Red Coat Moments

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Red Coat Moments

Timing is everything. Speaking the right word, being in the right place, doing the right thing. They all mean nothing if they’re not done at the right time. For me, it was about wearing the right coat at the right time. The red coat, to be exact. It all started when my parents wanted me to meet their new friend, John. It wasn’t a set up; they knew better than that. John was just traveling through town for work and I was visiting for the holidays, nothing more. For 36 hours we were in the same place at the same time. I didn’t know this man from Adam and his imminent arrival brought nothing but a hint of indifference to my heart. I thought he would blow through town like any of the other millions of visitors that have made their way through my parents’ house over the years and that would be that. My expectations for our encounter were nonexistent so I certainly wasn’t harboring any picturesque fantasies of falling in love. But that didn’t stop my parents from praying. (I feel confident their requests consisted of fervent pleadings with the Lord to please give them grandchildren already, but I could be wrong.) The day was overcast, as it often is in January, and cold. I describe the weather in Louisiana as one long season of summer interrupted by one week of winter. This was that week. So I grabbed a coat, my trusty fleece, and headed to the kitchen to wait for John to grace us with his presence. I was rounding the corner unsuspectingly when I looked up to find my mom eyeing my coat. “Is that the only coat you brought?” Her words were said with love and gentleness and a hefty dose of concern. “Nooo.” I drew the word out slowly, my eyes questioning why she cared about my coat. After all, we were going to eat Mexican food. No need to dress up for that. And who was I trying to impress? Absolutely no one. I just wanted some chips and salsa and I didn’t want my nice coat to smell like Mexico for the next week. “Don’t you have a red coat?” I began laughing as I realized the reason for her inquisition. John. “Do you really think the red coat is going to make or break my chances of finding someone?” My tone left no doubt as to my stance. In my opinion, the coat was completely irrelevant. Her response, “You never know.” Well I thought I did know but I wore the red coat anyway just to humor her. The truth is, only God knows whether or not that coat made one whit of difference. But the one thing I know is that I was never the same. The conversation with my mom over a silly red coat planted two words firmly in my mind. What if. What if this time were different. All of a sudden those two words began to chip away at my confidence and I had to consider the fact that she might be right. Maybe God would use something like a simple red coat to open the door to a divine encounter. Maybe He would take something mundane, like bundling up for cold weather, give it a little pizzazz in the form of a red coat, and transform it into a turning point. A place from which there is no return. And that’s exactly what He did. There was nothing magic about the red coat. It just represented a moment when God did something different. Something divine. Something only He could do. God used that now infamous red coat to open the door to a friendship that quickly brought me to a point of no return. Not because we fell in love, because we didn’t. But because that friendship led to trust, which led to healing, which led to freedom, which led to authenticity. Which led to this. Telling the story of God’s faithfulness through writing. That’s what happens when you wear the right coat at the right time.

There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1(HCSB)

The ways of God are without fault. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield to all who

look to him for protection.

Psalm 18:30 (NCV, NLT)

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Intimacy, Got to do it!

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Intimacy, Got to do it!

I know you are close to your physical family.  We tolerate the invasion of our personal space by not only our kids but our spouse as well.  We don’t mind the invasion.  We are intimate as a family.  What about our church family?  Do we invade our personal space?  Are we arm-length apart?   We have to work on being intimate.  Last Sunday, we had sung the song “The Greatest Command” while holding hands across the aisle.  I know there are people who don’t enjoy this invasion of their personal space.  The opposite is true as many this was their highlight of the week.  They got out of their comfort zone and got closer to their church family.  Church- Let’s work on being intimate and/ or moving closer to one another.

In Jeremiah 29:11:

11 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.  Jeremiah 29:11

We make our plans that the Lord already knows.  Let’s plan to be closer to not only God but to your church family as well.  We as a society try our best to be arm’s length away from people.  Do we treat God the same?  What about your church family.  It’s about love.  In Romans 12: 9-13, we learn more about love.  We need to practice this as a church. 

In Revelations 3:14-16, we read about a church in Laodicea. We don’t want God to come knocking at our door to get our attention.  We must remove our arm-length approach and let go.  We should be intentional with our church family.  I have challenged the staff and our 60’s group this morning to remove that arm- length mentality.  Let it be about others.  Let it be about God.  Let us be like the John 13 example of Jesus washing feet.  Nothing is more intimate than letting someone else wash your feet.  In closing, I have three things to remind about practicing this principle:

1.         It takes time to implement

2.         You will have to try your best to be transparent and letting others see you. \

3.         You must be intentional

Let’s continue to be intimate with God and with each other!

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Proper Planning Perspective

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Proper Planning Perspective

I’m a planner. I like to know where we are going, how we are going to get there, when we will be there, what we will do when we are there and when we’re coming back.  Google Maps is my friend.  I write list, make notes and try to think through every detail. I’m not much for the unexpected. Some may say “I wish I were more like that” other “that would drive me crazy”.

I don’t think I’m alone. We all like to have some idea where our life is going and how it will end up. To be able to dream about and plan our lives and activities is a God given blessing we must keep it in its proper perspective.

James 4:13-15 encourages what I call a proper planning perspective.

Several challenges are listed.  First, see our life on how God does.  It’s a short moment. A vapor.  It’s been said that our life on Earth is practice for eternity. Our goal is to see past where we are and where we are going.

Second, we don’t have to know everything. We planners can get so caught up in so many details that often we fail to act or plan God right out of the way. We don’t know everything but know we serve the One who does.

Third, don’t forget that our plan fits nicely into God’s plan for our life which is to glorify him.  Therefore, when we seek his will our plans will succeed and he will be glorified.

So go plan your life. Plan your business. Plan your vacation and hobbies.  Plan your fun and not so fun things to do but always plan humbly.  Always remember anything you can plan or imagine about your life, God can imagine and do greater.

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