Tuesday, October 28, 2008
It was a post where a young preacher asked what advice you would offer to someone "if you only had three minutes to pass on advice".
I did edit out the first paragraph that was specific to the original blogger.
A user by the name of Codepoke wrote this:
20 years from now your life will be more than half over, and you’re going to look back on the first half, just like I am. Looking back, I find that most of the times I felt like what I was doing was “little,” it was the Spirit Who was moving me to do it. I am proud and thankful for every time I did one of those little things, and ashamed of how many times I focused on some big thing I thought was important. Usually those big things came from my imagination and ambition.
Moses slew that Egyptian because he thought he was supposed to help his people. It was his idea, and he spent 40 years recovering from that mindset. Saul haled the Christians because he thought he was supposed to help his God. He spent 7 years recovering from that mindset.
Don’t conquer the world. Don’t restore right doctrine in your generation. Don’t even set your congregation on the best path. Feed MaryJane. Comfort BillyBob. Visit old Aunt Sue, and find someone who needs to do some visiting and get him to visit Aunt Sue. Love people.
Destroy your reputation, not by admitting faults you’ve had, but by admitting faults you’re having. Especially weakness, fear, and doubt. Not from the pulpit where it can sound grand, but wisely and judiciously to mature individual brothers who can hurt you. They’re the only ones who can help you.
As I’ve been doing these things (as a layman) for the last 4 years, people have finally started blossoming around me. It’s scary and disappointing to be “mere,” but it’s wonderful to see people unfold to warmth.
Just like the blogger commented back to codepoke, the words "destroy your reputation" are the ones that hit me hard. Reputation has always been a big word for me. One of those special words that are almost as close to me as.. well... the words "trinity" "righteousness" and "forsake not the assembling".
Yes, you should be a person of good reputation. Paul went "first" to those of certain reputation.
But, at the same time when I searched the bible for the word "reputation" the one that stood out to me was this verse:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
It's not important that I come off as strong, or grounded, doubtless, and faithful. It's just important that every day I stand before God as the real Jeanette. No faking, it's worthless with Him anyway, but that little fact has never stopped me before. It's important that other real people, see me as a real person, struggling, believing, hoping, failing, and winning.
I appreciated codepokes comment, because it put out there for me, how foolish my definition of reputation is. I put emphasis on things you can have a reputation for, that don't necessarily help people. Because anyone can trust in a person that has shown themselves to be strong (just to clarify, I'm not saying I've EVER shown myself to be strong, but it was certainly a goal!), but how much greater is a person who leads others to trust in God because they have a reputation for trusting in God, showing GOD to be strong, not themselves.
Do you imagine that's why He said that in our weakness that's when He is strong?
Yet, the number one thing Christians try to hide is our weakness.
God help our backwards little minds.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Today I was thinking about the verses from Acts 19.
And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the LORD Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
And I wondered... does the devil know my name? Really? Or no?
Yeah, probably not.
But, I wonder. It's not about being known by the devil.
But I wonder about the motives behind things. Would God wrought special miracles through me? Do I consider it that way? Or do I pray that I would work special miracles with Gods help? God did it that He would be glorified? Too often I wonder if I just want to do it because I want to help.
Do my motives need to be solely to glorify God or can they be simply that you have compassion on someone that is hurting?
I've got another thought mulling along those same lines, maybe I'll make more sense of them tomorrow.
Just an FYI, I'm not a Howard Stern fan. But JKing posted this video concerning the elections and I wanted to share it as well.
Just to give you an idea of what it's about - they asked people who they were voting for, got a name, and then asked if the person was voting for ______ because of their stance on ___________ policy. Only, instead of giving the actual persons policy, they quoted the opponents policy.
It's rated G.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Why is it rude for me to ask you who you voted for?
Is it really that big a deal?
Should it be that big a deal?
Are you ashamed of who you voted for?
Are you upset that I might have voted for someone different?
Does that mean that a conflict has to arise?
You'll find huge political people, long political posts, page after page of political blogging, followed by the words "I voted today."
Who did you vote FOR?
Why do you not tell?
I believe Barak Obama is in favor of abortion, to the very extreme limit of partial birth abortions.
I believe John McCain is not.
I once made the comment on another blog, that no matter what you promise me, whether it's world peace, low intrest rates, great education programs, and a perfectly balanced budget, if I had to receive those benefits at the cost of a childs life then I choose to not have those benefits.
That still stands.
So count me as one unusual person that is not keeping her vote a secret. I'm going to vote for John McCain.
Wow, it even felt weird to say it.
My niece however informed me that she would vote for Obama. She's pretty unusual too.
My friends, I can assure you, you won't have that problem with me when you read my blog. You'll probably see me wondering "is it me or God" so many times you'll want to quit reading!
Last night the important question of the night was.. "Is it God? or do I just need a new mattress?"
If you're confused, then let me assure you that you did read the sentence right. If you weren't confused by it, you should probably reread it.
