Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I use worship to mean living the life God made for us - in other words, the most encompassing response of the whole of our lives to the whole of God made known in Jesus Christ. Worship is sharing in the life that is God's life in and for the world. Worship, then, will not refer to a particular form, musical or liturgical. It refers to the life-encompassing act of waking up to God in Christ by the Spirit with our whole being, living in communion with others who are doing likewise, and letting it show in the midst of a world for which such wakeful worship is to be a daily taste of the kingdom of love and justice that is coming."
~ The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor: Seeing Others Through the Eyes of Jesus
Monday, December 27, 2010
"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me." (Mt 20:37-40 MSG)
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Sadly, with individual interests on the stage, Spirit-filled fellowships turn into institutions, with all the baggage institutions seem to require. Personal agendas and concerns begin to rival one another, and eventually fellowship is corrupted or even broken. The body of Christ becomes a collection of churchgoers, and instead of one heart and mind, there are many.
The early church was utopian, the kind of community that everyone craves and no one believes is even possible. Christian movements always begin with a sense of unity. The excitement and newness of a fresh work of God seems to subvert everyone's petty agendas, while awe forces observers to realize that something greater than their individual selves is taking center stage. The power of God gently and thoroughly overcomes the selfish individuality of men and women. When God does wonders, people live in wonder. And living in wonder puts us in the audience rather than on stage. Wonder and unity work well together.
-from The One Year Worship the KING Devotional (Chris Tiegreen)
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Take the risk and "boldly go where no man has gone before" ~ make a difference (MAD) for eternity, sharing His GREAT love and allowing Father to receive all the glory!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Much is being said today about the economy and the need to save money, but let me ask this…what is your relational savings account looking like?
Having a solid relationship with others is like making deposits to a savings account. You add to it every time you give of your time, energy and wisdom. In the future your investment in people’s lives will compound in the form of responsibility, maturity, and mutual respect.
People who invest themselves in a relational savings plan have something to draw upon when tough times come. So think about that when you plan your week. Find time to invest this week, one-on-one, in your relationships.
I'd like to make a deposit please...
Friday, December 10, 2010
Written by Mary Southerland.
2 Corinthians 9:7 (NCV): "Each one should give as you have decided in your heart to give. You should not be sad when you give, and you should not give because you feel forced to give. God loves the person who gives happily."
One of my favorite authors, Richard Foster, writes, "Giving with glad and generous hearts has a way of routing out the tough old miser within us. Even the poor need to know that they can give. Just the very act of letting go of money, or some other treasure, does something within us. It destroys the demon greed." God loves to see us give for no other reason than the joy of giving.
The true story is told of a self-made millionaire who had lived in New York City his entire life. Born and raised in a ghetto, he worked hard and achieved much. Anyone who knew this man would testify to the fact that he was generous--to a fault, some would say. One year, the man was disturbed by an attitude of selfishness and greed that seemed to pervade the Christmas holiday season and everyone around him. Not one to condemn, the millionaire decided that since he had been given so much, it was up to him to do his part in combating greed and came up with an unusual plan. Wearing a disguise, this man stuffed his pockets with $100 dollar bills and set out for a walk on the streets of New York City. When he saw someone in need, he whipped out one of the bills, pressed it into that person's hands and with a "Merry Christmas," made his way down the street. "It was the most wonderful part of my holiday season," the man reported, and he has been doing it ever since.
God is much more interested in our motive for giving than in the gift itself. If that motive is tainted with greed, the gift simply does not count. A powerful way to guard against greed is to choose joy over greed. Giving with joy is Kingdom giving! Before you give, ask yourself, "What's in it for me?" If the answer is "nothing," then go ahead and give the gift.
