Showing posts from December, 2008
"God's Eye" photo by Shawn Hinkle

Well, today is the last day of 2008. I wonder what the next year holds. But this I do know:
John 1:1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
The next year will hold the birth of a grandchild. It may hold transitions for dear friends which will cause sadness. But, no matter what the economy or the president or my church does, God is. God is in the midst of it all. God was before it and will be after it. Holding onto God is like looking out to the horizon to stabilize yourself when you are afraid of heights. He is my Level Ground. He is my Anchor. He is my Security.

Swimming to my own rhythm

A friend asked me recently what I fear about becoming "one of them." She meant one of those church people, those women's ministry attendees, those people that hang out in the "big church" rather than our overflow-converted-into-a-church-for-the-band-service who irreverently (big church people assume anyway) call God "Dude" and who believe in letting anyone and everyone come hang out with us in the front of the overflow-converted-into-a-church-for-the-band-service, and who believe the church is not the building but the body of Christ and as His body we need to be out there finding His lost sheep.

That sounds very ungracious and I hate to lump everyone together in one sanctuary, but becoming someone who is tepidly passionate about their faith is what scares me. I think some of them may have been passionate at one time. I think many of them show their passion differently, and probably more maturely than I do. I also think some of them are not really fol…

Motive for evangelism

Check this out.
An icon of Our Lady of the New Advent
Jesus being born... God becoming man... desperate Love seeking His beloved... too much for me to understand other than to know...I am loved.

Ants (from Let Me Tell You a Story by Tony Campolo)

Imagine a man who loved ants. Out behind his house he had an anthill and everyday he would go out and yell at the ants, “I love you! I love you! I love you!” Of course, the ants never got the message since they were ants and he was a man, and humans can’t communicate with ants by shouting at them. So the man did something more than shout. Each day he would bring them sugar, pieces of bread, and other goodies to enjoy. And as the ants devoured the good things he would yell at them, “They’re from me. They’re from me. I love you. I love you!” Still the ants did not get the message. But in this make believe story the man had magical powers, and he was able to transform himself into anything he wanted to be. What he wanted to be must seem all too obvious. To communicat…
I have been meditating on the sin nature. Jesus came to save us from the penalty of sin->sin->sin nature.
It is easy enough to ask for forgiveness. It is easy to ask to be saved from the temptation of sin, and sometimes we even mean it. But what about from our sin nature, which I am also translating as personality.
My personality is geared toward self centered interests-approval of others, praise for my intelligence, anger when I am ignored or insulted....sounds like sin nature to me. It is hard to be transparent, even to a God who is omniscient, about the place where we will sin because we simply can not sin.
I have been despairing how woefully inadequate I am...and yet also aching with desire to serve Him. A catch I have found is that I am picky, my personality coming in again, at how I would like to serve Him. It is my personality, my desires which cause me so much trouble. I realized the other day that my back pain has been much better but my time with God much less. I leaned…
Well today (tonight) was our first meeting for the PDL group. Frankly, I had a grumpy evening and wanted to cancel. So, I had a text ready to send cancelling the group.
I didn't send the text tho because the women who want to do this group need to know that they can trust me with the schedule...especially if they are to think about trusting God with their life. Doesn't that suck sometimes? I feel like I need to be responsible because I am like part of God's delegation to these women. They have already met lots of Pharisees that they hated, and felt hated by. But how do you not let that wear you down, the being part of God's delegation. I am tired and cranky and want to pull the cover over my head and can only pray in that quiet heart sorrow kind of way...the middle of the night stark solitude-no words, just a little sad. But I can't hide. I have to go hang with these chicks and try to be real and not just intellectual.
So I did. I ate my BLT and prayed with each bite…

Falalalala and all that jazz

Matt at The Church of No People posted the other day about Christmas vegans. This got me thinking about an issue that has been gnawing on me since October-Christmas music.
Ok, so maybe you could say I am a little critical, or maybe you could just say radio stations start playing Christmas music way too early. A woman at work has had Christmas music on since Halloween. No lie. And, she doesn't even get the "Jesus thing." She may not even know that these carols are songs about Jesus and His birth. There is just this anesthesia effect that has happened in our culture. As a child you said grace, those words of thanks before a meal to some benevolent idea called God, so when you have a child, you teach him to say the same things. You were read bible stories like Noah's ark when you were young, so you read a child's story book bible to your son before he sleeps. You grew up singing Christmas carols, so you love them now. But you don't claim that God exists and you c…
Oh, and the bridesmaid dress? We did another shopping day in this wintry mess and found a nice dress. Fairly painless. Once I took my self out of it. :-)
My spirit has been bristling under the scratchy sweater that is my personality.
I know you guys get this.
I am not who I seem to be. I am not the woman who snaps at the slightest offense. I am not the woman yelling at you on the phone. I am not the woman ignoring you because you are needy or inconsiderate or ignorant.
Who is that woman? I don't even recognize her voice.
My spirit is silenced behind the thick cow neck. My spirit is weighed down by the sweater's weight. My spirit is developing a rash.
There are no nice analogies. But it does give me hope that I can see the line. Now, if only I could get my personality out of the way.

