Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

My Holy Indifference

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

I love the story in Mark of the 4 friends who take their paralyzed friend to see Jesus. These guys are the kind of friends we all need, determined and loyal to the end. Scripture tells us the crowd was bonkers (my interpretation) no one could get near Jesus (I imagine Black Friday shoppers all racing for a great steal). Still, these guys wanted to see their friend healed by Christ. They knew if they could just get him close to Jesus….He would take it from there.

I want friends like that.

Better than that, I want to be a friend like that.

If you know the story, you know these friends hoist their buddy up on top of the roof of the house where Jesus is teaching. Have you ever helped someone move? Good friends carry one another’s sofa and grandma’s heavy antique china cabinet — real friends find a way to get you to Jesus!

They tear through the roof and lower their beloved friend down to the Lord. Mark 2:5 says, “Jesus saw THEIR faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.'” The man gets up and walks out proving that Jesus has the power to heal & forgive. Meanwhile, the scribes and Pharisees are watching the whole thing and inside their heads are thinking, “Who does he think he is?”. Because Jesus is Jesus, he knows their thoughts and calls them out on it.

This story gets me in a few different ways. One, these friends. Wow. Who doesn’t want friends like that? Can you imagine having someone love you so much that they climb up on top of a roof and rip a hole to let you down to see God? Two, the indifference of the scribes and Pharisees. They were all about finding fault (how often do I do that?), they were looking to point a finger. Instead of being pro-active like the 4 friends, they sat there doing nothing for anyone else.

I’ve been guilty of wrapping up ME in my own little protective cocoon and focusing on all my needs for most of my life. I haven’t climbed any rooftops for any person lost from the love of God. I’ve felt sad for them. I’ve even prayed for them. But, I’ve mostly been indifferent.

Who wants to embarrass someone and talk about Jesus? Not me.

Who wants to seem weird? Not me.

Who wants to point out sin in someone’s life? Not me.

Who wants to seem holier than thou? Not me.

In the meantime, people are hurting, lost and in need of Christ. I don’t want to talk about all the feelings I’ve experienced during this 446 days of unemployment. They’ve been rough. Ugly. More than words can even describe. Still, I’ve felt loved by friends who’ve carried us on our mats to the roof of encouragement. But, I’ve also felt the indifference of those who don’t really care whether or not 446 days without a job go by. It’s life. Not my problem.

Yesterday was a terribly discouraging day. The lowest of lows plagued both hubby and me. Something silly like not being able to find our outdoor Christmas lights pushed us both over the hold-it-together edge. He gritted his teeth and I snapped back to JUST GET ALL THE CHRISTMAS BOXES OUT OF THE LIVING ROOM!!!

We are unraveling at the seams.

Today, I feel better. The process of waiting is a lesson in holy humility. I give it to God. Like the paralyzed man, He cares about my situation.

Lord,
I don’t want to be indifferent when it comes to you or loving others enough to bring them to you. Help me focus on those outside of myself. Knowing you, trusting you and obeying you deserves all my attention and care.
Amen.

Just Walking It Out

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

I spent hours on the phone with an old friend from seminary days today. We had a lot of catching up to do. So much has happened since our last conversation; I’ve been on a faith journey with my hubby’s unemployment and she, along with her family closed the door on a “cushy” ministry life/job in Alabama and moved to NEW YORK CITY to church plant.

Yea, I’m thinking of changing the name of my blog to The Chronicles of a Whiny Christian at this point. Who am I? What is my problem? Why can’t I be holy enough? Sacrificial enough? Willing to let THINGS go? All things. Not only stuff things. Dumb life things.

I appreciate that God is so loving to me that He lavishes me with life perspectives in all sorts of creative ways. Obviously, He knows my wormy pathetic’ness and goes above what He must have to with “normal” folks just to get my attention.

I have the flesh of a hundred humans.

I feel everything. Times a hundred. If it can be dramatized, sister has a show in store for ya. All I’ve done in this life is behave like a dang drama queen. I am the worst!

Don’t feel sorry for me (there I go again!) because I need to crash here and there to recognize my need to rest from all my chaos. Self-induced chaos at that. I’ve confessed repeatedly my tendency to pick up trouble & worry as attributes. I cannot hide that I love to fret and freak over just about every single thing.

Got an issue? Just let me know, I’ll stress over it for you.

I fired off questions to my fancy NYC friend and she answered every one of my curiosities with grace. As if, she had a choice. I’ve never been to New York, ever. All I know about the Big Apple I’ve learned from others and tv. Surely, I sound pretty lame but everything I’ve ever heard makes me feel completely intimidated. It’s also DANGEROUS there! Like, people die or get killed every day in all sorts of ways. Okay, they die here in the Indy area too. But, NEW YORK CITY!!! Come on. You know what I mean, right?

