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Showing posts from October, 2008

Freedom

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When I decided to see what God had to offer, I came across this verse that I have decided to own:It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1A friend of mine tonight has become a slave again. In fact, I think of many people I love in slavery right now. Yet, they don't have to be. They just don't know how to receive Grace. I am not sure I did either. I had quit drinking and most of the insanity in my relationship by the time Christ found me, but I was still swearing like a sailor, still dreaming up ways to kill myself, still smoking...I was partially free, but I didn't think I could be "free-free." What is that anyway? Partially free=partially enslaved. Free=free.I am free from those things today. It is all grace, certainly not me, but it hurts to watch others turn from grace. We can be so self destructive that freedom and grace are repulsive. We think …

Message from my friend

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I just returned from a 2 1/2 week trip to New Orleans and Galveston. Both areas are really hurting and in need. There are so many people who still have no homes. Galveston has a huge tent city with big tents filled with cots.

There are some specific needs.

1. Pray. Pray God will wake up Christians to repond, excite churches to be involved, supply funds. (I think all the missionaries in New Orleans and Texas are undersupported including Mark Lewis. These people are working long hard days on budgets that barely allow them to survive. How can Christians spend money on extras when they know others do not even have the basics?) Pray that 100 churches or individuals will commit to $1,000 a year to EFCA Disaster Relief so that there are funds to set up bases as emergencies arise. Pray for volunteers to come down and work and for more staff to accomplish the overwhelming amount of work.

2. Come. Get involved in New Orleans and Texas. Be a part of changing lives for eternity.

3. Encourage and cha…

Without Him, I am nothing.

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Romans 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.


Sometimes this really frustrates me. I want to do the right thing, the thing Jesus would do, the things He calls me to do...and yet reflexively I choose the easy road. I fall into gossip. I explode in anger. I tremble in fear. I hide in despair.
Ugh! But that is not who I am! I am gracious, loving, compassionate, brave, advenurous, hopeful....but not because that is my nature-because that is who I am in Christ. I forget about Christ more than I would like to admit. Not because I purposefully turn away but because I do not consciously turn toward Him.
And then there are those moments when I rely wholly on my Father...offering myself for His movement, His word, His work. These are the moments that help me laugh with Him at my own clumsiness. A Father loving His daughter as He invites her into His creative work of redemption.
Through …

Mosaic

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Well, I came home smelling like steak-umms and knowing, again, that I have an amazing God.
Today Terry and I went to have dinner with some friends we did not know. A friend I do know, Kelly, invited us. The friends we did not know are a group of individuals from a community called Mosaic.
The food was good, but the familiarity was the most intriguing part of the night. There was never a really awkward moment. Well, except my sciatica made it uncomfortable to sit. That doesn't count, tho.
Nick explained the community as being made up of broken people who God puts together to create a beautiful piece of art. Broken people have a bit of difficulty usually in accepting that there is any beauty around them, let alone that they are a piece of it. And maybe that is the what makes this attractive. You just belong when you want to. There is no class or pledge. Certainly the goal is for you to know Jesus, but no one is holding anyone hostage until they make a decision. They merely come alongsi…

St Francis Prayer

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Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.


