Thursday, January 28, 2010
Bread. It's not an item that just you just throw together any old way and expect to just happen. I was making a loaf this afternoon (and yes, I cheat. I use my bread machine for the mixing the dough/rising and punching part.) But still, I couldn't just say, "Oh here's some flour, eggs and let's throw in some yeast and a few other things" and expect to have something I can put on the dinner table and it be edible. No, there's a process. Mix the ingredients in a particular order...put it in an environment condusive to the yeast making the dough rise, punch it down, repeat and repeat until finally the dough goes into the bread pan, then into the oven at the right temperature and for the perfect amount of time. The final result? A golden brown...Crispy on the outside and white fluffy on the inside...loaf of bread. A loaf that's steaming hot and ready to tear into and be gobbled up by some hungry folks. Around here...that happens really quickly :).
People are kind of the same way. For us to reach our full potential, a lot of things have to come together, in the right order and in the right time; a lot of good things and a lot of not so good things. Many times we rise and get punched back down, only to rise and be punched back down, again and again. Until finally, we become a product that, when sent through the fire, we come out useful and ready to serve the purpose God intended for our lives. But that punching down part isn't too much fun. Right? Well, it's not to me and I have a tendency to want to run and hide. But I guess that's where the trials and the low spots in our lives serve to create in us a person more usable, more able to "rise" to the purpose for which we were created. Plus, we never know what we're going to be when we grow up. At least not in God, because the day I stop growing will, I figure, be the day that I give up the ghost. So this is really a life-long process. With that being said then, the next time I feel like I'm being punched down...I'll try to make myself remember this thought...and know, I will be better for it, in the end.
Monday, January 18, 2010
It's late at night, and I'm almost asleep. And here comes Taylor all bright eyed and bushy-tailed ready to share her weekend trompabouts. I love it when she does this...It's time that I treasure! Her re-telling of her adventures leaves me in stitches most of the time and last night was no different...tales of muddin in the cold...getting stuck...looking like a nut...funny things her friends said and did...memories she is making.
The conversation shifts and she started to talk about God, different ministries and other things faith related. I am so thankful she is growing. I see God moving in her and her faith is rekindled. Some of the things she shares leaves me sitting there with my mouth hanging open, jaw on the floor. She's gaining insight and wisdom...my little girl is growing into a woman of God. Okay, :) let's get back to the story...So yesterday, she and her friends went to Connect Rome's first service in the mall. I wasn't sure about it but she really wanted to go so I caved (as usual) and I'm glad I did. I had no idea my kid could re-count an entire sermon lol. That was a WOAH! moment. I listened to her talk about the service... "Josh sat on a stool...the same stool probly from six years ago...I think it had holes in it." She talked about the layout of the place and how during worship, no one was watching anyone else, no one seemed to be judging and that there were all different kinds of worship. But there was no pressure. She shared the passion she witnessed from the people who led worship and the passion with which Josh spoke to the people who had come to listen...or "see" what the "church in the mall" was going to be like. Taylor said she and her buddies were in the smoking section...I nearly fainted. I was thinking "What have I done letting her go there??" Taylor was like "hahahaha Mom...NO...we sat where the smoking section was when this used to be a restaurant" I breathed a sigh of relief.
The layout seemed different to me but at the same time I was impressed. I've learned to stop being so closed-minded...yes, miraculously that is me talking! Haha! So I got to thinking. God is everywhere. He is omni-present. He's in the big churches, the little churches and yes He is in the church at the mall. God will visit where-ever He is welcome. Oh...He's where He is not welcome too, we just fail to connect with Him (I just had to say that). Then my thoughts took another direction. I'm sure some people will criticize the what and the how things are done. But think about it. When Jesus walked on this earth, how did He teach His followers? Oh yes, there were temples and synagogues and many people attended them and that was probably the "accepted/normal" way of going to worship. But think about Jesus. What did He do? He went to where the people who needed Him the most were. I had a picture fleet through my mind for a minute of Josh sitting on his stool...telling those young people his story-sermon (it was a thinker-thumper)...and then I pictured Jesus sitting on a rock, or on the ground, surrounded by His followers and people who had come to "see" what was going on with this Man who was doing things in such a different way than what was the norm for that time and place. And while He was sitting there He taught those who were listening to Him through His story-sermons/parables. My Bible paints a picture of a Man who caused quite a stir in the region, a Man who walked the hills and the valleys, in search of the ones who didn't frequent the temples. So I started thinking...maybe this Josh guy is onto something...maybe having church in the mall...where people coming in the front entrance will hear the worship and the sermon, maybe having church in the mall, where the Friday night service will be in The Nest...and kids who come in the cafe side for coffee...will hear the message of Christ from the other side...maybe just maybe...Josh is on to something there. Have you been to the mall on Friday and Saturday nights? Have you seen the kids who now may have seeds sewn into their lives? Some of these young people probably couldn't be tied and drug into a conventional church...ever. Now they may see, though, a glimpse of Jesus thru the hands of His people, whose arms are reaching...
