This story was a comment on my friend's blog a little while ago and now they are facing some tough decisions as far as radiology goes. So, do me a favor and pray for Rebekah. If you want to know more about the story, you can read about it on Steve's Blog.
For all of you who have been following my crazy search for a job this summer, I have an update:
I GOT A JOB!!!
I am going to be teaching second grade again this year, but at a new school.
I am so excited. I went to my classroom today to begin setting it up. I moved a lot of my furniture around and started to get organized. I'll be busy this week trying to get this all done, but I'm excited about it all!!!!!
I was driving yesterday and the sun was just low enough in the sky that my visor didn't help at all. It was simply blinding. My husband was in the car and also made a comment to me saying how blinding the sun was. He then casually said that it was like a flashlight. When it's pointed directly at you it's blinding, but when it's shining from above or from behind it guides your path and lights the way.
When Alex said this, something in me clicked. Now this may sound silly, but I saw this as a metaphor for how we are to use the light of Christ towards others.
When we get all up in other peoples faces and simply give them the spiritual truths and throw some bible verses at them we are being like the flashlight that is blinding. We aren't allowing people to see God because we're too busy blinding them and not caring to light their path.
When we build the relationship and walk along side the person we are like the light that is shining down and lighting the path. We are like the sun, warming the skin, helping someone to relax and breathe in and out. We don't blind people when we walk through life with and along side them (just as the flashlight that lights the way from above or behind), but we do blind them when we do a hit and run job when witnessing to them (just like the flashlight that shines directly in someone's eyes).
Well, those are my silly ramblings...food for thought. I love metaphors. Have a great night everyone.
Have you ever been embarrassed to be a "Christian" by fellow Christians? For example, my husband went to the new Mormon temple, that opened up in Newport Beach, with some of his co-workers. Upon his arrival there, several protestors were outside the temple. As he got closer, he realized that these protestors were people claiming to be "Christians." As he was entering the temple, he saw the protestors wearing shirts that said, "Mormons go to hell," "Jesus is my Savior," "Read the Bible," etc. He also heard people shouting, "You're going to go to hell," "You're a sinner," "You're living in sin," etc.
Wow, now that isn't that something you'd want to claim to belong to? My goodness...and they wonder why people aren't just doing back flips at the gospel they are proclaiming, but if you can believe it...it gets worse. My husband had a conversation with these people.
Here is a little background before I share about the conversation my husband had with some of the protestors. My husband use to be Mormon. Now, he wasn't born into a Mormon family, like most who are Mormon. His mom converted when he was about 8 and he, too, began going with her to Mormon church. It wasn't until high school that my husband became a Christian...or for the sake of this entry a Jesus follower. He had just finished sharing all of this with his co-workers before they went to the temple.
Okay, back to the conversation at the temple:
As my husband exited the temple, he was approached by one of the protestors who was shouting at him and telling him he was going to go to hell. My husband then shared with this man that he was a Christian and that this scene the protestors were creating made him embarrassed to be in the same category with them. This man continued to ask him why he wasn't out there with them if he was as Christian. My husband told him that he wouldn't be caught dead at a rally like they were putting on. Then this man told him that he needed to start reading his bible, that John the Baptist was praised for doing what they were doing. My husband corrected him and told him how John the Baptist was not praised for telling people, no let me correct myself, yelling at people and telling them they were going to hell and that they were the scum of the earth, rather he was praised for telling people the time is near, repent. He also continued by asking, shouldn't we be living out Christ's example, which would be to LOVE all people, not bash them over the head with this false picture of Christianity that you're painting for them? This man had nothing to say except that apparently in his mind my husband didn't know the bible and that he should be reading it more often.
This guy, along with all the others that were with him, are an embarrassment to my faith. They turn people away from Christ rather than making the light Christ gives to us when we accept Him into our lives apparent. How dare these people think they have the right to judge others.
I went to visit my friend's new church plant yesterday and heard a simply amazing message that totally fit with where my heart is on this topic.
The message was focused on Ephesians 4:1-6
"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called to one hope when you were called - one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."
That protestor at the temple needs to reread this passage. This passage is simply amazing. I've read it several times before, but this time, hearing a very amazing, passionate teaching on it, I have a new understanding of exactly what it means. This passage is calling believers to step up to the plate and "walk the walk." We are to "live a life worthy of the calling we have received." Think about that. God has called us to a very specific calling...to live a life of love. In doing this, we are to be humble. We need to be doing things out of love, not to receive praise and attention from the church or fellow Christians for doing something that would be considered so "Christian."
We are called to be "gentle" or in other words meek and mild. We are called to be "patient with one another in love." This does not just mean that we are in waiting. It means that when we have a brother or sister in Christ, and I'm going to go as far as to say, anyone (Christian or not), who is struggling with something that we are patient to see them through and not quick to judge their actions. We need to walk along side people, not push them over a cliff and hope they find a rock to cling to in their desperation to save their life. Along with this, we are called to keep unity within the church, "unity of the Spirit." I think the church is very good about accepting anyone into their church so long as they are not saved, but become saved at their church. I feel that the church fails it's members once people become Christians. The bible doesn't preach that we are to become perfect the second we accept Christ into our heart, but that is how the church acts. When a brother or sister is struggling, many times the church points fingers or ridicules rather than coming along side the hurting person and helping them get their head above the water again. We need to not only stay unified in helping one another, but we need to also stay unified in not dividing churches over miniscule things. For instance, not everyone at a single church will 100% agree or like the style of worship at the church, but really, is it something so worthwhile that church be divided over it? No! It's not! This is just one example, but there are several more and I'm sure if you think of your church you could think of something that is a point of disagreement among several people within your congregation. According to Paul, we need to stay unified.
