September 29, 2011

Your Command Is Garbled

Prayer by Walter Brueggemann


We imagine you coming into the barracks with your insistent demand.
We imagine you addressing
the sun to "move out,"
the sky --"let there be light,"
the sea--"stand back."

We imagine you addressing Israel, "be my people,"
and the church "follow me."

We even imagine you addressing us, each of us and all of us
with the order of the day.
We imagine...but the din of other commands,
of old loyalties and unfinished business
and tired dreams
cause us not to hear well, not to listen, not to notice,
and your command is garbled.

So come again with your mandate, with the clarity of your imperative.
We listen, because we know in deep ways that your yoke is easy
and your burden is light.
Come among us, because we are yours, and ours is a listening mood.
Give us ears and then hands and hearts and feet for your good news.
Amen

(From Awed to Heaven, Rooted to Earth: Prayers of Walter Brueggemann)

This was the prayer I read this morning in my quiet time. I loved it and thought I would share.

September 28, 2011

Be the love.


I have been thinking about 14 year old Jamey Rodemeyer since I heard his story as told by his parents and the Today Show. I am not sure how to properly express what is inside me about this. Bullying is wrong. Hateful words are never right.

My thoughts then lead me to how many "Christians" I have heard say hateful things about those that struggle with SSA (same sex attraction). Not only have I heard people say it, but they aren't even embarrassed, or ashamed of such cruel words pelting out of their mouths.

I think about how the Pharisee's, those that practiced religion to the law (or at least they led all their followers to believe they did), those that professed to be the best and have all the answers, were the one's that Christ had a problem with. The Pharisee's looked down on Jesus for hanging out with the "wrong" crowd. The prostitutes, the tax collectors, the women whose reputation were in serious question. He hung out with the people who needed him most. The one's who thought they had it all together, had no use for this Jesus who shared meals with the wrong crowd.

They were wrong, they were bullies. Jesus told them in scripture, Matthew 7, 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"

The Pharisee's had no heart, their noses were stuck in the air, they found themselves better than the man on the street.

That is not Jesus' way. He humbles himself to serve man, He washes the feet of His friends, He stands up for a woman who is embarrassing herself to honor Him. He even says of this woman who is being looked on with disdain from the high noses around her, that, whenever the gospel was preached her story would be told.

I want Jesus' way. I want to be a lost soul that was redeemed that oozes the love of Christ, not a lost soul turned Pharisee.

As a Christian it is my desire to be formed daily more into the image of Christ. There is no desire in my heart that trumps that. The Apostle Paul prays this for those he is teaching. I wont ever be fully formed, but each day I can strive to be more like Christ. Each day I pray those words. Father God, help me be more like Christ, in word, deed, heart, wisdom and compassion. When I strive it is not of my own ability to be transformed, striving for me has now become prayer, reflection, meditation. Striving has been being committed to time with God alone for Him to do His miraculous work within me. I make myself available, He does the supernatural.

I have been the woman of questionable character that Jesus cleansed, then I became a Pharisee, that Jesus broke, now all I want is Him. That old hymn just came to mind. "Oh to be like Thee". I want to be someone who is not afraid to stand up for the oppressed, to love the unlovable, to have kind words drip from my lips not harsh and cruel.

The fruit of the Spirit is how we will know if we belong to Christ, it is how others will know they are loved by Christ through us. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness and Self-Control. Each day these words are my guide to where I am inside. Each day I am convicted of where I failed, but that is where I will pray into more and more, until my flesh nature gives way to the Giver of Life, the Giver of Love.

I didn't know Jamey. If I did and I knew he was being bullied, I would have put my hand in his and blessed him. I would have told him he was loved. I would have told him that with Christ by your side no evil can win against him. And I would have showed up. I know his parents didn't know this was happening, he had been strong for them. So what that means to me is that there might be someone who is around me that hasn't told their parents that they are really hurting, they are drowning in fear and despair. It is my job to be open to where God leads me to serve these precious souls in my path.