I hope that people will see the potential for this ministry. Most would probably support this outreach if it were in a foreign country, or if a missionary was doing the same thing. Our country can almost be compared to third world countries with the amount of pagan religions and numbers of unbelievers that walk the streets and alleys. The whole purpose is to be a lighthouse...I don't think it matters so much what cliff or shore you are sitting on as long as the foundation is the Rock...God...So I guess what I hope is that maybe we might see beyond what we think is the "right" way to do things and know that there are all kinds of ministry out there...just as we know that all "kinds" of people need God.
All I know is, I will pray for Josh to have wisdom in his sermons, and that his passion to reach people will grow and multiply and bear fruit. As long as what he is preaching is Biblically sound...whatever means he uses to reach the lost...I pray is a success.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
The ants came marching one by one, hoorah, hoorah! Well no hoorah but they are marching and they are in the house. For those of you who know me, you know that ants adore me...something about the body chemistry I guess, but they seek me out...wherever I am. So yes, I am disturbed. They move from place to place, upstairs and down...We spray for them and the survivors relocate. Today however, I found them coming out of the wall by the fireplace and traveling under the track in our shower...yes the walls back up to each other. I attacked them with shampoo, bleach, air freshener and lysol because I am out of ant spray...It has been entertaining and I've done nothing but toy with them and only destroyed a few. And then I remembered. FIRE ANT KILLER! So outside I go and bring it in. I put some on a square of foil and put it by the trail running on the hearth. It was like I hung out a neon sign that read "POISON!" And not a one took even a taste. So I got some syrup and mixed it in with the bait. I made sure just a little of the syrup touched the very edge of the trail and right behind that, yep, was the poison. A couple of ants went by...nothing...Then one little ant stopped. He tasted. I guess he sent out his little ant signal bc slowly all his little buddies were joining him...tasting. That one ant had the power within himself to take out his entire colony...or whats left of them. At least that is my hope!
So I got to thinking about what I had done, and the result of it. Taylor was in the recliner so I called her over and told her my thoughts. I'm a little disturbed that in the next few sentences I will compare myself to satan, but oh well...hopefully the lesson out-weighs the comparison lol. What I was thinking was this: What I did with those ants is so similar to how satan tries to come against us. He puts his poison [[sin]] right there in our path. His hope is to steal, to kill and to destroy. So many times we see that sin for what it is and steer clear of it, maybe even for a long time. So he tries a little harder and he gets a little smarter...and somehow makes that sin look sooooo good. Until finally, if we keep playing around it, it's like the urge to taste...just a little, overcomes the conviction of what is right and wrong. And BAM! Before you know it there we sit...neck deep in it and many times we find ourselves in that spot with people who trusted us sitting right there along side of us just like that ant. Of course, the other side to this would be to turn those temptations over to God and let HIM give us the strength to deal with our weaknesses. Too bad that little ant didn't have that option...
I told Taylor there's a pretty good lesson to be learned from this. Poison is poison no matter how good it looks, and no matter how good it tastes. Play with it...you are dead. It's the same way with sin. Sin is Sin, no matter how good it looks...it's still sin.
Friday, January 1, 2010
Luke 15: 11-24
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
Today...the first day of 2010...I bow to my knees and claim this will be the year of my prodigal.