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Showing posts from June, 2009

Book Review

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The Hole in Our Gospel asserts that the Gospel message of salvation is not simply to have a nice retirement home in the after-life, but to actually bring the kingdom of God to earth, as the transformational people that Jesus intended us to be through caring for the poor, the sick, the hungry, the naked.


Rich Stearns, a successful businessman living the American dream, becomes a very reluctant president of World Vision. Having been a Christian since college, he has tried to be a "good" Christian, giving money to charity, tithing, honest business practices, but in his new position he finds that his understanding of what being a disciple of Jesus means is challenged. In his book, Mr. Stearns clearly describes his own journey into becoming "radioactive" and also the plight of most inhabitants of this planet.

Although the book is an easy read, it will challenge you to consider how you live the Gospel message. In fact, I believe the book may appall you. To know, and I d…

Christ in His Distressing Disguise

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When I was much younger, I learned about this remarkable woman, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, then simply known as Mother Teresa. As a teenager herself, she had chosen to serve God by leaving her home in the former Yugoslavia to go practically around the world to India and become a nun. There she taught school, but she was distracted by the poor on the streets. Longing to care for them, she needed to be released from her teaching duties. Eventually a new religious order, the Missionaries of Charity, was formed by Mother Teresa to serve them, the poorest of the poor.
I wonder today what attracted me to her. I didn't know much about India. The pictures of the suffering, the cachetic bodies that barely resembled humans, puzzled me. Growing up with movies and air brushed photographs, as well as a skepticism of news and government organizations, it can be hard to believe. How can there be such incredible suffering in my world?
Mother Teresa was doing God's work; I know that was excitin…

Pondering prayer

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I don't know how to pray. Well, I was actually praying this, or at least telling this to God today. What is prayer anyway? People say, "Just talk to God," but I have no idea what I would say if this God of the universe showed up in my bedroom. Doesn't it say somewhere that His voice is like thunder? A sword is coming out of His mouth? His eyes are like fire? What do you say to a Being that speaks and a world is created? I have read books and listened to podcasts on prayer. Some discussed just sitting with God, as we really have nothing to offer. Others have suggested talking to Him as a friend. Still others have tried to sell me a "name it and claim it" mentality. One this week contrasted prayer to an infants cry-a natural response to need.What if I believed God was really going to answer...do I pray like that? Would I pester Him about trivial things like helping me to remember things for a test? Does that kind of stuff really matter? I admit I am glad He d…

Unworthy

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The man standing in the front asked us to search our hearts and to talk to God about our sin before we came forward to participate in the meal. Many around me leaned forward, bowing their heads in a prayerful pose. I didn't. I can look inward so much and see nothing or be overwhelmed by all. Instead, I asked Him to show me what He wanted.

My gaze was drawn to the elements, my Savior's body broken and torn, His blood out, my heart dropped. Did it have to be so horrible? Why didn't Father find another way? The suffering of that day was too terrible.

I am not worthy.
I am not worthy of this Love, and I could never be worthy, no matter how much sin I confess, how much time I chose to live as a Christian, how accepted I am in my church, how many people I reach or teach. I study and struggle and search, but it is only when I release myself into Father's care that I am healed, changed, and transformed. Until then, I am just bandaged and splinted. The sin still seeps out from wou…

To the most amazing Dad

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Happy Father's Day, God...


Confession time

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(kneeling beside my keyboard)
Bless me, brothers and sisters, for I have sinned. It has probably been way too long since my last confession...

I have been judgemental and slanderous. I have picked apart teachers and people in authority and fed that negativity to others. Instead of trusting in Dad's goodness and timing, I attempted to create safety for myself by plotting world domination, or at least devising back up plans in case things do not go my way.

I confess this and am sorry with my whole heart, not just because I fear the loss of heaven, not just because I have hurt others or allowed fear to twist my heart, but most of all because it hurts my Father. I ask His forgiveness, as well as yours, and with His help, I resolve to love more and talk less.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

Ok, so that was a little silly, but true nonetheless. Lately I have been thinking about Christians and what it means to be a follower of Christ. I spend a lot of time learning, re…

Little by little...

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I wrote just a tad about my shrine once before, but prior to committing to follow Jesus, I created a shrine to Buddha and Quan Yin in my home.

My marriage struggling, my trust in only the god of my understanding, I sought help where it might be found: meditating on the Buddha's life to quiet my storming thoughts, creating a shrine to focus my practice and devotion, studying Buddha's teaching and the practice of the Eightfold path. On the shrine I placed statues of Buddha and Quan Yin. Quan Yin was a bodhisattava, a little Buddha, who was said to pour compassion into troubled marriages. Well, she didn't do much for us, but I still liked having a female deity in the house. And, for those of you who know me, I enjoyed rebelling against what I "should" believe.

The out of the way shrine has been collecting dust as I justified keeping it as art. Since deciding to follow Jesus, I haven't meditated with it, lit candles, or made offerings, but I also hadn't dismant…

What are you doing?

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I have this friend who is a very cool dad. On a trip, one of his sons was screaming while another was agitating him into even louder wails. My friend turned around asking the agitator, "What are you doing to your brother to make him happy?"

I thought he was asking for a confession of wrong doing- "What are you doing to your brother now?!" Isn't that what we are supposed to do? Confess, repent, then do over-kinda like shampoo, rinse, repeat. But no, he was asking the child to think about his actions (or lack of) and the consequence of the deficiency more than pretend to feel bad about the commission of an act.

Do I do that? Nope. I can say I have not even considered what I am doing to make my brother, or sister or neighbor, happy. I don't even care to make them happy half the time, not unless I was having a good day and liked the person. Why not?!

What if I decided to make that part of my life? What if I intentionally set out to make someone happy each day, to…

Evening Service Comes to a Close

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When Kirk asked me to share a little about how Sunday night affected my life, I was overwhelmed. My life has been significantly impacted by the interactions and relationships that developed as a result of this service, not the least of which, of course, was meeting Christ.
Still, it is hard to explain how much this service means to me.
I showed up 3+ years ago because my husband gave me an ultimatum: go to church with me or we get a divorce. I didn’t like or trust Christians. God and I had just gotten on speaking terms again after years of bitterness and anger. But still, I came. My job only allowed me to come every other weekend, which was fine by me. I didn’t know the songs, couldn’t find my way around a Bible, and knew no one but the small group of 12 step people who had invited my husband in the first place.
In the darkened auditorium, my heart became to thaw. This service was anti-church to me and so I was able to become open, slowly to what I was hearing. No confining pews, no s…

Money, Property, & Prestige

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I admit I can get a little anxious about our current state of affairs. As any reader can see, things are in a bit of transition for me lately so I crave stability. Unfortunately, that just isn't the climate right now. And then I start to wonder, or is it?
I think, because I am bombarded with news reports and tweets and wherever else information seeps into my already saturated brain, that things are pretty crummy. The world feels like it is coming to a catastrophic end any moment. But is it truth or perception? Everyone tells us what is wrong, what is better, what is the wave of the future...why do I listen to all the noise around me? How do I filter it?
I have been looking into our finances the past couple of days, trying to tweak the budget, and am stunned at my wastefulness. Like seriously, get over yourself already-cook at home more! The poor husband is just gonna have to suck it up and eat what I cook. And maybe I will even get better at it... Is the swine flu really any more d…

Feelin' Queasy

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There are moments when, no matter how many other times we lie to ourselves, we have no more delusions that we are God. I'm not talking about the good times of worshiping the Infinite Grace. Right now I am thinking more about those times when we are left, dry and desolate, or queasy.

I am finding myself in such a place lately. Things are changing. My footing no longer feels firm. Things just aren't in the right place, like when you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night after rearranging the furniture earlier that day. I forget that things are ok, that it is still my stuff, when I stub my toe then cry out to Jesus.

I know, in my head, that God has everything in His control. I know, head/heart/gut, that I have no control. Why can't I get my heart and my gut with God? If everything can work together for good, for God, why can't I settle?

What do you do when you know that "good" can be very painful and not seem good at all? Just keep walking, huh?



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