O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen

You are my neighbor

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Watching a MAC commercial on TV today. I want to be like the MAC guy. He is cool, calm, confident without being prideful. He is humble in that he knows who he is and is kind to the neurotic IBM dude who is always trying to sabotage MAC man to make himself seem better. Weird place to find God, and yet there He is...hiding in a commercial.
~~~~~~~ Well, Chrissypoo jumped the gun. Yes, the whole thing is about judging. I know that it is only God's grace that saves me from myself, from sin, from despair, from an eternal hell. That same grace teaches me not to condemn, and yet it seems easier to put us all in the category of "US" or "THEM." I don't have to agree with you, but I will love you because my Father loves you. I don't know if you deserve it, and it really isn't any of my business. What I do know is that I trust my Father. He tells me I should love you. He tells me I should care for you. He wants me to extend His love thru me for you. I am sorry f…

My Neighbor

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So, as I was thinking about neighbors and tolerance, well, love really, I have been looking around. There are Samaritans all around us. ^^^^^ What about the lesbian women I know who are Christians but are turned off by church after being judged or down right condemned? I will not argue whether homosexuality is a sin or not. I don't care right now. What I do care about is that these women are not loved. So, unloved that they do not dare, or care anymore, to worship God sitting beside us. One young woman will not speak to God at all anymore after her pastor called her out as an abomination. WTF? Guess he missed the "do not judge" clause. When you transpose the Gospel to today, which one would Jesus call a viper? Yep, you got it-the pastor. Jesus never cared for self righteousness. He hung out with the sinners. Why are we so worried that they are contagious? "OMG, I caught gay!" ^^^^^ What about the addict who have been judged for going to church with lo…

Love your neighbor as yourself...

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Where did we find the judging part? Oh, probably something about lay down with dogs and get up with fleas. Probably Paul said that. But seriously, I see Jesus telling me to love those I come in contact with...not marry them, not engage in their activity, not condone their sin, but also not exclude and not judge. God loved us when we were steeped in sin. He came alongside us in body to offer us a new life. His Spirit works in hearts to soften and open them. Jesus never got His carpenter pliers and was like, "Dude, if you don't repent now I am removing your fingernails one by one. What's it gonna be?" Well, maybe Matthew left that part out.

The Church

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I love big beautiful church buildings. The intricate architecture, the sense of touching history, the mystery of how it relates to the Divine. But, what I don't like is when Christians confuse a church with the Church. I don't care what denomination you belong to, whether you go to church or not, if you find your hope and source in Jesus, you are the Church. We need to move the Church beyond the walls of our treasured edifice and move into the world to seek those that Jesus loves. He has no special love for me as a good girl. He didn't hang out with the church people in His day. He hung out with the ones who needed Him most-the world of sinners-the broken, the battered, the lost, the outcasts, the misfits, the lowlifes. If I am hanging out just with people in my Church, tho I love them, I am not sure I am doing what Jesus wants me to do. If He is the vine and we are the branches, shouldn't we grow the same plant as His? Why would I expect an orange tree to gr…

Can these bones live?

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Having grown up "knowing" the Gospel, I worried that I missed my chance. Jesus doesn't specify whether the Sower comes by seasonally or if it is one time planting. But I guess I always saw it as an event rather than a season.

Thankfully, God has a sense of humor and is patient with me. It seems that the Sower came by many times, sometimes dumping bags on my head until a seed finally was able to take hold. Do you realize how lucky that makes me? I do, and sometimes I have to laugh at how awesome Father is and how loved I am.

I was telling the women at a local halfway house about this Grace-Period. This period of my life that is nothing but full of God's grace. Many of us tell parts of our stories that reflect when we should've been killed physically and we are amazed to still be alive, but like my story includes how dead I was spiritually and I am amazed to have life!

A woman from this house just called me. She wanted to talk after hearing me speak. She is a baby, ju…

Relevance

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So, if you have read my blog for a minute, you should be able to read that I am in love with grace. I just am in awe. I am also dense sometimes.

When I started this...whatever it is...I was reading this book, All is Grace. I picked it for its title because, well, I am a fan of grace. Anyway, it was so relevant and joyous. I didn't know this author but since I came from more of a Catholic tradition, I figured I would just google him. To my surprise, dude was OLD! He lived in like the 1830-1890s. Not even old, long dead.

