Monday, January 23, 2012

Growth Through Customer Service

I saw a truck the other day.  It was emblazoned with these profound words on it's shiny white tailgate:
                                              Growth through customer service.

I am not sure why it stuck with me as it did, but I am convinced that when such a nothing thing as a small town marketing slogan painted across the back of a business truck continues to speak long after it should, I should trust that God is up to something.  Wanting to teach me something in the words.  Or maybe in the meaning.

Later, as I dash in doors and out of doors, I jot above said slogan in my journal.  Anticipating a response from God - a teaching moment from the One who holds the whole earth together - it leaves me breathless.

I have a tendency to begin to try  figuring it out on my own.  But like the sun on a summer day, the truth appears in  my mind and then dances behind clouds, one moment clear as the blue sky and the next casting shadows where the light once was.  And so I remind myself to wait and watch.  In His time.

During the holidays, always on the tip of my tongue rolls the phrase "customer service is dead".  Long lines, temporary employees who miss the training day on greetings, or even worse - the dreaded call to computer tech support, all point to the lack of true service in my little world.  I know lots of places that will never grow at this rate.

But today.  Today I noted, probably years after those who work in the "real world", that we customers have our own set of problems.  Apparently the delay in lines at wholesale clubs turn otherwise gentile grandmothers into hotheads who demand that checkouts be done in appropriate order.  Blushing college students scanning oversize jars of spaghetti sauce wonder at the hurry of one who seems long past the days of punching a time clock.  I wouldn't normally say anything rings hollow as one who seems she has had more practice at demanding tones than she would like others to think.  Her husband's chagrined look only adds to the truth that this is not the first occurrence of such an event.

Growth through customer service.

As a Christian, one called to take up my cross daily, what role do I play in this dance between serving and being served?

I evaluate my relationships - with God and man - am I a customer?  Or am I a servant?
Has it become "all about me" without really meaning to do so?

I dwell on the role of the church:  is the church a place where I go to be served?  Or to learn how to serve?

If I am called to be a servant, then wouldn't this mean that my growth - my daily dying to self and walking closer to Christ - comes through service?

I wish that I could say the sun is shining brightly on this truth and it is now wrapped up neatly in the practice of my daily life.
It's not.
God is still speaking and teaching.
And as I have said, this is my place of working all that out.
And I believe He would use you to add to the story, so feel free to add your thoughts.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Guest Blog at Through A Photographer's Eyes

I am completely humbled to be sharing a fresh word God spoke into my life over at Misty's blog this morning.  This is my first time to guest blog for anyone and I am nervous beyond belief.  Thanks, Misty, for opening the opportunity for this blogging newbie to share.  I pray that it gives God a huge ovation.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Vivid

Paul says that ministry is given.
I forget that and live my life sometimes as if ministry is a burden that I carry.
Not just ministry meaning paid, vocational work at the church building on the church budget for church people.
I mean living my life as a ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Living the testimony that God is who He says He is.
I live that in a drudging shade of gray.  Something I must do as opposed to something I am compelled to do.
The world that we live in is a shade of gray.  It is the foreshadow of things to come.  It is not the goal.  It is not the end.  This is not my home.
I long to live my life in vivid color.  Not carrying the back-breaking load of daily life, but turning my chin towards the heaven and my focus towards the One who has given everything for me.
I think about Paul (when he was Saul) and how he had to go blind for a time to be able to truly see.
God, blind me to the things of this world and the burdens I carry, so that when I open my eyes I see only the vivid color of Your presence.
My precious Gran has macular degeneration.  I have been on a quest to find things that help her see more clearly.  I bought a light bulb yesterday called a "full spectrum" bulb.
God, I want to see the full spectrum in vivid color.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I am sharing my word of the year today over at The Lettered Cottage.
Not to drive traffic to my blog.  (It's read and enjoyed by virtually no one but me and occasionally my mother.)
Not because it is anything profound to the world.

I am sharing it because I need the accountability that stems from saying to the world "God has called me to pursue love this year."  There is something about putting words to the feelings that roll in your spirit.  It makes them real.  Not just some fuzzy memory come the hot days of August when January and it's newness seem forever ago.

And so, in sharing it there I am reminding myself in the form of a link and a thumbnail picture that God did call me to pursue love this year of 2012.  And while I understand that I will fail time and time again, I am becoming convinced that the real failure is in not trying at all.  In a practical sense, I am going to schedule a day each month to review my word.  I mean I am putting it on my calendar every month.  And on that day, I will evaluate my obedience and my shortcomings.  I would encourage fellow "wordies" to do the same.  It will be a great way to hold each other accountable to follow through, not just declarations.