I've spent the last two days with my back hurting. Nothing major, but something just annoying enough that I kept stretching trying to work out the kinks. I assumed, that my mattress was to blame and was considering trying to flip it this weekend. I'm proud to say I own a 10 yr old mattress. It's worth having a few sags, to have the privilege of that statement.
But last night, as I was praying just before going to sleep, I remembered that I've heard people say that if they were suppose to pray for someone with hearing troubles, they would sometimes experience a bit of hearing troubles. Chris, over at Hamer-Hodges mentioned the same thing recently with his throat - where you experience sensations in the area that the person you should be praying for is feeling pain.
So I said, what if this is my notice to be praying for my friends son? So I mimicked what I saw God do, and I reached around and I put my fist into my back and began to pray for him. And I did it until the pain in my own back was virtually gone. I still had a small twinge when I moved but nothing like it was before.
I don't know where all of this leads exactly, I doubt that he's going to jump out of bed this morning saying "Look mom! the pains gone!" But that's why I keep praying. Because I don't have enough faith for the big miracles. I'm going to keep praying until I grow. And I certainly won't stop there! I hope every once in awhile God finds enough faith in me.
What do you think that verse means when it says Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Ephesians 3:20
What's that "power that worketh in us" mean?
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I expected the person to be home. If I'm not sure, usually I'll just stay close to the phone's base so I can just set the phone back down if no one answers. But I expected someone to be home, and I expected the conversation to take a while because I needed some information from them that they were probably going to have to hunt for. In my preparation, I'd even pulled up the computer screen so I could just type the information as they gave it to me.
The only surprise was... they weren't home.
But as I hit "end" to shut off my phone, I realized what a difference your mindset is between the two. And I realized, that when I make my most important calls... the ones to God, I tend to do it with an "at the phone base" attitude.
"God are you there?"
But how different life can be for us, when we go to our Savior and settle in for a conversation, ready for answers or just insight. Isn't it great that God always answers His phone? I think we sometimes just don't let it ring enough.
The Royal Telephone
(with some emphasis added by me for the words I like best!)
Central’s never “busy,” always on the line;
You may hear from heaven almost any time;’
Tis a royal service, free for one and all;
When you get in trouble, give this royal line a call.
Telephone to glory, oh, what joy divine!
I can feel the current moving on the line,
Built by God the Father for His loved and own,
We may talk to Jesus through this royal telephone.
There will be no charges, telephone is free,
It was built for service, just for you and me;
There will be no waiting on this royal line,
Telephone to glory always answers just in time.
Fail to get the answer, Satan’s crossed your wire,
By some strong delusion, or some base desire;
Take away obstructions, God is on the throne,
And you’ll get your answer through this royal telephone.
If your line is “grounded,” and connection true
Has been lost with Jesus, tell you what to do:
Prayer and faith and promise mend the broken wire,
Till your soul is burning with the Pentecostal fire.
Carnal combinations cannot get control
Of this line to glory, anchored in the soul;
Storm and trial cannot disconnect the line,
Held in constant keeping by the Father’s hand divine.
He's someone you'd look forward to meeting for lunch on your lunch hour, and would always be late getting back to work because He's just so great to talk to.
He's someone you'd drive 3 hrs to visit... unannounced and uninvited... because you know you'll always be welcome.
He's someone that knows all the dirty stuff about you, and yet still brings you in on some of the most important things He's working on.
He's nice. Best friend kinda nice. Because just like a best friend, when you fight with Him, it hurts worse than all get out.
Anyway, the post that Jon wrote was called "Just Come", and it was about God wanting you to come.. just come, come weary and heavy laden and He will give you rest, come broken and hurting and He will give you healing... It talks a lot about coming, just as you are - rather than waiting to be just as you think you should be before coming to God.
I won't quote it, because you need to head on over there and read it (and maybe drop an encouraging comment for him). But it did push me into writing about something that's been on my mind since church last week.
We want to believe before we pray. Whereas I now, firmly believe, that we need to pray until we believe. Because continuing in faithful prayer admiting my unbelief is what can change my belief. Months ago as part of my "I don't get it and I'm pulling my hair out" I realized that I can't allow the devil to control my prayers. I can't allow my belief to control my prayers. Some days I'll pray believing, firmly, ready to tackle the fiercest demons. But other times, I'll have to make a choice of not praying at all or praying for a situation and telling God I'm having a hard time believing for this one, but I believe He can help my unbelief.
We're children of God. Children. of. God. Forget for a moment the whole "christian" or "Christ-follower" "disciple of Christ" and "believer" forget your denomination, forget your churches name. For me, as part of my growth lately I've been focused on the fact that I'm a child of God. And that's taken forceful effort on my part to shove aside those other "titles". But as His child, if I know my Father can do something I'm going to ask. Whether He will or not has to be secondary. Maybe your dad always says no, maybe you know the answer the question before you ask it, but I'm going to ask my Father anyway. Because sometimes I just don't understand the logic, or reasoning behind the answers so sometimes I get surprised with a "yes" that just blows me away.
So, as His child, I'm working to approach Him with childlike innocence and sheer determination. I don't know if you've ever seen a child determined to get something from you, but let me tell you, they don't seem to grow weary in asking. Even if the answer every single time is "NO! And stop asking me!"