I know about those muggings!!! I watch movies!

Do you know how hard it is to buy a bedroom dresser? It’s ridiculous! In my world, if I want to purchase furniture….I do it and go get it. With my fancy vehicle (yea, they ditched their cars to serve Jesus in NYC!) I cruise on down the road (and yea, if I sit in traffic at a red light too long…I get JERKY!!!) and pick up my furniture and go home with it. That’s not quite how it gets done in NYC. She told me some of the crazy hoops they’ve had to jump through just to buy a dang dresser from IKEA.

They travel by foot and subway.

My life. Seriously.

I’m not trying to put anyone on a pedestal of faith here, she wouldn’t dare let me. I told her how impressed I was by her willingness to sacrifice so much and she mentioned all the need for Christ in NYC. Did I mention this lady is leaps and bounds ahead of me in spiritual maturity? Why WOULDN’T she give up her cushy life to serve God in bustling New York? Uhh, duh. Yea. I was thinking all that too.

Not.

After talking all morning, I got the feeling that all my troubles…the things I’ve felt so wrecked over here in my easy life are really not so gigantic afterall. I have so many simple luxuries that I take for granted. The things that I think I cannot do, I absolutely CAN DO! Nothing is so difficult, perhaps…challenging that I cannot push on through and do.

My ministry (and I do have one when I’m not succumbing to my own disasters) is to walk my walk right here where I am this very moment. Like my precious friend in NYC, she’s walking her ministry out there…doing just what God has called her and her family to do. God isn’t expecting me to do what she is doing. He’s called her to walk her road (or busy 5th Avenue, whichever) and me to mine here in Indiana. I need to stop comparing my journey with everyone else and so do you!

Just walk out your faith friend. Wherever it is God is calling you to walk.

And, something very important…. Don’t look back!

Be Picky

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Maybe you need to hear this today. You don’t have to have everything your way. You can bend and give when it feels a little uncomfortable without ditching all your own great qualities. You can be a great friend without ever losing the real you!

Be picky.

Don’t sell your own soul for a relationship with someone who doesn’t love like you do. Better than that, if you love THE LORD JESUS CHRIST….do not allow someone who doesn’t infiltrate your heart and all that you believe as Truth. You do not have to conform to anyone but God. (Romans 12)

Relationships can either break us or make us. Learn which is which in your life.

Learn how to walk away!

What’s Important?

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

let it be love

The older I get the more I come face to face with who I am and what my purpose has been while living on this earth. I’ve been here 50 something years which means I’ve had plenty of time to get some important things accomplished. However, every day it seems as though I’m bombarded by voices telling me that I’ve fallen short and that I’ve wrecked some of the most important assignments God has given me.

As a follower of Christ, I really really really want to be faithful to what God has for me. I don’t want to waste time (yet, I have wasted so much selfishly) nor do I want to be superficial to anyone needing to see Christ in me. For years, I’ve thought foolishly that by being real to people (my friends & family) I was portraying a truthful look at what walking the Christian faith means. Fall down, get back up. Live forgiven. Do better.

I don’t know what God is doing in my life these days. My life feels like it’s on a perpetual high-speed wooden roller-coaster and I cannot get off when it screeches into the station for more passengers. Just more crazy thrill-seeking people hop on and I’m still strapped in for ONE MORE WILD SCREAMING RIDE! Like I can handle it.

I’m not really handling it well. I go up with my emotions and then crash down like a violent wreck that no one walks away from. Maybe that sounds a bit dramatic (remember, it’s my life not yours – don’t judge). In spite of the very real and frustrating reality of my husband’s unemployment for the last 8+ months (September 9th 2016, not that I’m counting!!!) I’ve got bigger issues that are nagging me and pulling me towards sadness.

I’m at a real turning point in my life. It’s a “here on out” kind of time and what I do from now on is just as important as what I was doing when I was tucking kids in at night and making chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Only this time, I have a lot more freedom. No one is relying on me for guidance or protection or personal care. Matter of fact, they don’t even want me to offer a suggestion or opinion.

After a lifetime of parenting….they reach a point of NOT EVER LISTENING TO YOU AGAIN. That’s cool. I get it.

I’m faced with the question, what’s important?

Not all the things that I placed value on truly mattered. Some did, but not all. I mean, who cares about tons of home-cooked meals? Or spiffy, yummy smelling clean clothes? Those are just perks. Not true necessities. Kids who ate drive-thru meals and repeat wore so-so clothing are fine people and function perfectly well in society. Right?