When our children were in middle school, we owned what I affectionately called a "Mini-Gym." It was a set of bar bells, a weight lifting bench and a few free weights. Both Jered and Danna loved their "gym" and used it almost every day. When Christmas rolled around, we learned that two of their good friends, Jeff and Jeremy, were not going to have much of a Christmas because their dad had lost his job. Jered came up with a plan. "Mom," he said, "Danna and I have talked about it. We think that Jeff and Jeremy would love to have the gym. But we don't want them to know we gave it to them, because they might be embarrassed. What do you think?" I thought I was in the presence of two joyful givers and quickly joined them in their plan.
A few days before Christmas, Jered and I took the gym apart and loaded it in our car while Danna found a huge red bow. Together, we made a sign that read, "Merry Christmas! We love you!" Danna blew up balloons while Jered dug out some Christmas lights. We enlisted the help of a neighbor who had a key to our friend's house and joined in the fun by agreeing to find out when the coast was clear, unlocking the back door and letting us in. At the designated time, off we went, laughing and singing Christmas carols. We parked down the street until the neighbor called, giggling, to let us know she was all set. Once we were inside, we raced to assemble the gym, post the sign, tie the balloons and tape the lights to the front door, leading our friends to their Christmas surprise on the back porch. We then high-tailed it home as if the FBI was hot on our trail! The neighbor reported that just minutes after the boys returned, she heard shouting and "whooping and hollering." The joy of that Christmas still lingers today. Greed doesn't hold a candle to joyful giving!
Greed is never satisfied and never at rest. There is always something more to be gained and someone else to outdo. Take sheep, for example. Sheep are dumb enough to eat until they are sick. They simply do not know when to stop. A heart that is filled with greed behaves the same way. I am afraid our heart motives are all too frequently self-serving when it comes to giving. Our pride is at stake, so we give to impress others. Perhaps, we give out of fear and guilt, hoping to buy God's forgiveness from our sin. People are watching, so we give in order to gain their approval. What is the solution? Giving! Giving is a powerfully effective deterrent to greed when we give for no other reason than the joy of giving.
Proverbs 11:24-25: "Some people give much but get back even more. Others don't give what they should and end up poor. Whoever gives to others will get richer; those who help others will themselves be helped."
I once read an article that described three types of givers. The first kind of giver is the "flint." To get anything out of a flint, you have to hammer it, and even then, you only get chips and sparks. A second kind of giver is the "sponge." You have to squeeze it and the more pressure you use, the more you will get. The third kind of giver is the honeycomb. It just overflows. What kind of giver are you? Experience the joy of Christmas when you experience the joy of giving. Merry Christmas!
Father, thank You for all You have given me. Help me to be the kind of giver that points people to You. I choose against my pride or any wrong motive for giving Christmas gifts this year. I choose to keep my eyes on You and my glance on the world. I love you! In Jesus' name, amen.
Now It's Your Turn
We make a living by what we get out of life, but we make a life by what we give and how we give it. Beecher wrote, "No man can tell whether he is rich or poor by turning to his ledger. The heart makes a man rich. He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has." How do these words relate to your life this Christmas?
Take inventory of your "stuff." Make an actual list. Then set aside a time of prayer and solitude during which you give each one to God.
Consider giving an anonymous gift and recruit your family to help.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thanks for allowing God to use you this weekend through “Be the Church”! Here are some stories of how some of you were the church:
I wanted to let you know that our life group visited 4 homeless camps in the very early hours before daybreak this morning. I am grateful to TSC and to Justin for encouraging us to take a little detour and even some risk. This was a very different experience for our Life Group (except for 1 who was our "experienced guide" & some of her friends) :o) We took breakfast, coffee, fruit, water, and other food items, blankets and socks and went to parts of town my eyes had never seen. God showed us a kind of pain and desperation we hardly knew existed in our community, yet these folks were all so thankful and polite to us. We saw young and old; men and women, but almost all of them had a smile and a story for us. When I snuggle under the covers of my warm, safe bed tonight after eating way too much for dinner, I’ll be praying for my new friends.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Mt 7:13-14 NIV)
How has Jesus asked us to live? Are we committed and lovingly obedient to it? How is that changing the way we live? Are we hearing His voice?