I believe my Father wants me to ask, even when I don't believe. Because I don't want to just follow Gods Son. I want to be Gods child myself.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
That's right my friends, I've discovered something unique. Something so old fashioned, yet nostalgic, and simply a novelty. A beautiful novelty.
My friends, let me introduce you to:
Before I tell you of the wonder of free tv, let me first tell you of the wonder of FREE rabbit ears. I went to my favorite little hole on the internet. It's www.freecycle.org. I went online and said Hey... anybody got free rabbit ears, and the next day I was pulling up at a complete strangers house and pulling a pair of rabbit ears out of the green planter next to their door.
Yes, I know what you're thinking, but they knew I was coming.
So I picked up my free rabbit ears, and then plugged them into my tv and
I'm missing all the way cool features (guide? how do people live without an onscreen guide? and in 5 minutes I realized how much I will miss the pause button.) but I do still have 2-6 (I'm not really sure why I have 3 channel 10's and 12's? and there's nothing on either of them. But it's more than enough for me. I'm happy. And I'm more than pleased that it's free. God bless America.
(Found at Jolly Blogger thanks to Milton at Transforming sermons).
The article was talking about how so many people attend church seeking their own spiritual comfort (amongst other things he listed), and they are not gospel-driven. It was a good article, well worth reading if for no other reason than to question yourself and make sure you don't fit into the profile of the psuedo-contented churchgoer who has no heart for the Fathers gospel.
And in a comment I made on the article I was speculating on something that I suppose I'd never considered before...
Missionaries to churches.
Considering my comment later, I realize that I don't believe I am such a thing. But, I'm questioning if that's not what God has called some to. So many people now are leaving the church, meeting with believers in their homes, and seeking a deeper walk with God than what you typically find at your local church buildings. Are some of them still connected to their local churches because God has called them into that missionfield?
Has the church really become a missionfield?
I was talking with someone earlier about how a person would become a missionary in America. I live in America, why can't I, as a child of God, be a missionary for Him here? And if so, what would that look like exactly? But then this new question came along and I began to wonder if I my actions in church could become more missional.
How crazy is it to even consider? Is it necessary?
Look at your church, how many of the people there operate in a gift of the Holy Spirit? How many people are seeking the Holy Ghost if they don't have it? How many people are doing something to act out the great commission?
I was talking to someone recently, someone I respect, about someone else I respect. And the 1st person informed me that they don't talk to the other person because "their spirit doesn't jive with my spirit". And I confess, it took me utterly by surprise. Because if the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us... that means one of these two ladies doesn't have a spirit that jives with The Spirit. And it hurts to think that of either one of them.
How many more sleepers are in our churches? How many of them sit with blinded eyes, and hearing, they hear not.
Am I the only one to wonder?
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I took the song as movement, and began to bring my petitions to God. My petition was that I would be able to see what the Father is doing, thus I could walk in His ways and pray His works. In other words, if Jesus healed people, by doing what He saw God doing - then I want to see what God is doing, so I can speak healing to the right people at the right time, because that's what God is doing at that moment.
Now.... making what could be a very long story, very short... a little while later here is what I've seen.
Not to belittle anything that God has done, it's just not much and I don't understand it.
I know a family whose son just went through surgery for things pertaining to his back. I know the son is currently home again, and spending most of his time in bed.
Add into that, tonight after asking God to show me what He's doing, I saw someone that I knew was a representation of God, and He was standing over the bed of the young man, and He rolled him over on his right side then reached over and put His fist into the boys back.
I don't understand, and I don't know if it's possible to make sense of it. But if anyone has a gift for such a thing... feel free to comment.
As a side note to this specific situation, I'd spent awhile at the hospital Friday night just praying for the young man, and the scripture that kept coming to mind was Ephesians 3:20
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,"
Then what do you know, on Sunday a woman in church stands up saying she's got a scripture she feels led to share. Sure enough, she reads Ephesians 3:20
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,"
But I want you to see verse 21, just because God deserves to have the 2nd half to that.
20Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
“The ultimate cause of all spiritual depression is unbelief. It is because we listen to the devil instead of listening to God that we go down before him and fall before his attacks.”
–D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Its Cure
HT: Tolle Lege
I won't let my nephew handle my laptop computer because I know he's not as cautious as I would be. Sometimes I'll be looking at something and he or his sister will come near the computer with their soda and I'll cringe just a little bit and wish I had a protective covering for it or something so I'll know it will be safe.
My stream of the idea flowed straight into the thought that, if I was that cautious with something that only costs a few hundred dollars, why am I so careless with priceless things like people? I'll be impatient, or bring people around ideas or complaints that crumbs of it could get into the filter of their mind and corrupt things.
I wonder how often God cringes when I rush so carelessly into someones life and situation with my dirty hands and less than tender approach just as I have my nephew.
The thought also flowed out of how often I'll listen to my niece and nephew hurl words at each other, until at some point one of them crosses the invisible line I've put up and I round on the accuser with "You're talking about someone I love and it's best you remember that!"
