What Are You Focused On?

As I get ready for a surgery on my knee this week, I have been surrounded by people who have came up to me and said you will be so glad to have it done. There are so many people who have had the same surgery and you would never know it. Folks who have had this surgery said it was a piece of cake but make sure you do the rehab.  It’s all about the rehab!

You know it’s like when you buy a different car, then you get on the road and notice so many other cars just like it.  

As I read my devotional for the day I got encouragement and focus.

“Go gently through this day, keeping your eyes on me.  I will open up the way before you, as you take steps of trust along your path”

We will all have obstacles in front of us, and it is how we address these roadblocks that can define us. 

I will always remember my first time coming into Nashville wanting to be a musician there.  A good friend of mine had been in Nashville for 10 years and had just gotten a job playing piano with George Jones.  He told me “welcome to Nashville you will find out how good you are not” but with that he said all you have to do is find your niche. It was the best advise I ever received.  

Each of us has that person in our lives in which we can vent to, someone to be vulnerable with, someone to hold us accountable.  We need to be thankful for those people in our lives who keep us balanced.

There are days and times where we will have the weight of the world on our shoulders.  Its not “if” it will happen., it is when it will happen and how we react to it.  Most of the time we think we are in control.  One of my favorite quotes is “You want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” When the time comes where the weight of the world is on our shoulders, are we turning to God for guidance?  God’s presence enables you to face each day with confidence.

So as I go to have surgery this week, it is like I have the full confidence in my surgeon and the staff.  But I know through my faith God is present and what ever obstacles I have, God will guide me through them.

See you in a few weeks.  I was going to say I would be in rehab but let me be clear, I will be re-habbing my knee.

What are you focused on?  Who are you focused on?  If you focus on the love of Christ and its will you will succeed.


Ephesians 3: 20-21

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through out all generations, forever and ever amen.




Right Here! Right Now!

I am a planner. I love to plan and organize events, vacations, parties and, well, lots of things. I think about what needs to happen, how I can make it work, when, where, why and hammer out an organizational chart and budget. Then I move ahead to how it will be done and who will do it. I must admit, when the actual event is happening, I am not as interested in doing the event as the planning the event. It is wonderful and rewarding to watch it all come together.  I am  soooo ready to start planning the next adventure.

It is good to know what your strengths and abilities are and put them into the best use possible for building God’s kingdom, but the trouble with my planning mentality is that I am always looking ahead to what’s next. It makes it hard to live in the moment. 

Have you ever been so driven by life to save or work for what’s ahead that you can miss some important things that are going on right now in front of you? As a parent of 4 kids, my husband George and I would divide and conquer our task list and work responsibilities to keep up with caring for our children. In the process of a crazy life of busy schedules we often did not take time to enjoy or savor the moment we were in.  I can hear my voice in my head repeating to our kids... did you put your socks away? why are your shoes in the middle of the living room? who left this chip bag out and open? and did you get your homework finished? and did everyone let me know any changes in our schedule for the rest of the week? It was exhausting. 

 My kids, now adults, are defining their own lives. I think they took a page out of our parenting style, as they have crazy busy schedules and I can see them missing out on sweet moments because they are planning and organizing to stay ahead and on schedule.  

Now I would never say that planning is wrong, but at the expense of the moment… STOP AND ENJOY. Look what it says in Matthew 6:34

“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. “

 When we spend most of our time planning for tomorrow, we miss seeing what God is doing right in front of us. Maybe someone across the room is quietly crying, needing comfort or just a listening ear. Maybe your son or daughter had a challenge with other kids at school that left them angry or sad, or embarrassed or… Sometimes we miss the needs around us planning for future needs and wants, and desires. I know I do. 


Stop right now (after you finish reading this blog of course) and look around. What is God doing right in front of you? Maybe the moment you need to have is just with Him. Take a moment and thank God for all that He has done for you today. Stop and think about what has happened, and how blessed you are. 


Look around at others, what can you learn from begin fully present? That means putting down your phone and engaging in the incredible gift of life in front of you. God is often reminding me to enjoy the moments He gives me, to be fully present and engaged. I am always amazed and humbled by what I learn about others, about God and myself when I pause, breathe in the life that is happening right in front of me and thank God for how He has provided. What a privilege to just stop and enjoy sharing this with you today. 


Pause, and Blessings, 

Lori Ferguson 

 Further reading: 

Proverbs 27:1, James 4: 13 & 14, Matthew 6: 25-34, Matthew 11: 28-30


Saved By A Cookie

On Friday night August 16th we held a concert at Navarre United Methodist Church. We had special guests Nicki Montgomery from Orlando, Sandy Wyatt from Jay, and Chloe Channell from Pace who was on America’s Got Talent and American Idol.  For some reason this was one of the hottest days of the summer.  We could not seem to get the sanctuary cool enough and the back stage area was blistering hot.  We all gathered around to pray 10 minutes before the concert and we were all drenched in sweat because the air was not working in the back part of the church.  We are all having a laugh about it now but at the time the women and men were melting!

