts by Francis Chan. I have been so convicted lately about how self serving and self centered we have made our Christian faith. Last night I listened to the Christ Centered Relationships Part 2 and Francis made mention of how we have socialized Christianity to the point that we really have no clue what it even means to look like Christ. This morning as proud mom and dad were marveling at our baby boy’s new found skill, I told Jeremy that one of the most amazing things to me is that we come into this world literally not knowing how to do anything. Sucking and breathing (and a few unmentionables) are our only birthed skills and EVERYTHING else has to be added on and learned. I never realized how many things these little guys had to learn: holding up your head, sitting, rolling, picking up something, moving things from one hand to another, the list could go on and on and this morning in my amazement, I felt the Lord saying, “This is exactly how you follow Me, one developmental skill at a time!” His grace is so good. I felt His hug this morning, saying, “You have missed some things, but you are still learning.” Still learning is an understatement for sure, after Cross reaches the pinnacle of infanthood and turns into a literal toddler, his journey has only begun, eventually everything from going to the big boy potty to algebra is in his future with a million more in between. I want to encourage you guys today that wherever you are in your spiritual development that you (nor I) won’t dare feel defeated. How dumb would it be if Cross threw in the towel because he just couldn’t seem to master the sitting up skill. That sounds crazy to us, but I am sure God has seen millions of His children do that same thing because they weren’t easily mastering some of the things He has asked of them in His Word. For me today, my new skill is to both live and teach a relationship with the Savior that rocks our bones to the core, yet never, ever, ends with us. I feel like I have so desired to see people live an abundant life that I have missed one of the top requirement for that to take place and that is to die to self and to reach out to others to the point that it is so much more than a monthly service project, but that it is a way of life. I am not going to throw in the towel and neither are you. Have you been a crappy wife or a crappy mom, have your quiet times been off the “to do” list for so long that you have forgotten the concept all together? Do you spend every waking hour thinking about nothing more than yourself? Thank goodness that although technically we do have a million things to develop in our spiritual lives, everything from ridding our lives of ungodly anger to holding our tongues and opening up our ever so worshipped check books, we can start with a few truths that will encompass every thing that makes our Savior smile. Check out Matt 22:34-39 and lets get back on our knees and start crawling, it probably is the greatest position to begin this sometimes overwhelming task. Anything with such eternal significance is certainly going to take some work. I do love you guys to death and I do want nothing short of an abundant life for you and for your family, but I have been so guilty of encouraging you to focus solely on yourself. Nothing will increase our insignificance more than to stare at ourselves 24/7. Repentance on your face by nature requires getting back up and trying again! So………..ready, set, go and keep me posted and don’t dare give up!

Trying to REALLY look like Christ,

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Heart check for us all............

My desire is to have one goal in life, to reach others with the life changing, eternity securing message of Jesus Christ. Any discipleship that the Lord has allowed me to serve you through this blog is only to make your life more victorious and inviting enough so that you can go out and win others to Christ. I must confess that so often I desire for you to have an awesome life that I lose focus on an "others centered" a/k/a Christ centered calling that the Bible mandates. I have been challenged this week by the Holy Spirit to stop encouraging you to follow Jesus for your own good, rather so that you can rush to win people to Christ. I am going to walk away from this blog for while for you and for me. I need to have a heart check and stop loving you all by desiring you to have an "awesome" life with no trials, dysfunction, sadness, bitterness, brokenness, and the blessing of financial security. NO, my desire for you really needs to be one thing, to stop buying into a meaningless life of comfort and to quickly win others to Christ because the days really are numbered. I am attaching another Pod Cast and any day that a thought crosses your mind to "check the Bullocks blog", my prayer is that you will ask yourself have I even finished the last assignment. Start here and then infiltrate yourself with anything this guy says because he gets it and then let's all put our faces on the ground and cry out in repentance for making life all about us and ask God what He would have us change.
Get a Sermon
Christ Centered Relationships Part 1

Thinking Differently,

**I feel I need to add this, I try to write every single blog as God leads, even the fun ones, but this is by far the most Spirit led one I have posted. I was writing furiously on a scratch paper in church on Sunday so if you have ever wanted a word from the Lord, here it is and please don't shoot the messenger!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Yes, I’d like to make an appointment please…………

So life is back to normal. The summer trips have come to a close and for 6 amazing weeks we will be home living a “normal life”. This is an odd season for the Bullocks. I will have traveled more this year than I have my entire life combined. It is a result of not living near family and a new season of me not having to take off work which has made life full of amazing adventures that have kept excitement on the horizon. It has also made the time at home all the more sweet. Today as I did “normal life” I had a dentist appointment that seemed much more mundane than preparing for trips and calculating Cross’ on the go menu, but I was thinking of you guys just the same. Everything I experience now is a potential blog. Honestly, I feel connected with so many of you because I really do believe we have the privilege of sharing life together. Well, the dentist blog has to be proceeded with something the Lord has been revealing to me lately. Back when I first started walking with the Lord “on fire” was an understatement. I was on an endless pursuit to rid myself of even the tiniest molecule of sin. I prayed constantly for the Lord to reveal any and all details of sin in my life from the largest to the most hidden and I was determined to have it all surrendered to the Cross. Today however, the ever dreaded church lady has appeared and I currently (even if it is subconsciously) try to avoid the topic all together. I would honestly rather focus on others sins than my own. I justify that because the “big ones” are gone that the others are just a part of life. It is so much easier to stop getting drunk than it is to rid my soul of pride and fill my heart with love. With this reality check recently swirling in my head, I went to really one of my favorite reoccurring appointments, the dentist. I grew up in a home that looked at the dentist as not only a glorious event but also a glorious privilege. I have a ritual of calling my mom to give her a report even to this day and we always rejoice at the perfect clean feeling that the plaque free, pearly whites experience after the grueling cleaning is complete. As I sat in the chair today through the initial observation, the tedious scraping, the water, then the polishing followed by more scraping and then the grand finale, the floss, I was in awe at the tenacious pursuit of the hygienist for even the tiniest speck of plaque. She adjusted the light just perfectly; she rinsed and sprayed with air to assure that no plaque was disguising itself as the real thing. She went back with the mirror over and over and she patiently polished every tooth from every angel. Wow, I couldn’t stop thinking how much we would look like Christ if we had this same endless pursuit of sin. The ugly plaque that builds up on our hearts, souls, and actions that often does hide itself as the real thing. I was reading today about how sin is above all deceptive and the reality of satan’s desire to keep sin a secret even from the partaker was as eye opening as any truth I have heard lately. When I think of deception I think of something being done behind my back and how scary that our very own personal sin is often the most hidden thing from our reality. So with that truth, why don’t I have that same pursuit for wisdom and discernment about my own ugly sin and attack it with the scraper, the polisher and the floss to make sure not even a speck is left behind. Why didn’t that childlike acceptance that I was a fallen man full of sin stick through the years? Where did this unattractive church lady come from who just longs to have it all together? My amazing mentor here always encourages me when I confess these hidden, ungodly thoughts, she throws her hands in the air and says “awesome, so you still need the Cross”. You bet she is 110% right. Even after a few years of trying to have it all together I still need the Cross, daily, hourly and often minutely (is that even a word?). Jeremy also reminded me how gracious our Heavenly Father is to pursue our hearts and souls with even more vigor that the hygienist pursues the perfection of our teeth. Our Savior searches and knows every crevice that needs to be cleaned, He desires for no stone to be unturned in regards to our character. He, like the insistent hygienists couldn’t bear to have even a tiny speck left behind. Sometimes life can seem so hard, so painful but how much would our perspective change if we saw all this as our Father doing the tedious work on something more valuable than our temporary comfort. I had some bleeding today, some tender gums and honestly that is because I hadn’t done all the daily upkeep that I should have. SO, here goes, that old faithful prayer that got lost with the childlike faith that was just natural with my then astounding awe of a gracious God being madly in love with a fallen sinner. “Jesus, show me it all, show me where even the tiniest speck of sin is hidden and help me to be brave and scrape it, polish it, and floss it right out of my being. Do what you need to do to make me more like you, to reveal this evil deception and make me truly in your image, that really is my heart’s desire.” I think honestly I have been scared to pray this prayer. Scared of how ugly the unturned soil really had become. I haven’t had a good cleaning in some time now and deep down (even if in my subconscious) I know I have been avoiding the appointment. Do you need to grip your chair and say this same prayer to your Heavenly Heart Cleaner? I am reminding myself now that His mercies are new every morning and that the longer I wait the more it will hurt. We avoid God because we assume He will act how we could if our children were equally out of whack. Fortunately, even at the moment He gave us the law through Moses, He followed with these words, (Ex 34:6) “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness”.

Thank goodness…..

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I saw Jesus.......

Ok readers, I have been dying to write you all week. I was unplugged which was really a blessing because my focus remained pure not counting the fact that I had plenty to look after, but I desperately wanted you guys to share what I was experiencing. As I begin this blog I am forcing myself to only tell you the major highlights because I could literally type for hours and although you guys have hung with me through some rather long posts, this could potentially put you over the edge so here goes. Do know ahead of time our main prayer was 110% answered; we didn’t come back the same by any stretch of the imagination. I think the coolest part was the fact that we aren’t the same because of some spiritual high we had at “camp” but rather the fact that we came face to face with the Savior of our Universe and He did emergency surgery on all of our souls that can never, ever be reversed! I love you all and I am perfectly humbled by all of your prayers that were beyond answered by our Savior with an ever so incredible YES!!!!!!!!!

I saw Jesus………..

This week I experienced Jesus like I have never before experienced Him and here are just a few of the ways….(I just realized these were all from the last night, I think He did save the best for last!)

1. A teen boy who was so handsome and well dressed had snuck to the back of the arena. (My assumption was to get away from his friends to truly worship, sometimes even our Christian friends can be a huge distraction.) I watched that boy sing to his Savior for hours. Sometimes his hand reached up so high in the air that he was on his tip toes to reach higher. Other times he was flat on his face in reverence and awe of the One he loved. Still other times he literally danced all over the back as he shouted for joy! There were 3,000 kids there worshipping, but this guy I do believe made God (and certainly me) smile the most.

2. I watched as our teens each individually had convictions, had encounters, and had face to face realities with something they had mostly only “heard” about all of their lives. I am certain they will never be the same. One of the girls ran over and threw her arms around me at the end of the night and said, “thank you so much for bringing us here”. Do you know how many times satan told me this was so too much trouble for a camp. SHUT UP SATAN!!!!!!!!!!

3. I listened as the speakers brought the most amazing messages I do believe I have ever heard and fashioned them in a way that these students could totally relate. My favorite (and everyone else’s) was one where Francis Chan came on stage and said that he didn’t know what he was going to speak on until the Spirit had just revealed it to him. Then he brought THE MOST AMAZING message ever on Matthew 25 and stopped at the very end and asked us to hold on as he walked to the back of the stage and prayed about how to close it and then he brought THE MOST AMAZING landing that I have ever heard. Those 5 minutes were one’s that challenged us all to think totally different. I just saw so much fruit from the Holy Spirit.

4. Finally, and I have no idea how I can write this to the point that you will get the full mental picture but I am determined to try. I had enjoyed the experience of worshiping in the back almost the entire time because of Cross which was a huge blessing and freedom. At the very end a sweet student of ours had volunteered to hold Cross to allow me to go up and worship with Jeremy. They had been sitting so close that I felt like I could almost touch the stage, especially after being so far back. There came a part of this one song when they blacked out the stage except for this one light that made a shadow and the music stopped except for one guitar and the audience kept singing but it was still a VERY intense moment in the song, like the climax of the song and I watched the drummer shoooooot up out of his seat like a rocket and throw his hands up in the air to praise his Savior. It was like he had been contained for hours by his “call” and he couldn’t take it any more, he had to worship his King! That picture will be forever imprinted into my mind as pure worship………….

So, we are home, it is noon and Cross literally JUST woke up. He was the greatest trooper of all but I am certain he may need to sleep nonstop for the next few days. At one point I noticed my ears were ringing and I thought, oh no, I hope Cross’ ears are okay and then I decided if that was the last noise he heard he may just be better for it. My final wow moment (and then I promise to close) was when God did something just for me. I am sure others felt the same but I knew it was as personal of a gift as any one romantic Being could orchestrate. It only compared to one other time in my life as a huge gift just for little ol’ me. It was the last night and they had just done like an hour of worship before the speaker came on and the band was walking off and I know we were all begging for more in our Spirits but I sat ready to soak in some teaching. At that second I heard a few strokes of the keys to a song I had just recently fallen in love with and I knew that God was saying not that He had read my mind, but that He had written my mind. They played my absolute favorite worship song and they played it loud, full of power and thankfully even a few repeat choruses that were icing on my overflowing cake. I felt like we were all flip top heads that had opened up and been filled to the point that we would over flow for years to come by that Spirit filling power. It was the furthest thing from “church” and was it ever so beautiful!!!!!!!!!!! So this is the new me………..only by His ginormous grace because stuff like this just could never happen in my power, I have had irreversible heart surgery and can never go back. I only thought I wanted more……….now I am on a maddening pursuit for it! Below is a little taste of the last song. Many of you have seen it before. If there has ever been a song written by the Holy Spirit, this my friends is it, I love you all, please come with me to this place, there is nothing on earth that can compare!