So often, we Christians will accuse and hurl our own insults/complaints/less than gracious comments and I wonder if at some point God wants to come down and say "HEY, you're talking about someone I love!".
So often, I see these little things as just sins... things I shouldn't be doing because they're bad. But there's another level of correction when you realize you haven't just hurt the person you were talking about - but you offended your Father, who loves that person. I know I just don't think that far sometimes.
I watched it happen this week, someone complained about someone that I care about and I worked hard to bite my tongue. But inside, I hurt for my friend and wished there were some way to protect them from the other persons very vocal opinions of the situation.
It doesn't feel good to imagine God feeling that about me.
So my prayer today is that God would use this lesson to remind me, to walk softly, and tenderly into peoples lives. Use words with grace, and wisdom - especially the ones that must be mingled with admonitions. Help me to guard my tongue, that "world of iniquity" so that I bridle it, rather than allow it to control me. I pray that God would give me wisdom in the days and hours ahead, that each obstacle I meet I would have the grace to meet it as Christ Himself would. Not as I, but Him who liveth in me.
And most of all, I pray that I would diligently feed, and nurture that Spirit who lives in me, that He would not just live, but grow, thrive, and give birth to fruits that this mind cannot fathom.
It's not about what not to say though... because I could go my whole life without tearing someone down and still not build them up.
Lord, let the construction begin with me.
The Obvious Doesn't Always Matter.
Monday, October 20, 2008
I've been disconnected for a bit now.. but for some reason I still got the game show network, and infomercial channels, plus I could happily rewatch all of my previously recorded stuff from my dvr.
It's gone now though.
It's very very quiet here.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
I got - really got - the fact that Gods not as interested in my job, my sins, my money, my church attendance, as He is in ME.
It's been a difficult week this week, to be perfectly honest, because I was fighting a lot of temptation. And I wasn't winning. Too often this week I blindly gave up ground and said "eh, I'll not sin tomorrow". Literally. And the devil was doing a pretty good job of running away with me. "God can't use a someone like you." "If you were really Gods you wouldn't have sinned." "You can't commit a sin, willingly, and still pray to God, that's just pointless - give up."
And somewhere during the week, I royally failed at simply being a responsible human being. It's not a good thing, not a pretty thing, I just failed to be responsible. I failed.
And while there was a point where I stood back up and backed the devil back down there was also a point where in all that I finally 'got' it.
And I'll preface it with OF COURSE God is concerned with all of these things, as I should be as well. But...
Gods not concerned with my job. He's not concerned with how much money I make, whether I subscribe to dish network, or if I obtain a good credit score and move up in my company.
He's not concerned with whether I sell things at a high price, or sell low, whether I advertise on craigs list or get a second job. He's not concerned with me serving two church entities or two home churches. He doesn't even care if I miss a car payment, or never learn some basic domestic skills.
Everyone always tells you that you don't have to be perfect, to clean up your own sinful ways before you come to Jesus and ask Him into your heart. But I never really applied that to my Christian life. Those details, those nuances of perfection (good credit score, good job, good financial decisions, good church, good relationships, etc. etc. etc.) all - at least in my life - have to be lined up nice and proper before I kneel before God. And it's gotten worse in the last year as I struggled to be a foster parent that I just couldn't be perfect at. (Any perfect parents out there?)
And after this colossal failure this week, I looked at it, and I certainly looked at it every which way, before I finally said:
"God loves me anyway. God wants me anyway. God will teach me anyway. God will use me anyway."
And as I did that, it was as though my world started changing. The verse "Seek ye first" came to my mind and I realized that God simply wants me to seek Him. seek Him. seek Him. Be responsible, do the right things, but most of all, and F I R S T L Y - seek Him.
Everything after that is just extra.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Pastor Steven Furtick's post on "LUI (Leading Under The Influence)".
He opens the post explaining:
"Sometimes as a leader, I find myself making decisions so dumb that it’s almost like I’m drunk on something.There are obvious elements that can intoxicate leaders: pride, jealousy, sin, lust…But lately I’ve been thinking of some less obvious leadership intoxicants that often seem to impair my judgment. .."
#3 on that list was Doubt:
You’ve got to be careful. Someone might slip something strong into the punch bowl while you’re not looking. Proverbs 4:23 warns you to guard your heart above all else, because the issues of life flow from it.When you let people who don’t have your best interests at heart speak into your life with open access, they can contaminate your pure faith with drops of discouragement and doubt. And next thing you know, you find yourself inebriated by insecurity.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I was doing just fine until a very anticlimactic part where he walked into a cave I think, and discovered his daughters bloodied dress.
I had to shut the book. A part of me that's just bone weary of the hurts stepped back and just sat down. My mind, suddenly startled by the find, knew that this is no rare occurrence. That's the very hardest, most exhausting part of foster care. Knowing the stories, hearing the stories in training, over and over again. Meeting the living stories,
There isn't anything it seems that can be done about it. My brain can't unload the information, but my heart can unload the hurt that can suffocate me.
