Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Boot Camp vs. Nursing Homes

Eric Ludy's latest sermon was on the evil of the artistic. As much as I enjoy his sermons, I groaned a little bit when I realized what was coming.
He was going to tell me why what most churches are doing today is wrong.

In his words (primarily at least) he lays it out as they have begun to value the artistic over the truth. Drawing people in with games, clever gimmicks, and stuff has become more valuable than the truth we are commissioned to be sharing.

It's why my old church bowled turkeys and showed Toy Story to the kids. It's why John Hagee at Cornerstone church hired the Sea World and Six Flags folks to put on their Christmas drama. It's why missionaries throw cammo bags and t/shirts into the crowds and pastors dutifully spend Gods worship time honoring veterans and parents and softball teams and their country.

It makes me incredibly sad. I'm tired of non-Christian churches. I'm tired of the fact that in a city with hundreds (probably thousands) of churches, I can't seem to find one that preaches the true gospel and backs it up with their lives. I'm tired of the fact that it feels like Christianity has lost. Christian doesn't mean Christian any more. It means something entirely different and foolish, and deadly.

And I'm tired of talking about how that is what the church is.

Which is why I groaned a bit to realize that's what Ludy would be preaching on Sunday.

In 102 days, Lord Willing, I'm moving across states to join a church that says "God will pull you out of the concentration camp, put you into boot camp, so He can send you back into the concentration camp so you can get others out."
I'm ready for boot camp. I'm ready to be pushed and challenged beyond what I am in Christ right now.
I'm ready to not just talk about Christianity but with a group of believers begin living it out in an even broader scope that I am now.

I want a boot camp life - not a spiritual nursing home where the wounded and sick doze their lives away well medicated with biblical sound bites.

Monday, February 20, 2012

At His mercy

Yes, He is faithful.

So often, in what I've written in the past I've been thoughtful about certain issues or ideas and some random event from the day gives me a helpful example of something I've been mulling over.
It's been harder though, with two babies to actually stop and do that. My mind is full, or empty, it is chaotic of sorts and the thoughts don't settle as well as they used to.
I used to think if pages of paragraphs, now I think in sentences.

Today, however, all I could think is that God pulled me through a day exactly as I had asked Him to in last nights post.
I was able to accomplish what needed to be accomplished.
I was able to put off the things that needed to be put off for the kids sake.
I was able to make a decision about a possible event today that unknowingly to me, was the wisest one.
I was able to interact with the kids even better than normal.
The babies are usually well behaved and happy, but today it seemed even more so. Precious, for the first time, was actually hanging onto her crib and jumping up and down she was so happy today. For someone that can't walk - that seems like a big deal.
I was able to do extra and I was able to do less, and at the end of the night my house felt like a home and there was a sweet peace to the days events.

Dear sweet Lord, how I love you.

I want much. I want much because of days like this where I see how an Almighty and Powerful King of all Kings cared about the little details and showed Himself to be - as always - my Abba Father. I regret not bringing the smaller things to Him as I often consider them unnecessary and have greater, more important things to focus on when I talk with Him.
I want more of Him. And I don't say that with grief because I have so little, but with the simple knowledge that though I have great things of God - I have only gotten just a taste of what's possible. Yet I feel like I want to pull myself back from searching those things out and just rest as a simple child and say "Father, I want more."
I want much.
So dear Father, lead me onward. Do what I can't do for myself, and that is to get more of You. Make me the mother You've called me to be and not the mother I can be on my own. Make me the aunt/sister/daughter/friend you've called me to be, and not the one I can be on my own. I desire that You be glorified in my life by my words and actions. Lead me. Teach me. Bring me along. I trust You. Help me trust You more. I love You. Help me love You more. I need help Father, to be the things that You have called me to do. I've never so fully realized it as I have now but dear Father, Lord and King - I am at Your mercy.
Have mercy on me. 

Psalms 30
 I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.

O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved. LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled. I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication. What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth? Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper. Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;  To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Trying and transforming

I'm not as good a mother to two infants as I was to one.

I see it most clearly in how my "worlds best baby" became far more tearful after her competition for my attention and energy moved in.

And it frustrates me.

So I try harder.
And while some of my tries work, some of them just fail.

And in that, along with some really good strong sermons, I've finally begun to understand better Gods transforming work inside of a person.
Oh, if you'd asked me before if I understood it I'd have said yes, but my focus was aways on the "trying harder".

There are many things that need changing, and I will still, and always, try harder - but now the strongest emphasis is on a heartfelt plea "Lord, I need YOU to accomplish this work in me. Please."

Trying is good, and necessary. But I need transformation in some a very specific area so that I can be what both of these kids need.

Finally grasping onto transformation is what has truly changed my walk with Christ. I was desperate for Him before, but now I see so much better a simple and utter dependancy on Him that I just didn't understand before. I'd have said I was dependant on Him; it's the right answer, it's obvious - sheesh, He could take away my breath with a mere thought! - but I didn't quite grasp how my every endeavor was so utterly dependant on Him.

I probably do not fully grasp it still since, thinking I knew so much about Christianity before, I still seem to be learning so much lately. But this I know: God has called me to be a foster parent, and now, with Precious, He is calling me into parenthood itself. And if He wants me to be successful at it by His standards then He needs to transform the parts of me that just can't wrap themselves around what is the best course of action and make it happen.

Meanwhile,  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; (Philippians 1:6), I'll just keep trying.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Do I trust Him?

It's interesting how things change by degrees.

Someone asks for $100 to pay a bill and asks you to trust them to return the money. You consider it, then make the loan. "I trust you."

Then the next day they come back and they suggest the "Trust" game. You fall backwards, they'll catch you. Just trust them. You consider it, and ultimately decide you trust them enough to risk it.

The next day they come back and they want you to talk about a painful secret you've kept all your life. The hesitation there is longer.

It's the same word, every time,  but there is trust, and then there is trust, and then there is trust.

I've been challenged by Eric Ludy's constant chant in his sermons - "GOD CAN NOT  LIE - Do you trust Him?" Over and over and over again that same message appears in his sermons until one day it really sunk into my heart and I began to ask myself - Do I?

Maybe I've stepped past the first trust, maybe I've even fallen backwards and risked the second trust, but am I to the next degree of trust? And. even so, I have the feeling that if I do reach that platform, there will be yet another degree to be seen and challenged by.

I'm not worried about painful secrets, or falling backwards, or even $100. But I do wonder, when so much of my life is a question - what the answers are. And in the absence of answers, what are my thoughts going to be about the questions? Do I trust Him?

God is good. I've seen it, lived it, proven it. It's a fact.
But I've noticed that even when I follow facts and let them lead me, that I walk along with questions and concerns.

I like that I'm seeing this question in my heart right now, before...
I appreciate that I have time to pray about it, and ask God to bring me to the level of trust in Him that I should be at.
I'm thankful to be listening to a good preacher who is asking me these questions.
Lord, t'is so sweet to trust in You,
Oh for grace, to trust You more.