Father...I need you...
As we light the third candle this week, we meditate on joy.

There is a lot of hurt this time of year. Family situations may be tense at best, hostile at worst. Lingering, or revisited, sadness over a loved one who has died. Money is tight for a lot of families, especially this year as jobs are being cut while prices continue to rise. Being the end of the year, some people become introspective and compare whether they are where they "should" be. Of course, many aren't. Sometimes there seems to be little hope, let alone joy...

"Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice."

Can I rejoice when I mourn? Can I rejoice while I consider how to pay my bills? Can I rejoice as I try to put on a happy face for the kids, or my mother? Can I rejoice as I look at all the things I had hoped to accomplish that are left incomplete?

With faith, I believe we can because our joy does not well up from an internal spring. Our joy is that God is with us. Our joy is that He come…
I am in a slump. Well, actually, I am in a wedding. Weddings are supposed to be lovely events where everyone celebrates the union of a couple embarking on the journey of learning to do life together.Being a bridesmaid has nothing to do with that. It is stressful. The bride is stressed. She calls a lot. We gotta keep her calm. The dresses are often ugly, usually uncomfortable. We gotta keep smiling. Thankfully, that is not a picture of the dress. Well, I guess I am not sure yet because we haven't picked the dress. This is where the slump comes in: I hate dress shopping.I am not a frilly girly girl. Never played "dress up" to the best of my knowledge. My usual attire is jeans. I don't own heels. Been married 17 years so silk is occasional, flannel typical. Although every bride believes the lie that you can shorten the hem and wear it again, I will neither spend the money to shorten the hem nor wear it again. Been thru this before. And I am not a size 8 anymore. And I …

Hearing God

One of these things that just keeps showing up:

O give me Samuel's ear, The open ear, O Lord, Alive and quick to hear Each whisper of Thy Word, Like him to answer at Thy call, And to obey Thee first of all. Amen.
Friends-At Rediscovering the Church, Peter is laying down a challenge, to not just anticipate the coming of our Savior, but to embrace His message. I would encourage all of you to check it out here and then pray about whether you might be led to participate. Grace~Jaime

2nd Sunday of Advent

"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10 NIV

Today, there is pain in my spirit and body. There is uncertainty in my life. There is doubt and there is fear. But this passage reassures me that the Lord will be with me. In this season of anticipating God stepping into mortality, I can know that He will show up in my life.

Not Alone

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1 NIV)Today I had steroid shots in my lower back for the third time. First time I was scared and asked all my friends to pray for me...did ok, not that there was healing, but the strength from knowing I was filling the throne room with people petitioning on my behalf to bug Dad...well, that was a cool enough image to get me thru. The second time, I guess I got a little cocky or prideful because I figured the first time had gone so well I wouldn't bother anyone. It was not nice. The nurse had difficulty with my IV and it took 6 tries. The shots didn't help at all. But worst of all, I felt alone.This time, I shook off my pride and asked friends again to bug Dad for me and with me. Got the IV right away. Pretty sore today but too early to tell if they …
I don't feel well. I am sitting here in 2 layers of clothes topped off by a sweatsuit and a fleece hat and I swear the heat is on in my house. I am just freezing. I am quiet. I am tired. I am alone. Of course, I am sick, but isn't that how we are with God sometimes?

I don't experience His presence. I just go off to bed. I insulate myself. My spirit feels cold. There is no joy, just still quiet. I have no energy to give to others because my spirit is so empty.

Is my spirit sick then? Sometimes. Sometimes sin has lodged in there like a piece of popcorn in your teeth. Sometimes it is resentment. Sometimes it is despair. Sometimes it is wounded pride. To deal with this sickness, I need to confess and repent.

But sometimes it just is. Sometimes when I don't experience His presence it is because He is too close, wrapping me up like the blankets I have been hiding under. Most times I don't have a clue why He is so distant. Maybe He is spending time with Chris or Peter or Jen…
I have been feeling very quiet.

I love the season of Advent. I love the celebration of God becoming flesh to live among us. It's just weird. Why would He want to do that? It seems like a very un-god like thing to do (but I probably watched too many movies on Roman gods as a child). I just feel too small to talk about it.

Also, it ushers in this weird holiday of manic shopping and bursts of inadequacy with domestic squabbles and annoying relatives. That seems to miss the whole point of the season.

And so I just sit in quiet and meditate on the mysterious deliciousness of Immanuel.