The Lettered Cottage

Friday, January 13, 2012


Awake - to come or bring to an awareness; become cognizant

Almost seventeen years ago, I became aware that God had a plan for me.  I had spent quite a few years following my own path.  It really wasn't working.  In some ways it looked alright.  But for the most part it was empty.  Always a struggle.  Always missing something.  The sad part was that I knew better.  God had been a part of my life for years - a part.  It was all those years ago that I began to look for ways to make Him more than just a piece.  

As I pray for my children this morning, I pray that they become fully AWAKE to the plans God has for them much earlier than I did.  It will save them so much emptiness and searching.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Most important: comment and encourage the person who linked up before you.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Finding my pace

I can appreciate that some people do not like to cook.
I do not like to garden.
I tried it.  When we got married and moved into our home, I immediately planted roses.  My mother grew beautiful roses.  Wives were supposed to grow beautiful roses.
So I cajoled my sweet man into digging up a rose bed and proceeded to spend way too much money for a newly married couple on rose plants.
I learned something about myself.
I do not like to garden.
When it is hot and humid outside(which is frequently here in TN), I prefer the swimming pool or at the very least the air conditioning. It is hard to tend your roses from either of those places.
I gave up gardening.
Sometimes I forget that I don't like it and I do something ridiculous.  Like plant something.
It never ends well.

But cooking...
There I find my pace.

I have felt like God's Word to me this year was to pursue love.

My problem is that in pursuing a Godly marriage, ministry, parenting, a clean house, folded laundry - I forget to pursue love.
Until I slow down and begin to mix the ingredients for a blueberry scone.  For no reason except that I have some blueberries going south quickly and I don't like wasting food.
So, with worship music cranked loud and kitchen warm from preheating oven, I bake.  And I slow down to pray for people - for soldiers who are recovering, friends who are waiting, people who are searching.  As the butter meets the flour and the songs fill my house, I slow down and do the act of love that is most beneficial - I lift my soul to the Only One who is my Help.
                 He on whom we have set our hope.  And He will yet deliver us... 2 Corinthians 1:10
And the beauty of frozen, grated butter meets with the lyrics of a song that played from my daddy's radio years ago

Why me Lord
What have I ever done to deserve even one

Of the pleasures I've known

Tell me Lord
What did I ever do that was worth love from you
Or the kindness you've shown

Lord help me Jesus I've wasted it so

Help me Jesus, you know what I am
Now that I know that I've needed you so
Help me Jesus my soul's in your hands

Try me Lord

If you think there's a way I can ever repay what I've taken from you

Maybe Lord

I can show someone else what I've learned myself
On my way back to you

Lord help me Jesus I've wasted it so

Help me Jesus, you know who I am
But now that I know that I've needed you so
Help me Jesus my soul's in your hands

Help me Jesus my soul's in your hands

David Crowder Band - Why Me?

And the tears pour down my face because that is me:  undeserving of His pleasures and His love. 
And I pray that as I meet this year of pursuing love that I could show someone else what I have learned myself.

I challenge you to find the thing that helps you slow your pace and turn your face toward heaven.  Have you found it?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Let all that you do

I still had the questions from yesterday living in my head as I  picked up my Bible study this morning.  In our Friday Bible study group, we are completing an inductive study on 1 Corinthians.

The last chapters of Paul's letters are always so full of good stuff.  It's as if he knows he only has a small window of time left to speak to them, so he rattles off these bullet points of things he wants them to remember and practice.  (Sometimes they are just practical - like asking for his coat.)

I shared last week that I sensed God calling me to focus on love this year.  It should not have shocked me to read these words this morning as I went to God for wisdom

 God, my prayer is that this year I could practice this verse.  Pursue this living of a life of love.  Run after this idea that ALL I do can and should be done in love.
Study because of love.
Teach because of love.
Serve because of love.
Do laundry because of love.
Blog because of love.

One of the questions in the study (written by Kay Arthur) was "What is your foremost passion, your governing ambition?  How do you show it in your daily walk?"

Yesterday I confessed that affirmation from others was a driving force in my life.  Today I am challenged by the Spirit of God to make love the passion of my life.  In all that I do.

How would you answer that question?