Saturday, December 31, 2011


It was one of those weeks; I knew that the house would suffer neglect. So, I cleaned it up and told everyone, "The dishwasher is receiving. Please make sure the dishes go into it." By Thursday, I looked into the kitchen with dread. When I asked everyone who did put his or her dishes in the sink and not in the dishwasher, I heard a unanimous, "Not Me!" Okay, so that meant that at least forty something times "Not Me" visited our home. This began the typical Mommy drama of, "What is a leader..." A leader sees something that needs to be done and simply does it. A leader does not wait to be told and a leader owns the situation even when he or she had nothing to do with it. What would have happened if David said, "Not Me!" when he saw the vision for building God's temple? Or if his son Solomon said, "Not Me!" when given the opportunity to fulfill that vision. Nehemiah did not say, "Not Me! I am the cupbearer to the king," when he heard that the walls of Jerusalem were falling down, he risked speaking to the king about the situation and in return was blessed with permission and provision. What would happen in our homes, churches and communities if each person made a conscious choice to NOT say, "Not Me!" What if the reason you see the need is because it is to be you? What if you washed the dish and put it away? What if you served on that ministry team, went on that mission trip, taught that Sunday School, became a deacon, planted a church, or took that meal? What if you shared Jesus with your neighbor, colleague or checkout clerk and didn't leave it up to someone else? Maybe, we might have fewer dirty dishes and more saved souls. Both make for cleaner environments! Let's make it our New Year's resolution to get rid of the "Not Me's" in our vocabulary and take the time to pause and pray, "Is it me?" Then just do it for the glory of the LORD! Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. Ecclesiastes 9:10 Simply, Tara

Friday, December 09, 2011

Let the Miracle of Mercy Overflow

On Saturday, as I sat in the hallway during a pageant performance waiting to enter for a cue, I heard the line, "Let the Miracle of Mercy Overflow" in the It Never Grows Old with Tell Me The Story Medley. I thought that is it! That is exactly what we want to happen with this pageant LORD! We want the "Miracle of Mercy to Overflow!" The Father could have created Jesus on a mountain and just allowed Him to wander into the village at thirty years of age, but He did not. He knew something would be missing if He did. We would miss out on unveiling of the "Miracle of Mercy that Overflows!" See... if Jesus wasn't born as a baby, we would never have seen how He interacted with His mom and earthly dad. Remember, He grew in wisdom and in stature in favor with God and man. We would never have seen how He interacted with the disciples with love and compassion as He faithfully discipled them. It is amazing how, "Come and follow Me!" still resounds today! We never would have seen the authority with which He spoke the Word of God to the religious leaders even at twelve years of age. The fact that He withdrew to a solitary place to pray and that the crowds always knew where He was would have escaped us. Remember, how He looked out upon the crowds and saw how they were harassed and hassled and had compassion upon them. We would never have seen that Jesus wept at the widow's misfortune and then chose to meet her greatest need. Give her, her son back. Consider the time the leper fell face down before Him saying, "LORD, if you will." And how Jesus reached out touched him and said, "I will!" When so many demanded that he cry, "Unclean! Unclean!" Or what about the woman brought to him because she was caught in sin. They wanted to stone her. He simply knelt and said, "He who has no sin, cast the first stone!" None did! All walked away! Jesus stood silent before His accusers! They attacked Him, mocked Him, rejected Him, spat on Him, and He let them. Why? So that the "Miracle of Mercy would Overflow!" See mercy is love and compassion in action. It is about a GIVER that gives when the other does not deserve it. This is why Hope was born as a baby lying in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. He was born to let the "Miracle of Mercy Overflow!" so that hope could be born again and again! We have among us the grieving, dying, sick, broken-hearted, sinner, accuser... the list could go on! We are here to let the "Miracle of Mercy to Overflow!" Remember, mercy is love and compassion in action. It reveals the miraculous because a miracle is something that can only be explained by the hand of God. When we love one another, this is mercy overflowing! None of us deserve it! This is how GOD orchestrates the miraculous and allows the "Miracle of Mercy to Overflow" upon those in attendance and this is when Hope is born again! Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy! Matthew 5:7
Simply, Tara

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Caught Not Taught

I walked into the "man cave" to say good-bye to Greg and DongMin . As was Greg's custom, he air kissed me "mmmt, mmt" as a reminder that he wanted me to kiss him good-bye. To my total surprise, DongMin "mmmt, mmt'd" me as well. Immediately, I thought, "Does he want me to kiss him good-bye? Can I kiss my foreign exchange son as I do my own son? How sweet!" Then I bent over and kissed him on his beautiful coal black hair. Later in the day, I had to leave to pick Mikayla up from ballet and the guys were still in the "man cave" watching football. Once again, my beloved gave me his faithful hint... "mmmt, mmt." As I bent over to kiss Greg good-bye, DongMin "mmmt, mmt'd" me and looked with raised eyebrows expressing, "Will you not kiss me as you do Daddy and Grant?" I caught the message and tenderly kissed his cheek. His bright smile made my day. As I drove to pick up Mikayla, I started to practice my lesson for the Open Door Mission on Monday morning. We were storying Jesus' baptism as a part of a series I am writing on that focuses on the seven moments that Luke refers to that Jesus prayed. It suddenly occurred to me; nowhere in scripture does it say that Jesus told the disciples that they must make it their custom to go off to a solitary place to pray. Scripture simply tells us repeatedly that as was His custom Jesus withdrew to a solitary place to pray. Jesus does command the disciples to pray in secret, but the concept of prayer observed in Jesus' model so impacted the disciples that they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray and Paul later wrote to the Thessalonians' that they needed to pray without ceasing. The disciples caught the value of prayer. Jesus did not teach it as much as He lived it! Yes, I know He taught them upon their request how to pray, but what changed their lives was the way He modeled prayer. It is amazing how the disciples always knew where to find Him in His solitary place. Even the crowds knew where to go and look. The things that tend to stick in our lives are best caught more than taught. The lesson tends to happen without us ever knowing we just walked into a life transforming moment. I envision DongMin expecting his beautiful bride to give him a kiss each time she leaves the home just like my Greg does with me. A life habit caught not taught. Greg and I never intended to teach DongMin the value of a good greeting, but our habit taught him this life lesson. As we move into the Christmas season, I wonder how many life-transforming lessons he will catch from us. What will he learn about our love for the LORD? How we celebrate Him as our Savior in a materialistic world? What lessons will others catch from your life habits? What are some lessons or habits have you caught? Which ones are worthy of keeping and which ones should you let go of? Father, please help us to be mindful that others catch more from what they observe in our daily habits than we realize. I wonder does "mmmt, mmt" translate the same way in Korea as it does English. "Man cave" (a hole in our basement that is set apart for men to watch football and play guy games without women bothering them). I just realized that this is another life habit he is taking back to Korea from our home! Simply, Tara