Monday, November 8, 2010

Redemption Part 2

Here I am back tonight with redemption on my mind yet again. Safe to say I am stuck on the story of Lazarus of the interaction of Jesus with his sisters Mary and Martha. Jesus knew Lazarus was sick and yet stayed two more days in the place He was before He went to Him. The Bible says that Jesus and Lazarus where friends and He spent time with both Lazarus and his sisters. Mary and Martha sent Jesus a message telling Him that Lazarus was sick and yet He stays. Why? What is it that caused Jesus to "ignore" the plea of two sisters whom He knew and loved?

"Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, 'Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.' When Jesus heard that, He said, 'This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.' Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was."
John 11:3-6

The Bible doesn't really say why Jesus stayed and didn't go right to Lazarus, but I have to believe that what Jesus says in verse 4 is the reason...that God might be glorified. The story goes on to tell of Jesus making the trip to Judea to see His sick friend...only He arrives to late. Martha comes out to meet Jesus and has a conversation with him that has moved my heart:

Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Now Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Now even now I know that whatever You ask of god, God will give You. Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again. Martha said to Him, I know hat he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this? She said to him, Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."

This exchange hit me so differently then ever before. She believed in the power of God and the ability of Jesus to do something in the middle of a hopeless situation, but she didn't really believe that hope could hit her reality and change the circumstances from hopeless to miraculous. Jesus challenged that. How many times as Christians do we know the right answer, but we don't really expect it to hit our reality? I know I have done it. I grew up in the church and know all the right answers, but it comes down to what do I believe about Jesus and His willingness and ability to redeem? The story ends with Jesus calling out to the dead man who had been in a tomb for four days, long dead and beginning to decay, and he walks out of the tomb alive and healthy.

What dreams, hopes or expectations have died in your life? Those places where you have gone before God and from the place of pain asked Him why he didn't show up? Had He just been there the thing that was most precious to you wouldn't now be laying in a tomb dead and decaying past all hope of resurrection. I know I have those places. God did you even care? Why didn't you show up? In the middle of my pain, His still small voice comes through and asks do you believe? My Christian response is yes I do...but then to still hold onto what is dead. If I really believe Jesus is who He says He is and that He is the resurrection and the Life then its time to roll back the stone and give Jesus access to the grave yard and believe that what once broke my heart will be for the glory of God and yet again live. He is the resurrection and and Life.

That used to be easy for me to agree with. Its the normal Christian response. But what circumstances in my life have I cried out to God for His intervention and He seemed to not respond to me? The longer I walk with God and realize that my desire isn't to have a label as a Christian, but to truly walk as a little Christ. Those are

Monday, October 4, 2010

Redemption Part 1

It has been a long time since I put my thoughts out for all to see, but tonight there are thoughts and questions rolling around in my head. The confines of my journal seem to small for these thoughts. If I was going to guess (and I do like to take a stab at what is under the wrapping paper of a long awaited gift!), I would have to say that God it trying to teach me something. I am not the oldest of old, but have lived long enough to have realized that when God speaks you should take note.

Redemption is one such thought. I grew up in the church and for my 26 years of life have a good handle on how to come across as a well polished Christian. But the last few months have challenged that polished exterior and I have been thinking as to the truths I have known my whole life. Do I really understand them? Are they something that I have personal revelation or are they a regurgitated thought I once heard and try to pass off as a personal belief?

How does the redeeming work of the cross intersect with the reality of my life? I wake up, drink coffee, get ready, go to work, come home. Where in the course of my day do I come in contact with redemption? Is it a thought or Christian concept that is an idea but not a reality in my world?

I started asking myself the questions, Do I walk in the redeeming power of the cross? Is redemption an idea I believe rather then a truth I walk in? When there is the need to redeem do I take God at His word? To be honest, hard questions for me to ask, being the church girl who should have figured this out years ago...but here I am asking.

John 11:17-37 is the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. Amazing to me to watch the redeeming power of God grab them from the place of concept to the place of it intersecting with their reality.