I'm not good at it, but the cadence of "Lord help the hurt" is becoming more and more of a mantra. Whatever the load, whatever the burden, I can't 'fix' my heart. I can't remove the stains of past pains, or marks that were made when someone I loved was hurt, or when I hear of pain and injustice or trauma.
But I'm in constant need of a Savior who can keep the load from suffocating me. As I wait for Him, I'm pushing for more confidence (aka FAITH) in a Savior that knows the line between the hurts that paralyze me, and those that motivate me.
I've opened up the book again, because in the book - the main character is about to find God.
And I need to see my Savior come through.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Last night, my niece and nephew and I wandered the streets. We walked to a local restaurant and played alphabet games over pizza and cherry pepsi, then walked around the streets before finally heading home. On the way home I mentioned something about how pretty a night it was and how it'd be a great night to pitch a tent and sleep outside.
Every adult I could tell this story to, probably would shake their heads wondering what's wrong with me that I would have been the one to suggest this. Somewhere deep inside, I shake my head at myself too though.
So, with two very excited kids, we made it home and started pitching the tent. We laid down a blanket then spread out 3 sleeping bags. Sure enough, one blanket did nothing to ease the fact that the ground is not nearly as comfortable as a bed.
Combined into that was the fact that at some point, something had happened to Davey's sleeping bag. (He'd never slept in it before, so whatever the issue was, it wasn't his fault - I want to make that clear.) But, as we all laid down I couldn't help but notice (and trust me, I tried to keep from noticing) that his sleeping bag reeked of some very foul smell. Every time he rolled over, tossing his cover over his shoulder, taken unawares by the sudden gust I tried to keep my cherry pepsi down.
In the not so quiet darkness, we talked about the odor until one of them had to run to the restroom and the other was laughing so hard that he was raining spittle across the tent showering me.
Finally, everything has calmed down and we were quietly singing. We reached "Thank you Lord, for saving my soul" when David asks "What does salvation mean?"
For the next hour, we talked about salvation, sin, Christs sacrifice, communion, and "being dunked" as my niece put it.
This morning, as I took a warm shower, amidst thanking God for indoor plumbing, I realized how I've missed the very obvious ministry right in front of me in these two kids. I've worked for them, and I've taught them as any decent aunt would do, but today, something changed. Their knowing Christ deeply, closely, personally, and embracing the gifts I myself am trying to embrace, became a priority to me.
It wasn't comfortable. But, laying there next to the polluting sleeping bag, showered in spittle, and looking up at the tree above us while vaguely wondering if birds poop at night (do they?) I got to be the mouth of God to them.
Today, right after all that, we went into the church that I'm so torn about, and after talking about communion the night before, we walked in and my niece took her first communion. I took it seriously, and she did too, and God touched her. Sitting there next to her, simply praying her through this new encounter with God, my heart overflowed with thankfulness that I had had this chance.
From the other side of the house this morning, loud shouting of the lyrics of the song "Blessed be the name of the Lord" rang out, and I'm just so grateful for every Sunday morning with them. Even if it means waking up to smelly sleeping bags and stiff backs.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
It's nothing wild, just a bunch of arm waving and swaying back from side to side.
The two front girls have caught my attention though because one of them just dances with flowing joyful abandon. The second one, though she's doing the exact same motions as the other there's just something different. She's not doing it 'right', she doesn't have that same joyful look to her. Actually, she smiles quite widely, but it's more like a "this situation is new and novel" smile I suppose.
The difference between the two is vast to me. One is a pure pleasure to watch. I don't know why, other than that it looks like she's dancing inside out. And the other, from the outside in.
Watch 2:29 - 2:32 of this video for a prime example. (Am I getting too obsessive about this?)
Just seeing the difference, made me catagorize christians in the same way. The purely joyful from the abundance of their heart Christian, and the outside in Christian.
Looking at how different I can be in different situations I wonder if I'm only an outside in Christian, when I'm actually in a religious setting?
Which kind are you?
I've watched the last video that I've posted, over and over and over again. Something about it just grips me. I love it. It gives words to a lot of what I've been thinking - except it does it in a great way...
It does it by going to God.
I've gone up and down and back and forth with OK God loves me, He loves me not, He loves me, He loves me not:
I'm classically wishy-washy.
But the great thing about that video is that he defines it, exactly as I would see it for someone else, I could easily pray those words for others. But certainly not for myself. I really have enjoyed that video.
And then, I went over to Christ Is Deeper Still, and I see this video on 'eternal legacy'....
And in it he specifically mentions that we all want to make our mark on the earth, to be significant... but Christianity is completely different because we gain our value by God, being known by God is what's of value to us.
Yeah... my um.... No.
I want to make my mark on the earth, I want to do things that PEOPLE find significant, so that PEOPLE can like me which makes me feel valuable and worthwhile.
I want my co-workers to think highly of me, my friends to think I'm smart enough, my enemies to think I'm tough enough, and I want to be of such a caliber that people will talk about me when I'm not there and say good things. That my fame will be spread in their good words. All under the banner of that if people like me God must too.