"Stay off the paved path" ~ ERM The Barbarian Way
Monday, November 1, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
This resonates loudly within me...and I'm sure for those who share burritos under the bridge too!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
(2 Cor 10:3-6 MSG)
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Although petty, the things that we battled over were usually always things in limited supply, things that were scarce.
I think we learn to fear scarcity at an early age. The fear of not having enough causes us to race to beat others to get what we want. Before we know it this mentality infiltrates every part of our lives.
We're afraid of a friend (or colleague) becoming better friends with someone else, so we don't make the introduction
We're afraid the store might run out of that fancy new thing we want so we slap our credit card down and impulsively buy it
We keep our freezers stocked because we don't want to go hungry
We give our financial resources sparingly because we're afraid we won't have enough for retirement
We don't celebrate the accomplishment of a co-worker because we're afraid they'll get promoted sooner
I believe that this mindset of scarcity is one of the most dangerous enemies to great leadership. Our unwillingness to champion others, to give to others, or to make a way for others is a dangerous place to find ourselves.
In our efforts to guard and protect ourselves we actually sabotage our leadership influence.
Scarcity is in opposition to great leadership because I believe one of the greatest responsibilities of leaders is to generously develop, inspire, and empower those you lead.
If you are constantly protecting what you have, you rarely have time to invest in the people around you.
"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."
I'll be honest; scarcity can get the best of me. It's one of the greatest challenges to my leadership.
How about you? Do you battle scarcity? What do you do to combat it in your life?
Posted: 20 Sep 2010 05:42 AM PDT on Catalysts Blog
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Second, many church leaders take this issue quite seriously. And each congregation has its own financial challenges, its own burdens to carry. But if God's provision is going to meet the poor where they live, we must honestly assess what our church budgets say about our true priorities. Is meeting the needs of the marginalized a central or peripheral concern? What material and aesthetic comforts are we addicted to, and what sacrifices must we make so that all people have their basic needs met? Is the gospel we preach good news for the rich and poor alike? Are both being filled?"
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
~ Michael Slaughter ~ Ginghamsburg Church ~ Tipp City, Ohio
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
1 John 2:15-17 (MSG)
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Let go, we will
Be here, be now
Slow down, be still
Breathe in, refill
Be here, be now
If you choose to love
To know that the call
Is to give all you are
To give love away, away
Rise, rise, people of love rise
People of love rise, give yourself away
Rise, rise, people of love rise
People of love rise, give yourself away
Give yourself away, give yourself away
Slow down, just breathe
Be still, believe
Be here, be now
Slow down and see
It’s all you need
Be loved and free
And to hear the call, is to give your love away
And to hear the call, is to give your love away
And to hear the call, is to give your life away
Is to give your life away
We’re not safe, we’re not safe
But we will rise
1. Chemistry . a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected.
2. something that causes activity between two or more persons or forces without itself being affected.
3. a person or thing that precipitates an event or change: His imprisonment by the government served as the catalyst that helped transform social unrest into revolution.
4. a person whose talk, enthusiasm, or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic, or energetic.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
By Christian Buckley | Humanitarian Jesus
"So what you’re really saying, what you really want people to do, is to take part of their tithe, you know the 10%, and direct that to social causes and need, right?" Being that it was a live interview, I kindly responded, “Not at all. I want people to abandon the 10% view of life and adopt Christ’s actual call to give a 100% of what wasn’t theirs to begin with.” Silence -- followed by a rapid shift to, “How about that interview with Francis Chan, great guy.” So there it was in a burst of radio failure. He wanted a safe answer and I gave him danger. He wanted a small ask and I told him there was none. He had a 10% view of devotion, asking how much of his stuff he had to give up, and I was challenging that by asking how much of God’s stuff he was planning to keep. For most of us seeing the ravages of poverty, homelessness, disease, and hunger in our world is not the problem. And for the average church and Christian out there today wanting to do something about those issues isn’t the problem either. The real problem is that we approach giving and helping and serving with a 10% mindset. Somewhere along the line we cut a deal with ourselves that if we gave 10% of our time, talents, and resources to God we could rightly hold on to the other 90%. As a result we have sadly created a culture of 10% Christian living and even worse, an understanding that the other 90% was actually ours to begin with. The starting point for living as a Christian humanitarian is to wake up every day seeing our stuff, our lives, and our time as 100% Christ’s for his work and his glory. We have to abandon our bargains and balances and resist the temptation to ask if we have done enough. We stand no chance of making a serious impact in the world around us and the brokenness that exists if all we can spare of ourselves is 10%. Imagine if Christ had adopted a 10% world view. What if he gave only 10% of his time and passion while he was on earth and considered the other 90% his? What if he could only have spared 10% of his life on the cross or had chosen to take on just 10% of our brokenness and sin? Christ gave 100% of everything he had and everything he was to the people around him and to us. Do we really believe that God sacrificed 100% of his son for 10% of our lives? The role of the church in this new era of the social gospel and Christian humanitarianism isn’t really to show people global needs or create pathways for involvement because great advancements already exist in those areas. The pressing task is to abandon the 10% Christian mentality we have accepted and give 100% of who we are and what we have to following Christ and investing in the world around us for His glory. If we do that, the how and what and where of humanitarian investment will follow as details. If we don’t, the details are irrelevant.
Monday, August 30, 2010
I wasn't listening to you.
How often does this ring true for you? I know it's all too familiar for me. What causes my inattention is often focusing on what's going on with me and the world I think I control. This prevents me from really hearing what's being said on the surface, and way down deep in the soul. I need to listen with my ears and with my heart! So often I hear the information and then begin to process that in my logical and often prejudiced mindset; so I can dispense the appropriate response. I feel the need to "fix it" and give the steps necessary to clear the path to freedom (it worked for me before). I'll say what I think needs to be said instead of hearing what was said and be silent! When something is shared from the heart, I must put aside the urge to do my thing, and really connect heart-to-heart with my friend. As I hear their heart, I'll know how to respond through the Father's love. I'm learning how to listening now...
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I need to focus more on what the value of the coin can do than calling "heads" or "tails"!
Monday, August 16, 2010
“One day I was watching the old movie on Moses, and saw him split the Red Sea. I turned to my mom and asked if that was real. She replied the movie itself was not real but the actual story was. I then as a curious boy started asking question to find answers to this incredible true story.”
He continued to talk for a bit, but I started to tune out and make sure my son was doing okay. The next thing I remember tuning into was as follows.
“I just need a volunteer. You, please come here. You will not have to talk; I just need you to stand facing the wall with your back to the audience.” The lights dimmed further as to make the mood more serious and reflective. Slow “guilt” music began to play. “Here this boy is going to represent Jesus. Back when Jesus was alive he knew he came here to save you all. I met a girl last year that was hurting. She was cutting herself and couldn’t stop. I met another girl who was suicidal and another family who just lost their house and income. “The list went on for a bit. “Who knows what you might be going through today? Perhaps you are a wife ready to pack her bags and leave her husband… (so on with the guilt/fear questions). You are hurting and Jesus is ready to take away all your guilt and pain no matter what your situation is. See these screens with the crosses? Jesus endured the pain, so you do not have to. (Goes back to boy standing on stage) Before nailing him to the cross, they beat him so badly he was unrecognizable. (Doing motions around the “volunteer”) – The soldiers took whips the size of this microphone, and gouged into his back. It bled and oozed. Jesus was dehydrated, and fell to the ground”
At this point again, it began to get severely graphic for a room full of kids, that were simply there for a backpack. All the specific gruesome details of the actual “hanging Jesus on the cross” I cannot relay properly. The speaker continuing….
“The last words Jesus said were “It is finished”. So for all of you today you have nothing to worry about. Jesus died for you. (Dismisses the boy) I have another example and I have my two boys to help me out here. (Two men from the sidelines came onstage) – This guy here will represent “the enemy”. This one here will represent you. I will represent God. As you live your life, the enemy will beat you down. When you trust in God and call on his name, the Bible says that the enemy will go away. He will be right there by your side.”
A few “Amen’s” erupted from around the sanctuary.
“As you can see God stepped in, and shooed away the enemy. As you go through life, you may stray and the enemy will come back, as he is always trying to.”
They repeated the stupid play once or twice more. The men then returned to standing on the side.
“I want to ask you all to stand with me. (Music and lights grow louder and darker. All I could think, was here it comes.) I know you all are here for backpacks, but we want to share this story with you. You will get your backpacks I promise. Right now what I have to say is important. It has nothing to do with you joining the church. The pastor and his staff are more concerned with spreading the story of Christ no matter what church you go to or where you are in your life. I am sure you all have heard of Heaven and Hell. I have had the chance to talk to people on the brink of death who have said that they had a glimpse of either Heaven or Hell. The ones who where “in Hell”, woke up gasping for air in a panic. They said the pain was intense and they could feel their soul burning as if they were above a bonfire. They felt the burning and that, my friends, will last an eternity. You know how bad it feels to get burnt. Imagine that feeling always there never going away. It sounds like torture. The ones I spoke to that had a glimpse of Heaven, said they didn’t want to return to Earth, it was so incredible.”
At this point I was appalled at the tactics this guy/institution was up to. They were literally just scaring the living Jesus into them. Way to make a no choice, guilt ridden, fear striking speech.
“I now want to start with the children. Let us pretend there is a line of tape on the ground; one in front of you is white, and one behind you is red. Are you ready to cross the white line and make a change in your life and have a personal relationship with Jesus? I am about to invite you ALL but once again I want to start with the kids. The first “show” I did (and yes, he used the word show), there were swarms of people around this alter taking that next step in their lives. It was an amazing turnout. So I now invite the kids to come forward to the alter if you want to have that personal relationship with Jesus we have been talking about.”
No lie, I believe 85%-90% of the kids/teens were instantly up at that alter. Why wouldn’t they be? They were there for a backpack and were then all the sudden scared to death by this corralled situation. So, common sense, we now have all the kids upfront, time to target the parents/guardians!
“The little ones have made the decision to change theirs lives, now parents, I want you to consider the same. It does not matter where you are in your life. It is not about joining the church. I have a friend over here who visited a sick man everyday at the hospital until he died. He was not a part of our church, but he still took the time to let him know he cared and wanted to share the love of God with him. I am here to do the same. So parents, loved ones, I invite you now to join the youth up here if you also want to take the step toward having a relationship with Jesus.”
As in so many “institutions”, I could see and “feel” the crazy amount of ushers/counselors getting ready to move in on the people standing up front. They had some information/accepting Christ into your heart packets. So cliché! The speaker then led the whole group in a “Prayer of Salvation”. They all repeated it cult style, then were cheered for when finished. Like a miracle, the lights became bright again, music turned to something SUPER casual, and the people were all instructed to see a counselor/usher to get their “packet” on the way back to their seats. Keep in mind he was talking for a good 40-45 minutes or so! As everyone dispersed, I breathed a sigh of relief because the backpack I had come for was finally about to be given to me. The speaker switched into fun mode again.
“Alright kiddos! Who is ready for their backpack?!? (no one really cheered, it was asked several times and the crowd started to interact just a little with excitement) Before we do that, it is time to give away this brand new bike to some lucky person in here! The Nintendo Wii will be given away by a random drawing from all the names who came to Operation Backpack! Okay let’s do a dance-off. I want to see all ages up here dancing for the bike! “ The crowd starts to perk up again because who doesn’t want a free bike? About 7-8 people were picked to go onstage and dance. “Okay, start the music!” Everyone onstage danced their butts off. One kid stuck out because he did this maneuver that landed him on his back offstage. He thankfully was fine, and the “crowd judging” began. The kid that landed on his back, was the winner. I tell you this because the most shocking thing came out of the speakers mouth right after he announced that the kid was the winner.
“Where are your parents son?” He looks into the crowd and points to the boys parents, “I have to ask, were you on drugs when you were pregnant with him? I have NEVER seen any moves like that before!” Everyone, chuckled and passed it off.
We were then told we would be dismissed aisle by aisle to go up front to receive our backpacks.
From there, my son and I got our backpack and left the sanctuary. We did not stick around after the “planned salvation speech”, and quickly headed home!
For the record, there were too many inserts and details to remember, but I tried to get the gist of everything.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
- Jesus Freaks Vol II
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
"The Jesus kind of love, the love that speaks the truth and yet does not try to control, is supernatural. It is a very confident position and it comes from God. Will it always win? No, but the point is not to win, the point is to love, even to our deaths. So make this commitment, I will tell the truth to the best of my ability, I will not try to control, and there is nothing anybody can do to get me to stop loving them."
~ Donald Miller (from his blog post 8/2/10)
Friday, July 23, 2010
~ Paul the Apostle (1Cor 9:19-23 MSG)
Thursday, July 22, 2010
~ more from Donald Miller
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
~ Donald Miller
Sunday, July 18, 2010
the Master; now live him. You're deeply rooted in him. You're well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you've been taught.
School's out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. – Colossians 2:6-7 (The Message)
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Burritos full of lvoe
How wonderful the aroma
That has found their hearts
So hungry for significance
Lvoe, peace, dirt, smiles
And hearts longing for lvoe
A suffering people lost to society’s cares
A broken people needing helping hands
A hurting people that look like Jesus
A special people who know how to share
A dirty people with hurting hearts
A tender people with golden hearts
A least of these people that Jesus said to love
A proud people hanging on to dignity
Picking up pieces
Of broken hearts and spirits
Walking through the pain with them
One step at a time
Loving and learning and being the blessing
They’re the same kind of different as me
They’re just like you
A hopeful people who bless you right back
A wonderful people who stay on my heart
An infectious people who know the meaning of want
A strong people who know what it means to suffer
A suspious people leery of liars
Burritos full of lvoe
How wonderful the aroma
- Jim Burnham, Spring 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
I thought this was pretty interesting. It’s from the Mars Hill Bible Church theology:
The word theology comes from two Greek words: “theos”, meaning “God”, and “logos”, meaning “word”. So theology is words about God.
When we put to words what we believe about God, we discover that he has been writing a story of hope and redemption for all the world. His story is a movement from creation to new creation, and he has given us a role to play in that story, in the restoration of our relationships with God, each other, ourselves, and creation.
Since story is central to our belief about God, our words about God–our theology–exists in the form of a narrative [see below]. You won’t find isolated text references or a list of specific propositions in it, because ultimately neither of those things best reflects what we believe about God. What we believe about God is at the heart of what we believe also about each other, ourselves, and creation: that ultimately everything is part of the one great story.
In the beginning God created all things good. He was and always will be in a communal relationship with himself–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God created us to be relational as well and marked us with an identity as his image bearers and a missional calling to serve, care for, and cultivate the earth. God created humans in his image to live in fellowship with him, one another, our inner self, and creation. The enemy tempted the first humans, and darkness and evil entered the story through…
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Rom 12:1-2 (MSG)
How's your life offering of worship today? Is it pleasing to Father?
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
How's your vision? Perhaps a new prescription will bring things more clearly into view...
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Reflecting upon Sister Prejean and Matthew Poncelet reminded me of what I often tell people who think, "some girls might be trafficked, but others 'choose' prostitution" I tell them, "No five-year-old little girl ever sits on her daddy's lap and says, 'When I grow up, I want to be a prostitute.'"
When we see a prostitute on the street in the light of a daughter of God whom life pressed, punished, and pummeled to the point where she felt prostitution was her only choice for survival, then, we catch a glimpse of her in the innocence of childhood gone awry, sweeping her far from the beautiful creation God intended her to be.
Likewise, I doubt any trafficker or murderer went fishing with his daddy one bright sunny Saturday morning when he was five years old and said,"Daddy, I think I want to be a rapist when I grow up." What did satan -- the enemy of God and all of those He loves -- do to that little boy to destroy what God created him to be?
I wonder what satan has done to blind each of us from finding our own glorious incarnation of Him shining through us, like portals of Christ. Do you feel the splendor of Him working in and through you each and every day because you know exactly what He creatted you to be, do, live?
I wonder how we might transform the world if we saw all those who participate in the suffering of the oppressed as sons of God. After all, they are exactly like those whose life has blown up to the point they find themselves on a cross, next to our Lord being offered paradise.
At the very least I bet we'd be transformed, and I suppose that is where it all starts -- our transformed hearts blazing love, compassion, and forgiveness so brightly it burns the dross of sin from the world.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
He's also confident enough to trust us.
And give us second chances.
And hundreds of chances.
And thousands of chances.
And millions of chances.
It would be great if humanity had that sense of identity -- of being so sure of who we are and that we're loved that we could risk opening our arms and our hearts in the face of someone else misunderstanding us, or judging us, or hurting us. ~ Stacey Robbins
Are you living in the identity of His love? If not, why not? If you are, what difference do it make?
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Real wisdom, God's wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.
Friday, May 14, 2010
"The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
- John 1:14, The Message
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Nice to meet you Steve!
Monday, May 3, 2010
- Struggling in the Spirit
"What's this? Fools out shopping for wisdom! They wouldn't recognize it if they saw it." - Proverbs 17:16 (The Message)
Daily, God wants us to discover more about Him and how He wants to be involved with us. This is an intensely personal process. Try as we might to standardize that relationship by offering a checklist of actions necessary to cultivate it, we will always fall short. No living relationship thrives through the use of a checklist because it is far more dynamic than any list can facilitate. God can be personal enough to develop this friendship with each of us as we invite Him to do so.
- Wayne Jacobsen, He Loves Me!
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Ed was one of our last stop's of the day yesterday. We were looking for Bones, and spotted Ed in the alley behind the Downtown Shreve Memorial Library. We stopped and brought him coffee and a breakfast burrito, and started up a conversation with him. He railed against the Republicans and the people of First United Methodist (who like to be in the spot light). He told us we are not like those people at First United Methodist, who just want to be in front of the camera helping the homeless. He informed us we were "Christians". I'm not sure where he got that idea. I never told him. He told us he had been on the streets for a little over 18 and a half years. Right now he is living on the back porch of a print shop downtown. He said the owner trusts him because he does not smoke, use alcohol, or drugs. I would love to sit down with him and dialog for a few hours. He is interesting, but peculiar (but aren't we all). As we were leaving and saying our goodbyes, all of the guys shook hands with Ed. Tina went to hug him, as usual for her and Lorie, and I thought he was going to have a stroke. He stiffened up and stuck out his hand to her, but she hugged him anyhow. Ha! Poor guy has been without affection for so long he don't know how to accept it. That's kind of the way I am with trying to accept Father's affections for me though.
I will probably still call him Wheels, but not to his face. I'm glad I know his street name now. Somehow, it just makes a difference to me.
I wonder how he got the name Bones. It's kind of a creepy name. On the bright side, maybe he is a great dominos player.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Don't allow love to turn into lust, setting off a downhill slide into sexual promiscuity, filthy practices, or bullying greed. Though some tongues just love the taste of gossip, those who follow Jesus have better uses for language than that. Don't talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn't fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect.
You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God.
Don't let yourselves get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with Him. Don't even hang around people like that.
You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You're out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.
Eph 5:1-10 (The Message)