More to come on this thought...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Generations Deep

King Solomon is someone who intrigues me every time I read about him. A man who at a young age was given the Kingdom of Israel and expected to fill the shoes of his father King David. In 1 Kings 11 Solomon allows his heart to be drawn away from God by the gods of his many wives. I could spend a lot of time and thought on that, but this morning verse 38 is what grabbed my heart. The Prophet Ahijah meets Jeroboam and tells him he will inherit part of the Kingdom from Solomon because he had not been faithful to the Lord. Jeroboam was an ordinary guy who was serving the King as an officer over the labor force when God comes to him and gives him the charge to lead Israel. His mandate was this.

1 Kings 11:38
"Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you."

1) Heed the Commands of God. Hearing God and taking heed to what His is speaking for the times and seasons marks the life a leader. God is not detached from your life nor is he indifferent to what he has called you to do or the work of your hands. Success comes when you learn to listen and heed the voice of God.
2) Walk in the Ways of God. It is not enough to just hear God, but the word has to be mixed with faith and activated in your life. Knowing the will of God is half, but the other is walking it out inside of your daily life. Life is built by the decisions you make daily and you are constantly choosing to walk in what you know God to have spoken.
3)Do what is right in the sight of God. There are voices that come from multiple sources trying to influence your leadership. What is popular or politically correct is not always what is right in the sight of God. Hear God, make the choice to walk in His ways and be ready for the world to try to sway you to what is right in their sight rather then the sight of God.

God will establish you and produce something that will last for generations. What you do today will matter in the lives of your children and grandchildren. God took the Kingdom away from Solomon's son and not Solomon himself. The legacy you leave behind for those who follow after you matters.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thoughts of the Day

2009 is quickly coming to a close and 2010 is just days away. Pastor Steve asked the question at the beginning of the year that is now coming back for review in my heart, he asked, "What history will you make in 2009?" Now that it is over there is the reality slap of looking back and asking that question in light of the facts and events of 2009. What did I build? What personal growth happened in my life this year? Who did I touch? Did compassion mark my life and actions? What books did I read? What relationships was I intentional in investing in? Who did I share Christ with? Did I open up my home? Did I feed the hungry? Was I a comforter to the broken hearted? Did I encourage and uphold the weak?

Question after question rolls through my heart as I look out the window into the early morning hours. Snow covers the ground and I know now is the time to evaluate the past year and begin to make the plan for 2010. A plan involves strategy, timing and hearing God. As King David asked time and time again during his recorded life "Lord, shall I go up? Will You go with me?" King David knew that without God going with him his efforts where in vain and any plan he made without the imprinting of God would end in disaster and barrenness.

I am prone to be the one who is landlocked for fear of failing, coming up short or missing the will and plan of God. Play it safe and do what you know you can accomplish so there is no chance of failing - that is the tendency I resort to. Last night I sat at the table in my room in the dark watching snow fall in soft waves as I brought this place in my heart before the Lord. How do you know what you are born to do? The place of dreaming and asking God His plan for my life has been mainly nonexistent for me. I believe I have not had the courage to look into what God has for me and believe that He could do it with my life. I who is broken and ashamed of places I have failed … and failed repeatedly. Could one such as I make a difference? Could it be possible to make a mark on the world that washes up on the shores of eternity? To live for something greater then myself, my own gain and agenda? On such questions I ponder in the back of my mind while my present contends to keep me living in status quo to preoccupied with the trivial pursuits and routine tasks of life to take action on such thoughts. But why not? If God's Word is true, as I believe it to be, then Paul rightly and accurately portrays the nature and character of God when he writes in Philippians 1:6 "I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will being it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Church Today

Today started like most Sunday do. Get up, find some breakfast and coffee if your lucky enough to have time and rush out the door to the house of the Lord. I love Sundays. I am always amazed that I walk into church and find myself in the presence of the King of the WHOLE universe! I mean think about that for a second - like REALLY stop to think about that! I have access to God Almighty anytime and anyplace I want to. Today, I was excited to join other believers in worship and be challenged by the Word of God that constantly comes to adjust and change my life. We are currently in a series called The Paramount Family and today was about God's heart towards the single parent homes. It was great. At the end, all of the single parents come forward and the church surged around them to ask first for some practical needs that we, as the church body, could meet and then to pray for and bless them. I prayed for a young mother of 3. When the Bible talks about it being better to give then to receive - it speaks truth (as the Bible always does). The single mother gave us a list of needs with everything on it from her children needing winter coats, a car payment needing made and a need for a day job so she could be home with her children at night. It changed my life to watch the 12 or so of us that had gathered around her dividing up the needs and all coming on board to help her and bless her. I looked around at all the pockets of people meeting both the practical and spiritual needs of the dozens of single parents and thought "Now this is church!"

