What God’s been teaching me from Mark 13

I’m continuing to read through the book of Mark and was struck by some verses in the thirteenth chapter. At the beginning of this chapter, one of Jesus’ disciples pointed out how impressive the buildings were. Jesus said,

“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

Jesus’ disciples were putting faith in those great buildings. But Jesus told them that those man-made structures won’t last. After reading that, I was again reminded of how unimpressed God is with me. While I don’t build buildings, I love to plan. I enjoy making ambitious arrangements. The grander it is, the better. I tend to put faith in my plans, my systems, and man-made structures and institutions. But God’s been teaching me to put my faith in Him and not in my plans.

Around this time, every year, I start making plans for the new year. As I was doing that again this week, I made the mistake of reviewing my plans for this past year. While some things did go according to the plan, like losing weight, many things did not. It wasn’t in my plans to change jobs, leave the church that I had been a part of for 13 years, and uproot my family and move 800 miles away. I’m sure God had a good laugh when I was making my plans. God may have thought, “Little does Sunny know what I have in store for him.”

So will I make a plan for this year? Yep I will, but I am learning to not hold on to those plans too tightly. I think it’s great to plan, but I’m also learning that I need to include God in the formation of the plans, not just ask God to bless it after I created them. I need to do all that I can to have my plans line up with God’s because I know He’s got great plans for me. Jeremiah 29:11 is a great reminder of that:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Got big plans for the new year? What’s God been telling you? Care to share?

What God’s been teaching me from Mark 13

Thank God for…

It’s been a little more than a week since the ice storm here in Oklahoma. We were one of 500,000 homes that were without power. The electric utility in this area called it the worst disaster they’ve ever experienced. This power outage caught us by surprise. We knew the ice was coming. We knew that the town would shut down. But what we didn’t realize was that we could lose power and that it could be down for days. When we lost power, I thought it would come back in an hour or two, so I went off to work. Five hours later, my wife called to say that there is still no power. I started watching the new reports and saw that thousands of people across the state had lost power and it was going to take the utility 7-10 days to get it back up. Wow…this was a lot worse than I thought.

I left work and went to Lowe’s to pick up firewood and other supplies. There were a lot of other people in the store doing the same thing. It was just like something from TV news, where people are frantically getting supplies before the approaching hurricane makes landfall. Thankfully, I was able to get three days worth of firewood and some batteries for flashlights. I went home and saw my neighbors were more prepared. A lot of them had generators going in their garages. They had been through this before.

After spending one night huddled around a fireplace, we decided we had enough and went down to visit with friends in Dallas. I also used this trip to visit our church campus in Fort Worth. After spending the day in Dallas, we found that the power was back on and headed back home (it’s kinda weird referring to Oklahoma as being home, after only living here a week.)

As life has gotten back to normal, I’ve been reflecting on things. Here are some of those thoughts. I’m so thankful to have electricity and power. It was so easy to take that stuff for granted. It’s amazing how dependent we’ve become on those things. What would we do without our cars, computers, ipods? I thank God for the things that He has given me to make my life easier. What piece of technology are you thankful for?

Thank God for…

What’s a Sooner?

When I would tell my friends that I’m moving to Oklahoma, they would ask,

“So you’re going to the Sooner state?” or “So you’re going to be a Sooner?”

I would nod and say yes, but I had no idea what a sooner was.  So I did some research and found the answer at mentalfloss.com.  Here’s what they say:

It seems that many settlers entered Oklahoma before the legal time for settlement in April 1889, thereby beating out any law-abiding suckers who followed the rules and moved in on time. Soon after, “Sooner” came to mean both an Oklahoman and anyone who jumps the gun.

In case you were ever wondering, now you know.

What’s a Sooner?

Insane Time

What an insane time it has been.  In the last few days, I’ve picked up my life from Illinois and moved it to Oklahoma.  It was no small task.  Here’s what it looked like…

Thursday, Thanksgiving Day – Pack, Spend time with extended family, then pack some more

Friday – Finish packing, moving truck arrives

Saturday – Clean up empty house

Sunday – Drop off kids at sister’s, jam as much as we can into a Geo Prizm, Alice and I drive to Oklahoma

Monday – Walk through new house, buy new appliances, celebrate wedding anniversary at a nice restaurant

Tuesday – Close on new house, start cleaning new house, register kids for school

Wednesday – Keep cleaning, appliances arrive, convince delivery people that refrigerator **can** fit through doorway if you just take the refrigerator doors off, got utilities turned on, Praise God for heat

Thursday –  Moving truck arrives, unpacking begins

Friday – Fly back to Illinois to get kids, final cleanup of IL house

Saturday – Drive through an ice storm with family to Oklahoma

Sunday – Unpack, get required shots for kids for school

Monday – Kids start school and I start work

I want to thank everyone for their prayers for us during this crazy time.  God has been so good to us.  The kids have adjusted pretty well and I am enjoying my new job.  I have a stable connection to the internet again and, yesterday, I learned how to blog from the Terry Storch.  I can’t wait to start blogging again. 

Insane Time