It's crazy hard to imagine my heart not caring about those things anymore, and simply being filled with the desire to have Christ, God, happy with me. But, watching that video made me want that. It made me wonder about eternal values, and my eternal Savior watching me and whether He could be proud of me - even if the world, friends, coworkers, etc. never could be.
It made me wonder about truly living only for His pleasure, first and foremost.
What would that be like?
But, I'm asking you to watch this video - at least 2minutes and 53 seconds of it.
Can you spare 2 minutes and 53 seconds of your life?
I never would have imagined someone could describe it so perfectly.
(HT to Bob at In The Clearing for finding it)
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Being a preachers kid, I was raised in church. My life has always revolved around church. I know my way in and out, and even know how to keep cranky old church women happy with me when I choose to. Though I'm learning that I "choose to" less and less every day.
I want to do the right thing. 100%, all the time. No if's, and's, but's or exceptions to the rule.
Which makes it all the harder when, in trying to do the right thing, I question the one thing that has been solidly 'right' all my life.
Is going to church the right thing to do?
Would Jesus go to church?
Would Jesus be welcome at your church?
If Jesus walked in and said all the shocking things he typically told the standard 'Christians", would your church ask Him to leave?
I'm still on this home church kick. I'm challenged in home church, I'm held more accountable by home church, and I'm pushing harder into God lately with home church. In the round the dinner table gatherings I've gotten to experience, I honestly wouldn't trade them for anything. And this is only the beginning. As people get more comfortable I'm starting to dream about where it could go.
But then, I have those same dreams for the 'church' I attend on Sundays.
My great big God feels shrunk.
And I don't know how to unshrink Him. I know there's more, and I'm searching. What would Jesus do?
"About fifteen years ago I was sitting at the dining room table looking out the window and watching five boys fooling around with a BB-gun and wondering a little to myself how long it would be before one of them shot another in the eye. Finally one of them grabbed the gun to shoot at a little sparrow sitting on a tree just outside the dining room window through which I had been watching this whole performance. I could see the whole action unfolding before my eyes; it seemed almost slow-motion, uncanny, inevitable. The boy aimed deliberately at the bird, shot at the bird, missed the bird and put a hole in the window right in front of me, and away they all ran with me racing out of the house after them. I didn't catch any of them!
In a few days I had found out that a boy named Dave White had pulled the trigger. Also in a few days I had the window fixed and paid for. Then I began to think about Dave. He was evading me at every turn. He would not face me and he had no notion of confessing. In the meantime the other boys had floated back to games in the vacant lot and in the street in front of the house, while Dave, the guilty one, was on the outside of all this, 'weeping and gnashing his teeth.' He would have none of us. So I went after him, not to punish him but to save him. He had to face me in judgment, then in grace; only thus could we renew our fellowship, only thus could I bring him back to the gang.
I caught him alone. Now we stood face to face to have it out. The boy was rebellious, tense, tight, ready to fight me, ready to run away again. He admitted he had wronged me but I gave him the surprising message that the window had been paid for, that I had no notion of collecting anything from him, that what really interested me was to know how we could get him to come back to be one of the gang again. . . . I told him over and over again the same old story: the price has been paid, it's all over; let's be friends. What a time I had getting that message through to him. Why? Because he didn't believe me. There is always an unbelievable quality in the wonder of what we call grace. But I wish you could have seen him when he finally did believe me. What a wonderful look, what a release of tensions, what a rolling away of the burdens, what a newness of life. Now he could quit running. Now he could relax. Talk about peace of mind; you should have seen that boy. What total commitment he offered me henceforth, and by no request of mine! There was nothing he wouldn't do for me."
Addison H. Leitch, Interpreting Basic Theology, pages 113-114
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
He went specifically to the pool of Bethesda to see the impotent man, and went back to him later in the temple to speak to him.
He searched for Adam in the garden.
He stopped under the tree for Zacchaeus.
He called Moses to the mountain.
So awhile back I was considering what Jesus would say to me. If He sought me out, I wondered, what would He have to say? The question had no more occurred to me than the word "Peace" came to mind.
I'm sarcastic at heart so I snorted and said "That's not saying much."
I did think about it though, because I have moments when I feel peaceful, but in general I'm rarely at peace. I'm always pushing and twisting. If I'm not growing it feels like I'm dying and I've never found a happy, peaceful middle ground that I can stay on.
If He sought you out - what would He say to you? He's got a message, just for you, what is it?
I would have expected my message to be one of condemnation. And it could be that the word "Peace" simply popped in my head without Gods divine intervention.
Either way, that's my story. What's yours? What would God tell you?
Does He speak condemnation or hope?
Or is He simply silent?
Monday, October 06, 2008
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, with all thine soul, and with all thine might.Matthew 22:37
I've been thinking about how much time, and energy we give ourselves, verses what we give God; and that verse came to mind today. All my heart, all my soul, all my might. All of my being.