I had a thought bubble pop up last night while I was loading the dishwasher – I wasn’t always very nice to my kids. As soon as the thought hit me, I felt a stab of regret. I was mean. Not all the time but enough that it hurts me to reflect on it. Maybe all moms are jerks at some point or another. I honestly don’t know how anyone purposefully hurts their kids (I did not do that…. but there were times I wasn’t as loving or kind as my kids probably needed me to be). I’m sorry for it.

Still, what’s important from me as a mom? To be nice? To be fair? To make homemade mac-n-cheese? To show love? To give of my time and energy? To let them make their own choices? To pick who they want to be or where they want to go? To butt out? To zip my lip and not point out weaknesses or celebrate strengths?

I’m here to tell you, all of that is important. Afterall, I am standing on the other side now and looking back….I can see clearly what worked and what didn’t. Instead of relishing all the things I did wrong – I think it’s important to focus on what I did right. I can’t help what anyone else does with their life (even my own kids) but I can tell you that if you don’t try your best to make an impact on the people in your life — God will hold both you and me accountable for it.

I chose to parent my kids under the headship of Jesus Christ and I would do it again. If my kids have children, I will continue to teach the love and forgiveness of Jesus to my grandchildren. It’s in me and it will always be until the day I die. I’m a Christian (a sinner saved by grace) and I will not waste my time or His while I’m here on earth being silent about my faith. If I’ve learned anything in 50 years it’s that life is fleeting and there are no guarantees of a tomorrow. Being nice and not offending someone with the gospel of Jesus Christ is dangerous. While I don’t want to live with earthly regret…. knowing I’ve shied away from sharing Christ with someone who dies and goes to hell is a consequence beyond regret.

It’s important to do the good work of Jesus as a parent, friend & stranger. This world doesn’t just need “nice” people it needs the faithful who care about the eternal destination of those around them.

What’s important to you?

stand firm

Straight to the Temple

Monday, April 14th, 2014

jesus week

And Jesus…drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons….Matthew 21:12

I will never figure out a love like Christ's.  Even on my best days, I cannot imagine loving anyone like He does or giving so sacrificially.  His life was pure and blameless and He knew mine would never be and still He died for me.

As I ponder this very Holy Week in my heart, I think about the first thing Jesus did when he entered Jerusalem.  He went straight to the Temple, the place of worship.  He couldn't leave it like it was in its current (at that time) condition.  I think it's indicative of what He does upon entering a person's life.  He goes straight to the heart (the place of worship) because He can't leave us like we are in our lostness.  He wants to cleanse us of everything that doesn't belong there or doesn't align with God.

So, that scene we've all read and heard stories about where Jesus goes into the temple flipping tables and blowing His cool …. that's the perfect MIND PICTURE for each of us to hold onto when we think about what our sin and foolishness means to God.  He despises it!  He wants it out of our lives.

Today, as we count down the days to Jesus' death and Resurrection….I pray that each of us would see clearly what needs to go in our lives.  What is it that we must clean out?  What is blocking me (and you) from living a life that is completely connected to Christ? 

Lord,

Sanctify us, cleanse our hearts and lives of whatever it is that blocks us from you.  

Amen

Foot Of The Cross

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Today, we drove over to Bloomington to visit our sweetboy and attend church with him. It was great! He’s involved in a college church plant called Foot Of The Cross. {Thank you Indiana Southern Baptists for such a ministry} He plays in the worship band and helps set up early on Sunday mornings. Pretty cool, huh? I mean, hello? He’s a 20 year old college dude……sleeping in on a Sunday morning sounds more like what he would rather do. But, not him. He really likes his church and the people who lead it. So, 6:30am is his wake-up & get rolling call.

I’m so glad we went. The worship was genuine and the preaching solid. It felt comfortable and challenging at the same time. I loved the way Pastor Mat taught about the power of the Holy Spirit and spoke bravely about living to testify. Great words for an old Christian like me and for the new.

It was a great day! Thank you FOTC folks for making us feel so welcomed and for loving on our boy. As a parent who’s had to let that first chick out of the nest…..it feels amazing to know there are wonderful followers of Jesus reaching out and ministering to him.

Dear Lord
I lift up this church and its ministry to you. May they continue to grow and bless those you’ve placed in their path. I can see your hand all over what they’re doing. Thank you for the many who love you and share you every week at FOTC. I’m extra thankful for what they’re doing to minister to my son. What a blessing!
Amen

Gates & Gavin sipping complimentary Starbucks at Barnes & Nobles