Monday, May 25, 2009

Clear or Murky?

This week is the start of a new season in my life. I am starting a new job. One that, to be honest, I don't really know what to expect. There are many "new" things I will have to adjust to in the upcoming few weeks. Things like working for the State. I have never worked for the State or any form of government before...that is new. I have an "office cubical" for a work station. Also, very new. I will also be working in an office with people. This one might sound simple to you, but I have never been in this situation before. I have spent the last two years working for a family excavation company and was largely the only one in the office. My dad would spend some time in there drafting up estimates, but mainly...just me.

This week is the start of a whole new dynamic in my life and one quite frankly I am looking forward too. Its not because I love new things and am easily board, but because I love people. The last few years I have developed a deep love for people. Now, people are also the hardest part of my life to be sure, but I love them. I am amazed at how much God loves each and every person. Often I am very distracted when I am at a store or a restaurant and I start thinking about all the people that come and go around me. I wonder about their family. Did they laugh today? What is their story? Are they loved? Do they love? Do they know the purpose of God for their life? Do they know Jesus as Lord and Savior of their life? Are they hurting? I will walk through a store and at times forget why I am even there because I get so caught up in thinking about the people I see.

My new job is going to present the opportunity to love people in my work place like I haven't been able to do for the last two years. With that exciting thought I also have to think about how well I represent Jesus to them.

Proverbs 25:26
"A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well."

According to Proverbs I will either be clear water that they can drink from or a polluted well. With all my heart I desire that people would find Jesus as a result of my life...and that is determined by the conduct of my life on my first day of work and all the days that follow.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Over the course of the Define Conference that The NXT youth church hosted I had an experience that was a "moment" in my life. What I mean by that is that there are times when the Holy Spirit drops something in my heart that is a loving rebuke yet has quite a sting to it...I call them "moments". The bible tells us that God corrects those He loves and as I look back on this experience I see that because God loves me is why He would come to confront and correct me.

You see, I was entrusted with a key. Not just any key, but one of great value - the master key. This key would open every door in the building and gave me full access to all areas of the church
and as the main administrator and coordinator for the Conference having all access was crucial.

It was Tuesday night and I had been at the church since I had gotten off of work that evening setting up and tying up all the lose ends that needed to be done so things would go smoothly the next day. Time had raced by and it was after 2am when we battened down the hatches to all headed home for a few hours of sleep.

On my way home I realized that I had left my phone on my desk at the church. I turned around to go retrieve my phone since, after all, I had the master key. I reached down and picked up the key only to fumble it and drop it...not a big deal right? I spent the next 2o minutes in the dark parking lot of the church trying to locate the key. Unable to find it I drive home, pull out my caving headlamp and search for another 30 minutes. Still no key so I call it a night and head to bed for 2 hours of sleep. Morning comes and I again search for the key, my roommate looked for it and throughout the course of the morning there were 6 different people that combed through my car looking for the lost master key. The key was gone.

Let me tell you the sick feeling in my stomach knowing that I would have to tell Pastor Taunia that on the very night she entrusted me with the master key I lost it. All morning I stressed over the lost key - even in the crazy stuff that needed to get done for the conference it was this constant nagging in my mind ... where is the lost key and what will Pastor Taunia say when I have to give an account?

During my worries over a lost key the Holy Spirit dropped in my heart a very clear thought. The thought was this: "You are more worried about the lost key and how you have to face Pastor Taunia and give an account then you are over lost people and that you will face Me and give account for your life and time." Talk about the wind getting knocked out of you. The story of the 1 lost sheep came to mind and how the shepherd left the 99 to go and find the one. As I sat there stunned at my shallowness - I was way more concerned at how losing the key would effect what my pastors thought of me and my leadership then I was with the lost people I had contact with every day. The lost key was consuming my mind - lost people did not.

I was adjusted in my heart that morning and I had to ask myself, "why do I do what I do? What is the reason behind all this administration stuff and all these tasks?" People. It all comes back to loving what God loves and giving your life for something bigger and greater then yourself. The rest of that day at the Define Conference I tried really had to take time for the people that came across my path...because after all people are what count.