It's as though there are two separate worlds in which we could choose to live. The one where we ourselves reign, with entertainment, relaxation and hobbies, and a second one where our entertainment, relaxation, and hobbies revolve around the One who reigns in us.
The very thought of it is one that leaves me hopeful that something better than this is available. That there's a world out there, where ordinary HR Assistants somehow change their community in their free time. A world in which an unimpressive misfit, walks in the Spirit and speaks healing into lives by the power of Jesus Christ. A world, where someone as ordinary as a fisherman, can lead thousands.
It could happen.
You might remember, that September 6th, I wrote about working on my toilet. Ok.. technically I wrote about how much I enjoyed taking a perfectly good tank outside and smashing it to smithereens.
It's .. ironically enough, October 6th, exactly one month from that date.
And I just finished fixing my toilet.
I went in with a new supply line, bolts, washers, nuts, wingnuts, and a brand new wax seal, and some heavy duty unclogger stuff in case that had any part in the issues.
I went in, and just went to work and I think I convinced my toilet that I knew what I was doing, because it bent to my will - and I now have 2 working toilets.
It's a beautiful thing.
NOW, for the mouse I mentioned before?
Since that time, I've bought several things and yet he/it/they, still live on.
I haven't seen it/them for quite awhile. None of my food is bothered, and I don't find droppings on the floor as I used to. (Maybe he's been here so long he's housebroken?) I know he's still around though since he regularly snaps the snap traps, and eats the poison I put out which include a small cardboard box of pellet poison, and -so far - about 6 of the big hunks of poison that are suppose to be strong enough to kill a dog. I put them out, and they disappear leaving some crumbs behind.
I also have an expensive live trap that he regularly ignores, and I'm out of the glue traps because he caught himself on them so many times and got loose that there was so much fur on them that it was no longer sticky.
Anyone have any other great ideas on how to kill this monster in my house?
Sunday, October 05, 2008
This is the third day without regularly scheduled programming.
I've still got the tv equipment until they send me the necessary stuff to return it to them - but for now, I'm still watching some things that I've previously recorded. And let me tell you, I've got a lot of the Gaithers Homecoming stuff recorded.
**Sidenote - we're watching the Gaither "Israel" recording last night, when this conversation takes place:
David (7yrs old): They're not really in Israel.
Angel: Yes they are
David: No they're not. There's a tower, and there aren't any towers in Israel.
Angel: How do you know, have you ever seen Israel?
Angel: You have not, when have you seen Israel?
David: On Veggietales.
He still doesn't believe us.
Anyway.. I've already seen a difference in how much thought I'm putting towards tv though. I'ts not a full 180 turnaround yet, but it's better than it was. And now I'm reading more books, reading the bible more, and I've spent more time in just the silence praying for answers and direction.
I've quit foster parenting. I gave my official notice last week. It was a temporary decision that was hard, but at the same time, the previous week I'd experienced a day where the pain for Bell was more than I could stand. Foster parenting is a lot to do. So, I told God -basically - that until He helped me figure out how to ask others for help, or even accept help that's offered, that I was done.
Yet, despite how 'alone' it felt sometimes, I have a lot of vivd moments where I cannot deny that He sat with me in the pain. In the stuff the previous week, I was so suddenly overwhelmed with worry for Bella, to the extent that I was physically sick to my stomach and panic was making it hard to catch my breath - I spent hours trying to figure out how to pray with faith for her future and I just couldn't find it. It hurt too much, she wasn't safe, I've got no idea if she's still the happy kid that was blowing some fake horn through her hands the day she left. Too much could happen to her and I just couldn't bear it.
I want her back. NOW.
In those hours where the thoughts just wouldn't leave me alone, I found a scripture.
And as I read that scripture, the thoughts I had simply stopped. The tormenting thoughts ended. At one point as a test (yeah I don't know why) I even tried to worry for her, and found that the fear which had seemed almost tangible moments before - was gone.
I serve a great big God.
I just need to remember that great big God is with little ol' me.
Friday, October 03, 2008
It's about anything.
It's about every thing.
That's the goal anyway.
I've been thinking a lot about 'why'. Why am I twisting my life around, why did I leave my church, why am I going back, why am I having church in my house, why am I meeting for notSunday Sunday school.
And the most basic answer, is that I want Gods will. I want to live my life, like Jesus would live my life. And I think most of us are light years away from that. And I'm heading up the top of that list.
How would Jesus live our lives?
How far do you take it? Where do you stop? Do you stop just shy of looking crazy? Or do you justify irrational behavior by saying Jesus didn't stick with logic?
Or, do you sit and do what everyone else does until God "calls" you to do something else? Does God have to 'call' us to turn off cable? to get rid of the 2 U-haul trucks full of junk do we need to have a altar moment that releases us to hold a garage sale?
I guess, from the way I phrased the question, that obviously I believe that a 'calling' for those things aren't necessary.
I don't mean it though - I think.
All of this, is just stuff. People that don't love God do these kinds of things every day. They find ways to save money, be frugal, live simply, enjoy 'nature'. So I'm not doing anything different than some of the world is doing. So the key, the real key, lies in seeking God while I'm doing this.