Just as Paul refers to the trinity, three entities being one, in these verses, we, as the church (many members), need to be united as one for Christ. For Paul finishes this set of verses by saying "God is over all, through all and in all."
Let's unite together as a loving body of Christ and not as an embarrassment to our Father in heaven. Through our love we will connect and make relationships that will allow us the opportunity to share who we are and why we are the way we are which will have more of an impact as we will have developed a relationship in which we will be living out what we are claiming to believe. This is the best witness of all!!!
Let me leave you with one final story that I heard the other day:
A man, who was totally on fire for God, wanted to witness to people. He had been trained in evangelism and felt well equipped to handle any situation. He knew the Gospel and was ready to teach it. He went up to a lady's door one evening. He knocked. She answered the door with a cigarette in her hand, a baby on her hip, and a scowl on her face. She asked, "What do you want?" The man said, "Sorry to disturb you," and turned around and left as she closed the door.
Distraught, this man sat on the curb and cried out to God, "God I'm trying to do Your work! I'm trying to save more people for you! They didn't teach me how to deal with people like her. What am I suppose to do? I was ready! I was willing to go up and knock on strangers doors for you." This man continued on like this for some time.
Finally, when the man was done, he knew what he needed to do. So, he went to the store and he bought a bag of diapers and a box of cigarettes. As he was walking back to this woman's house he was thinking about how the people at his church would probably ridicule him for having bought cigarettes for this woman, but he felt it was what he needed to do. As he approached her house, he went back to the woman's door and knocked again. This time when she answered, he held up the items and said that they were for her. She invited him in, being that she didn't have a free hand to take the items.
The two of them began talking and after about a half an hour, the woman asked why he would do something so nice for her, when she had not been very kind to him before. This opened the door, God opened the door for this man to share his story with her and to share who Christ was and how He was at work in his life.
***This story illustrates the importance of relationships as well as ceasing the moments God presents in our lives***
So, are we going to be like the protestors at the temple and bash people over the head, condemn them, and try to scare them into believing in Christ or are we going to build relationships with people so they can see Christ evident in our lives and grow to wonder how they, too, can have the hope that we find in Christ?
I took the quiz that was on Wes' blog. Quite funny. According to the quiz I am just as much emergent/postmodern (63%) as I am fundamentalist (61%). Makes me laugh. I tried to post my results, but had some difficulty. Oh well...still thought it was pretty funny that I scored high in two opposite categories.
It's a funny quiz, you should take it just for laughs.
Thanks for the entertainment Wes!!! I love quizzes.
Look at this picture and tell me the gospel isn't about love. Why else would someone do this for us?
I have been thinking a lot about how the gospel is portrayed to those who don't know the Lord, as well as how it is portrayed to those who are dechurched and I haven't been pleased with the message that is coming across.
I came across a post on my friend's blog. It's amazing. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. It says a lot of what I've been thinking and he says it so eloquently.
Let me know what you think and your thoughts on the whole topic. It has been on my mind and in my heart so much lately. I have so many friends that have left the church and my desire is to find a way to undue the damage that has been done to them by the church, which caused them to leave. I believe loving them is the first step and letting them know that Jesus wants them to be happy in the here and now, not just in the life to come.
This past weekend I spoke at our high school girls retreat. The focus/theme of our retreat was finding and acknowledging our own stories and owning them. All of the leaders shared there testimonies/stories. I was the speaker Saturday morning. I spoke about body image (a very important topic for high school girls). Here are some of the things that I covered when I spoke.
I began by reading a passage out of Captivating and then shared a little of my story with the girls. I have always struggled with the way my body looks. It is a constant, persisting thought that is always on my mind. I explained that I used to compare myself to models and then I began even criticizing their bodies. I continued by sharing that this led to having a critical heart towards myself, others, and God.
I began to realize how twisted my thoughts had been. God is my creator. He is The Master Artist and created me exactly how He wanted me to be. Who am I to disagree and to tell God that His Masterpiece isn't good enough? These thoughts really began to change my actions/thoughts toward myself.
I then went into the teaching component. I focused on Matthew 22 and discussed the second greatest commandment, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." I asked the girls how they were suppose to love their neighbor when they don't even love themselves? Then I followed up with asking them to turn to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7...the traditional Love passage. We read it aloud and discussed that this passage is typically used to show/teach us how to love others. I again pointed out that Christ tells us to "love others as we love ourselves," so indirectly the 1 Cor. passage is also telling us how we should love ourselves. Then we had some time to reflect and really see if we love ourselves according to the standards of this passage. What is it that is keeping us from seeing ourselves as God does? What is keeping us from loving ourselves the way we try to love others?
We had some great discussions and it was an amazing time. I love girls retreat and it was especially special this year because my high schoolers are now seniors and it was the last high school retreat we were going to get to go on together.
Thanks for listening...I'm excited to be back from my trips and blogging again. :)
I love to get up early and work out. It starts my day off with energy while giving me peace and quiet as well as time to myself to talk with God. I am married to a wonderful man with whom we have a beautiful daughter and a dashing son! Life can't get much better than this!!