We had a few goals for the concert. The main goal was to glorify God, be professional in how we played and sang, and to give everyone who attended that night a glimpse of our church where everyone would say "I am glad I came”.

Although it was “warm” for us on the platform, one person actually had more heat than anyone. John Davis our drummer for the concert was in the drummers “cage” as we call it.  John went through two bottles of water in the first 20 minutes. The temperature in the cage was about 15 degrees warmer than the rest of the stage. Not to mention he was whaling away on the drums and sweating. I did not know the following information until the following day.  There was a point in the concert where I did some speaking and sang one song by myself.  I did not know that John was face down on the snare drum pouring water down the back of his shirt.  He had almost blacked out.  John is a tough guy and is in the military and has gone through all the training.  So when he was telling me about this I felt so bad for him.  He was close to blacking out and was kind of blurry eyed and remembered he had brought a cookie in from dinner.  While I was singing, he ate the cookie, drank all of the water, and came back to life and finished out the concert.

The week leading up to the concert was a great week for the team who served.  We laughed, we prayed, and we served.  Not only did we get to know each other a bit better than before, but also we knew after a Wednesday night and Thursday rehearsal we had each other’s back.  We were not doing this concert to glorify ourselves but to glorify God and do the best we can for our Church.

The concert week came to an end, we were exhausted but rejuvenated at the same time, knowing we did everything in our power to do the best we could for the kingdom.  All saved by a “Cookie”.  We did it together, not any one person but all of us together.


1 Corinthians 12:12 

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 


1 Corinthians 12:18 

18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.

Regardless of where we are or whom we are with, there is a satisfaction knowing as a team we accomplished this project together.   God has placed all of us in the place where he wants us to be.  Do not spend your time wishing you were somewhere else when God has placed you in the very place where you can further his kingdom.   He supplies you with all you need, and sometimes it’s just a cookie!

To watch the entire concert, click here.

Horsepower

At the end of the 19th century, cities were faced with a health epidemic. Horses were the main source of transportation. While they were the fastest way to get around, their major downside was that they were not potty trained. A horse’s waste is the perfect play place for flies. Doctors and scientists had recently discovered the correlation between flies and transmittable diseases, and so they were now concerned with how to control the flies. Countless man hours and money were invested in finding out a way to chemically engineer the food horses ate, or to find an alternate source of food for the horses so that the flies were not longer attracted to their droppings. In the end, their research really didn’t matter the way they thought it would. 

You see, right around the time they were really trying to solve the fly issue the automobile was invented. In just a few short years city roads went from a horse’s bathroom to the car’s domain. As the switch to automobiles became more common, horse droppings in the street decreased as well as the flies that were attracted to them leading to a healthier city. 

I know this sounds like a really random story, and it is, but we have so much to learn from it. We can spend out entire lives trying to fix the problems that we’re faced with and miss the next opportunity completely. The funny thing is, our current conversations about climate change is centered around the use of fossil fuels (in large part because of the automobile industry). While I’m happy that there are people trying to figure out more fuel efficient cars, I’m more excited about the people who are trying hard to get us away from gas altogether. 

In our own lives, we can spend all of our time and energy trying to address the problems we have. Or we can instigate a paradigm shift where we completely bypass the things that are causing those problems to begin with. The public secret of the Christian life is that we aren’t free from troubles. Our troubles just look different as a result of following Jesus. We all came to the realization that trying to do life on our own would get us nowhere (or more like lead us to H-E-double hockey sticks). Following Jesus is simple, but hard. We are supposed to love God and love others as God loved us. But how that plays out in our lives is rarely simple. So stop worrying about the horse poop. It’s there, it stinks, but there is a better solution just around the corner if only you can admit that there’s a better way. 

An Undivided Heart = Trust

Teach me your way, Lord that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.  Psalm 86: 11

Sometimes when we are trying to study scripture, it can get confusing.  We can get our head and heart so wrapped up in trying to understand it that we don’t seem to make much progress.  

I know that as I study, I like to bring in a lot of information to inform my study. Sometimes so much that it is overwhelming, and I make it harder than it has to be.

We can ask for God’s help to learn about Him. We can rely on Him to help us understand and trust Him even when understanding is out of our grasp. I believe that our God is too big, and powerful, and righteous and… for us to get our finite heads around, but He is as faithful as the scripture says and His greatest desire is for us to know Him. 

Not only does God want us to know Him, He wants us to be singularly devoted to our relationship with Him.  Look at that phrase from scripture – an undivided heart.  Stop for a minute and think about what that might look like, and what that means for you and for me. 

Additionally, let’s not trip over the word fear in this scripture. God is powerful, and righteous and deserves awe and respect. After all we are the creatures and He is our Creator. 

Psalm 8:3-When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet.