Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Place Your Life Before God

I love this reminder from Paul in his letter to the Roman belivers:

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

The Power of Stories

This quote from Scotty Smith jumped right out at me, so I had to share it. Stories. Hmmm?

We learn so much from each other's stories. The impact of monologues proffered from the lecture halls of academia cannot begin to compare with the power of a heart recounting tales from the variegated journey we call life. So much of God's Word comes to us in the form of story-telling. In both the Old and New Testament narratives we are encouraged and challenged as we enter into the heartache of sin and the joy of redemption as the history of salvation is so creatively and faithfully preserved for us. Pretty soon we realize that these stories are really our stories because we are a part of the same family and the same tapestry of failure and grace. Such is the power of stories. - Pastor Scotty Smith, from the Foreword of Soul 2 Soul

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Looking with Eyes of Love

While listening to a recent podcast "The God Journey" with        Wayne Jacobsen & Brad Cummings, I heard a profound statement that I just have to share.  One of their friends sent this quote: "If we look long enough and hard enough, we can find something to HATE about everyone."  Their comment was that the opposite of this is true also; but most specifically in this: "I think Jesus looked long enough, and hard enough, to find something to LOVE about everyone"

How's your vision?  Perhaps a new prescription will bring things more clearly into view...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Excerpt from a Make Way Partners newsletter

In the movie Dead Man Walking, based upon the true-to-life story of Sister Helen Prejean, Sister Helen befriends a man convicted of kidnapping, rape, and murder. She tells him, "You are a son of God, Matthew Poncelet." He breaks down, and says, "Nobody ever called me a son of God before. Called me a 'son-of-a-you-know-what' lots of times, but never no son of God. Thank you for loving me."

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.

Live as Father does

"Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that's charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You'll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we're at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don't condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity." ~ Jesus (Luke 6:31-38 MSG)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Loving on Jesus

It was so awesome to see our Life Group loving on Karl Friday night. Here is a hurting homeless man pouring out his broken heart to us, and being loved in return. He was ranting and raving and crying out for help. Oh, he didn't know it, but it was written all over him; "Help me!". After 15 or 20 minutes of this, Stephanie engages the character, Karl. It was awesome! She said, "So I hear what you are saying, but I have a question for you. What does healing look like to you?" That question stopped Karl in his tracks. It humbled him. I think it really made him come to terms with what he was talking about. He needed to put his pride aside, and allow healing to enter the picture. From that point on, it just seemed like everybody began to lovingly interject comments that hit Karl in the heart, and really blew him away. He felt loved. He felt accepted. Did I say he felt loved? Before we knew what happened, Karl was so relaxed and at peace, that he fell asleep right where he was sitting. All we could do was smile. It was an awesome display of loving on Jesus.

"...Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13 (The Message)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Where's your identity?

God doesn't seemed worried about whether we like him or have all of our theologies correct about him.

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?

Relational Tithe

Weird ?