It's somewhere in the prayers, and tears, and the study of what He's written for me in His Word, that the real path is discovered.
I get tangled in confusion sometimes. It's hard for me to mix several different things into one once some of them have gotten mixed up. I like to start clean, with a blank slate and start completely over. And I wonder if that's what I'm doing in all this. Making myself a blank slate.
So for all the things I'm unsure about, for all the ways I'm throwing away, here's what I know for sure.
God won't leave my slate blank.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Wasted lives, wasted time, wasted words, wasted money, wasted stuff.
And, I hope that I'll be able to write this from a 'hope' perspective, not from a condemnation perspective. The hope aspect comes from the idea that everything... all this that we're wasting could be used to do something incredible.
I threw away a napkin today, and I thought about it.
That may not sound like much to you, but I'm glad that after all this consideration something as small as a napkin entered my thought process. It's a good thing.
Somewhere in the world, pennies feed people. Pennies make a difference between good health care and nothing. How would Jesus live in America? Really. Would he own a big tv? a house too big for Him? 7 pairs of shoes and whole bookcases full of books?
We think these things and then shrug them off. Despite the fact that nearly every American I know says that they have too much "stuff". We all bemoan it, and maybe have a garage sale or two - while we step back and accumulate more, newer, stuff.
I understand. I've done it. I've had the garage sale. I've hauled boxes to Goodwill. I've hauled trash bags to the curb full of stuff that, someone in the city probably could have used, I was just too lazy to clean it up and felt bad at the idea of hauling dirty stuff to Goodwill.
I get it.
But, I'm feeling more and more strongly about it.
So I'm working on the 'too much stuff' issue.
Next comes my money.
I don't have a lot of money. But I waste a lot of money. All of my electronics typically use energy even when they aren't in use. My pretty tv, unless I unplug it when I leave the house, sucks up loads of energy that costs me money.
My clothes, get dry in only 2 hrs, rather than 8-10 because I put it in a machine that uses energy, energy that costs me money, rather than string a line up and let them dry with the air God gave me.
I have a gas grill, rather than a grill I could use wood with, even though the wood is free if I collect it. I could grill more with free wood, rather than use my stove so much.
I wash my hands using hot water... even though I'm usually done with the water before it's even had time to get hot. That cost me money.
There are lots of ways to save money in household stuff:
- Go to the Library for movies (instead of paying 4 bucks at the movie store) and check out books rather than buy your own.
- Eat out less often.
- Clip Coupons
- Switch to online bill pay, or pay over the phone, which saves you a stamp.
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, with a couple of drops of peroxide (maybe some salt mixed in for scrubbing) makes toothpaste. Much cheaper toothpaste than 3.69 a tube. It can be used in dish water too, instead of dish soap.
- Use cold water for your laundry. You can put baking soda in the laundry too and apparently it acts as a softener.
- Turn off the lights. 2 o'clock in the afternoon, do you really need a light on?
Those are just a few of the ways. There are tons more.
But then, that's all about my money - what about my time?
I spend 35 dollars a month, so I can waste my time with great channels from Dish Network. Hours upon hours. I wonder, if you were able to calculate such a thing, if a person could really know how many hours of their life they'd spent in front of a television set?
"The average person watches four hours, 35 minutes of television each day, Nielsen said." - from a USA Today article.
That comes out to roughly 238hrs a year.
I don't give that number to burden myself with a weight of guilt over time lost, but to inspire myself to believe that somehow, someway, 238hrs of my life could suddenly make a difference for God. Each and every year.
I want that.
Some of the changes I'm looking at, well, I'm not broadcasting right now exactly what the end result will look like because I keep thinking it will look strange. I'm stringing clothes line in my living room right now and I figure that is going to look odd enough in itself.But, aren't we suppose to look different? Our actions are suppose to be different as well, fruits are suppose to be present, but.. does it mean anything that we all seem to see all our 'stuff' as too much yet we don't do anything about it? I'm nervous about posting this, because deep down, I don't think most of the Christians I know will understand if I look too strange.
I'm afraid that you, my few Christian readers/family members/and friends will inform me that there's nothing wrong with the things I've got. You'll use words like "moderation" and "ridiculous" and "overboard". And maybe you would all be right. But, I've gone overbard for myself for 27 years. For a little while, I'm going to go to overboard for God and see what happens.
All in all though, it isn't about the 'stuff' itself. There's nothing sinful about my dryer, or tv.
This is all about money and energy, and time which all combined equal to a life that could be used to simply enjoy God and His creation that is simply wasted, inside my house where I'm not of any use to Gods kingdom, and where the money that God has graciously given me is put to lazy uses. We're busy entertaining ourselves. While Gods children are dying. It's easy to shrug it off. But, personally, I demand a lot of God. I want to see miracles from Him, I want to see supernatural gifts of tongues and interpretation, healing, discernment, knowledge, wisdom, miracles - I want to see it.
I want to see visions and dream dreams sent from God Himself.
If I'm going to ask that much from God... I need to reassess how much of me I'm giving God.