So, as part of my focus this year on gratitude and being present in the moment I’ve decided I would also like to revisit all the notes that take on a regular basis. If you’ve ever seen me in real-life, I’m always writing something down. Mostly because I just turned 40, so I’m old, I run two businesses, work a regular full time job, and mom and wife, so I really can’t remember anything. I noticed I take a lot of notes…like a LOT. For years, I carried a treasured journal notebook around with me just so I could jot things down to remember and reflect on later. Also, writing something down helps me remember. I’ve since grown into new technology and make notes and color-coded lists on my iPhone on a regular basis.
I realized I was doing all this writing and noting but not much follow through or reflection. This year, as I am present and noting and really trying to process information I want to DO something with it. So my first goal became all the notes I take at church. Anyone with me? You take great notes at church while the pastor speaks – maybe it’s a scripture, maybe it’s a song lyric, maybe it’s a quick reminder to pray for something later, or maybe it’s a great “pastor-talk” one-liner. Our pastor, ahem…Lead Catalyzer, is super great at these. I rather enjoy hearing him dig deep into a message or Truth rooted in Scripture and then at some point sum it up with a ridiculously, meticulously thought out one-liner that I will remember during the week. I appreciate his gift and his obedience in using it to glorify the Father.
I’m enlisting you to keep me accountable. Every week, I want to process the message from church (except the weeks I can’t attend, but I will try to watch, and you can too because SouthBrook Christian Church live streams on their Facebook page), and then share my thoughts with you. My take-away. I hope those of you who follow along or attend will share your take-aways too, because I’m certain they won’t always be the same. And if you don’t follow along, then enjoy my personal little summary here and take something from that. I would be blessed if you did.
Ok, so now that you’re all in and everything. Let me tell you what kind of Pastor-Talk we got this week. The words: nerve, verve, swerve, and serve. So that last one you’ve probably heard in a church setting before, but the rest – maybe not. I assure you he didn’t make them up.
Let’s break it down and I’ll show you what I learned.
Nerve or boldness. The scripture referenced here was Romans 1:16-18 – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” (NKJV) I was reminded that my faith is my faith all of the time. Christ is Christ all of the time – even when I fail to recognize Him in situation where I could, or should, He remains the same. The message reminded me to be bold in my faith and share it with others. Perhaps it was implied this could be on a big scale, but as wife and a mom and a coworker and a friend, and all of those other hats we wear, I thought of it smaller. For example, how can I remind my kids daily that Christ is who He is and encourage them to share this Good News? Then I said, “How you doin’?” (In my best Joey from Friends voice.) So far, leading up to this moment I’m not so good at this. In fact, I’m quite terrible. I give myself a 2 out of 5, on a good day. But I can do better and let me tell you how I want to. I can be present. I can show Christ’s love for them through me and my gratitude for the gift that He has given in those children and they will see it. Because, let’s be real, these kids can spot the teeniest, tiniest bit of pureed vegetable tucked into dinner and covered with cheese — so they’ll see me witness.
Verve is like excitement. Think jazz-hands for Jesus! Doesn’t the word verve, just feel like it has movement in it? Romans 12:11 says, “Never be lacking in zeal, keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (NIV) Well, sweet! I love Jesus! This one is easy. Probably. I do love Jesus and if you ask, I’ll tell you all about it. But how am I serving? How am I showing it? How my doin’? Eh. I know what excites me about serving up this excitement to others because it isn’t on a silver platter or even a crockpot. Here’s how I hope to do better: I want to share more. Writing about the love of God is what gets me excited, sharing with others the amazing things He has done in my life makes me wanna jazz-hands all the way down the aisle at Target – and tell you about it! So I’ve worked a little more writing and reading time into my weekly schedule.
Swerve, despite your original thought, is not something you do a club, in this cases. Are clubs even still a thing? I’m old, remember. Swerve is how we influence other, or better how we choose to use our influence on others. Now, I appreciate that our pastor used a reference on social drinking, but that’s a long opinionated thing that will cause me to digress here. The scripture he referenced was Peter and Paul’s fight about eating meat with the Gentiles despite their Jewish beliefs. One justifies that it was important to accept the gift of meat provided to them as a meal so that they could commune and maximize their time building relationships with the people. Had they not conformed, in this case, they may have been refused at the table all together and missed an opportunity to influence beliefs sharing the message of Christ. I’m still processing this one, admittedly, I think now I’m giving myself a 3/5. I want to dig a little deeper into more examples. So if you’ve got any to share…or thoughts on this…send it my way. I wonder how I can formulate a plan to do better. Bet your pastor didn’t tell you to improve your swerve. #justsayin
Oh, to serve. This one is pretty self-explanatory, believer or not. How do I serve others and how can I be used by God to glorify His message? I could always be better here, but positioning myself in several volunteer spots gets me a 4/5 here. Not just works, but I find myself serving in my day job, at home with my family, and here on the internet with all of you.
I plan to revisit my grade card in a few months and I’ll check in to let you know if my “improvement plan” worked. Grade yourself! I hope you’ll share too. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this, like I am, just pick one area to focus on for improvement. Let’s work this together in the New Year.