And now I can hear through the internet that some might read these words above and wonder when I would tell them that living a homosexual lifestyle is wrong. I can love him, but when do I tell him he needs to get his act together. I would say to you that those who struggle with SSA already know those passages; scripture and verse. They have probably heard it from at least a hundred other do gooders in their life, they already know that to be in a typical church that if they were to just "change" they would be welcomed.

Christ's love was not conditional.
Why would someone want to be like a Christian when all they do is go around putting rules on other people, holding signs to tell the world what is wrong with them, finding fault among each other and those around them.

The cool thing about Jesus is that He is the one that does the convicting and the changing. We get the awesome job of loving others. Just like Christ did with me when He became the Lord of my life, He will gently convict all of us with places we need to have his help in. Places where He can transform within us if we only will allow Him. Sometimes He leaves us with the thorn in the flesh, as He did with Paul, but that makes us no less loved. It just means that there is a message He needs to get out through us, or His timing is different than ours, in our weakness we show His strength.

Take it from me, when someone told me what I was doing wrong, I dug my feet in. When Christ called me a new direction it was a different story.

Being love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control to others does not water down the message of Christ. It makes it shine and draws others to Him.

May your day be filled with the fruit of the Spirit, inside and outside.

Stop Bullying!

I keep thinking about how Jamey Rodemeyer was bullied before and after his death, praying for his family, praying for all those currently being bullied and praying for the hearts of those who are the perpetrators to have soft hearts and compassion and to see that all have value. I loved the pin that his mom wore on the Today show. Thought I would make my own in Jamey's honor. May we be a people who bless with our words not curse.

September 19, 2011

Monday of Summit Week

Where to start. The last post was from our Boston and D.C. vacation. Pictures of our fun. This summer was a blast, but what it didn't do for me was give me any rest. I wouldn't trade it for the world, but it left me worn out at the start of school. This is not a good thing. I still don't feel like I have caught up. A huge part of that tiredness has come from my three kids all participating in school sports. This is a first for us. Up until this year we have been hyper-sensitive about down time for our kids and us too. We want down time. Our kids want down time. We love to eat dinner as a family and be together at night. I guess we still do, but what has changed is that we don't get to all be home and eat until about 7:30pm.

One of the places that God is working on me is to be present in each moment, and also to be a peaceful within. I do a pretty good job of this on my own, but once chaos ensues or busyness abounds, this becomes a bit more challenging. I believe that God is helping me to learn peace in chaos. I can't always control my surroundings, there are going to be times that are busy, and with God's transformations I can learn to have a peaceful spirit no matter the circumstances.

Spiritual disciplines have become integral for this transformation process to happen for me. It is in the quiet of the morning when my heart is devoted and focused on God that God's peace becomes tangible. Spiritual discipline's themselves have no power, but what they do is allow me to stop and listen, stop and pray, as scripture says, be still and know, most importantly it gives me time to stop and adore God. That is where I spend most of my time is in adoration of the Lord. I don't know how to explain this, I am assuming there are no words to explain fully, but to just waste time with God just reveling in His greatness is my most favorite part of my devotional time.

This thought brings me back to what Mother Teresa said to Henri Nouwen when he asked her for guidance on how to live for God, and she told him, "spend an hour every day in adoration of your Lord, and don't do anything you know is wrong." Mother Teresa had a great way of living simply and speaking simple words that were wrought with meaning.

I am grateful to God for this time.

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Sports, yes, all three of my kids are in sports. They are all swimming. The boys with Abilene Christian Schools, and Sophie with Tidal Wave at the Y. The best part is that for the most part they practice together. We just attended their first meet this past weekend in Lubbock. Here are a couple of pics from this weekend. If you click on them to see a larger version the swimmer will be more apparent.


Derek swimming backstroke


Sophie swimming backstroke


Jack swimming freestyle


I am so grateful to this swimming program. All three of my kids are growing in strength, endurance and character through this process. I might be tired, trying to juggle some balls in the air to get everywhere they need to be, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Thanks be to God.

September 15, 2011

Ready to write.

Dear blog. I miss you. I want to sit down right now and put my thoughts together to write. It has been a rich season with God, a busy season with school, and amazing classes to reflect on. Maybe you and I can have some quiet time soon. Until then my dear friend, know you are missed.