Makes me think about what the word "relevant" means. Sure, I prefer a more contemporary style music. I like going to church in jeans since I am supposed to be with God everyday, what does getting dressed up for 2 hours on Sunday mean? I believe in caring for Jesus in the poor-clothing, feeding, sheltering. But, Spurgeon probably never went to church in jeans. He looks a little dusty really. And what is with those whiskers? He had a mega chu…

Get out there and praise God!

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I cannot imagine sitting on that rock, watching the sun splatter light over the water as the clouds gracefully change their hue...I cannot imagine this without God. One of my friends puts it, "Creation shouts God." As a child, I prayed on the roof. Yeah, I wasn't supposed to be up there, but the view of the sky was so amazing that I could not help but know God was near. I am not really a morning person, tho some seem to think so because I wake up easier than they do, but when I glimpse the sun rising as I set off for work and my spirit lifts in praise and prayer, I think anyone could become a morning person. Jesus used nature in His parables. Why do we spend so much time inside our houses, tightly sealed away? Maybe that is the thing-we want to be insulated which unfortunately often leads to isolation. Getting out into nature is a challenge I made to myself. I want to watch the lilies and the sparrows more often. I want to contemplate what Jesus taught by obser…

Christians still die....

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Dear Friend,
Loving greetings to you in Jesus Name.Thanks for your mail. Know that we always remember your love & courage and we always pray for you. Yes, the situation is very terrible here. In Orissa 1100 churches & thousands of christian houses & many institutions are burnt. Nothing is left. Here it is tense, but calm. We had refugees from Orissa. Today one christian componist was here. He had big buildings and a chuch & 4 vehicles. They burnt everything. He had to run for his life. He is already elderly & not used to walking. He had to run for his life 28 kilometers in de jungle. He escaped only with his clothes on. In North India they wanted to have a pastor from Orissa to testify. So John arranged for him to go & they accepted it. So this night he went & then he is coming back to stay with us, because he has nothing left. Like this, tens of thousands have lost everything & have nothing left. They are not allowed to come back without converting to h…

Prayer

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I almost said I was done with this topic, but I am sure I am not. The depth and scope of it, the purpose and the hope in it... There will be more to come at some point. But this is what I have learned.



Prayer is not about me, but about me being with God. Snickering to myself as I remember how much of this journey has been self centered in the way I have approached prayer-what do I get out of it, but instead it has become about sitting with God, seeking His will, listening for His reply. I am still not comfortable with those "quickie" prayers-"give us a safe trip home from bible study"-because I don't want to be safe, I want to be within God's will...tho I would prefer it not hurt too terribly, but I have become more willing to put my inadequacies at His feet. It may not change my pain level for the day, it may not bring the dog home, it may not keep this friend alive, but it allows me to be comforted that my dear Father is with me thru all of it.



Prayer is n…

Catalyst 2008

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Together

we praised God with rockin' worship

and opened up about the elephant in the room (ok, arena).





Thursday-

Andy Stanley

Moral authority is the PUBLIC alignment between our creed and our deed.

Lose integrity-lose influence.

We follow authenticity and moral authority.

3 areas of application:

Forgiveness-this is our message as Christians

the servant is not greater than the Master

we lose moral authority when we are angry/bitter

Family-if our family feels neglected, we have lost authority

loss of this priority is a source of much broken-ness

Finances-keep finances in order

Give, Save, Live on the rest



William Paul Young

Wrote a modern day parable

Need to not be afraid to question, bring issues to table

Trinity is our model of relationship with God-

selfless circle of relationship-not hierarchical

Jesus taught us that altho things appear bleak "Where are you Father?"

that we need to trust in what IS, "Into Your hands..."





Jim Collins

Good is enemy of Great

Greatness is not a function…

Me and my big ideas, again....

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I send the email before I can delete it. I volunteer before I chicken out.

Things that make me go "Hmmmm"

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Ok, so I just really like this dog. :) Got back from Catalyst and have millions of questions and thoughts and will deal with them later. Prayer. That is where I left off here. ~~~~~~~~~ Lest you think differently, I pray a lot. Just because I ask questions doesn't mean I don't believe in it. I am just exploring. At the end of the first day of Catalyst I had this weird urging to get my friends to pray for the guys sitting beside me from New Hampshire. That's about all I knew about them, other than they were Baptists and this was their first Catalyst. Well, I tried to talk myself out of it, to talk God out of it. I mean, Dude, like, I was sitting with my pastor. He is like a pro at prayer. Why would God ask me to do it? Not being able to weasle my way out of it, I relented cuz I knew I would kick myself later, even if I was embarrassed now, but I wasn't getting anyone else involved in this. I would just pray for him myself. I asked the guy beside me if I could pray for him …