hanging out in the proverbial Church Drain...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I had a crazy busy clean day this weekend. The kind where your children live in fear up in their rooms..one, because you keep assigning them chores and two, because you are acting like a lunatic and not so pleasant to be around. That was our Saturday morning. I started in the laundry room. Un-Assembling the clothes rack was my first priority. I then started on the breakfast nook and family room. I dusted, straightened, and vacuumed. I turned around and gave the kitchen a look and grabbed my bucket and Murphy's oil soap and got ready to rumble. I go to the bucket of supplies and pick out my sponge. I dip the bone dry tiny thing into the water and POOF it soaks up twice it's weight and size and I go to work. I almost feel like this post should be a musical and I should burst into a cleaning song complete with singing animals and such..but no, I had to make due with my ipod and the shuffle button. It was about the time Bono was singing about streets having no name when I noticed something. The water in my bucket was getting pretty filthy and I was allowing this sponge to get saturated with the crud and wiping my floors with it. I went and emptied the bucket and got fresh water and soap and started fresh. I cleaned the kitchen, got the laundry partially done and the house was in good order. It struck me later that night as I lie in bed waiting for sleep to eventually show up for our date that I realized something. We are like sponges. Each of us. We soak up more than we can imagine and can hold it quite well. But there is only so much we can hold until we have to be wrung out. Have you ever left a sponge in your sink or laundry room sink for many days? It is putrid! It stinks to high heaven and can even start growing mold and bacteria. It is not able to be used for anything useful and usually gets thrown out. We are like that too you know. I mean, sometimes we go to church, or Bible study and soak in the word. We soak in teachings, we go to all sorts of events and programs filling ourselves to the brim. All good things mind you..but sometimes that is where we stop. We then lie around the proverbial Church drain and just start to stink. We start to grow mold and mildew and just are not useful for anything other than sitting there. We need to be wrung out! I am a firm believer in SERVING! If you are a member or even an attender at a home church you should be SERVING! And not just AT your church. If your church has outreaches into your community DO IT! If they don't have these programs CREATE ONE and INVITE OTHERS TO SERVE WITH YOU! What good is it to fill up on Jesus if we do not allow Him to wring us out to reach and serve others? What good is that? We should be reaching out to our communities, our neighbors and sharing the good news with them. We should be more concerned about that than our order or worship or what our next great "plan" for our church is. I mean, come on. Why in the world would we put the lost and hurting on the back burner to stuff like that? I want to be wrung out. I want to be available to share Jesus with others. I want to be comfortable being UN-comfortable. I don't want to be a putrid, moldy sponge not able to be used.. I want to be used BY God FOR God.

Talk...talk... talk...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I am reading in my Bible this morning and THIS scripture pretty much reaches out and shakes me.. It encouraged me in so many ways.. mostly that I am not to just TALK about everything God has done for me and all He wants to do int others.. I am called to DO what He has told me to do. I love the worsing in the Message translation of this chapter.. the way it starts out just addressing that our lives are just ordinary.. Wow. That is so not how we think sometimes in the "church" world. We think that if we are doing things or leading things that we are "important" people. We have the "good life". But we are just ordinary. It is only THROUGH God working..(note the word WORKING) in and through our lives that it becomes extraordinary. It is all about Him! The concept of not just sitting around thinking about all the cool "things" we can do as a church, all the great songs we can sing, all the cool sermons with tricked out stages we can stand on. Please hear me, these things are not in and on themselves bad things.. but if they are ALL we do .. we are missing it BIG TIME! Like it or not we actually have to DO not just SAY. I know it is long but I encourage you to read Romans 12.. (yes, the entire chapter) below. Let it encourage you, energize you and inspire you to allow God to take your ordinary life and use it for His purpose.. whatever that may be.

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life - and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't. If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face. Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody. Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it." Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

Be encouraged
<3 -h

really real....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

There seems to be this mis-conception that just because someone is on a stage that they have everything "all together" all of the time. Well, I hate to shatter any dreams or burst any bubbles but I am not what you would call the most "put together" person. I struggle with the same insecurities we all struggle with. I look in the same mirrors and see the same flaws. I hear the same discouragments and fight the same battles that we all face on a daily basis. I feel the same hurts and cry the same tears. I laugh and smile the same as you, sometimes even when I really feel like crying. I find myself at a place however; where I do not feel the need or even HAVE the need to hide any of this. I actually feel as if God has placed me in the position I am in as a woman who sings her songs on a stage to then be real with people. I know that God has called me to do what I do.. not for me... but for His glory and for Him to reach others. I find myself praying a lot lately to not allow the enemy to come in and steal from me. I ask God to help me guard my heart, for me to remain strong in my faith in Him.. to not waver in my devotion. It can be hard at times to pray these things.. I face life and circumstances.. I understand. But I know that the times I have chosen to step outside of God's will and God's plan for my life I have missed out on His blessings. I have missed out on being a part of what He is doing. I also allow the enemy to begin to whisper lies to me that I am not good enough or worth God's love. This is a lie... a lie that I will not believe.. and do not want you to believe. God's word tells us that NOTHING can separate us from the LOVE of Christ..
Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We all have stories we have lived out and are going to live out.. God Himself is the author of these stories. His hand holds the pen. His blood is the ink and we are His. His to hold. His to love. His to stretch, mold and use. Be encouraged today.. we are brothers and sisters TOGETHER in Christ... maybe slightly different circumstances but united and the same in CHRIST JESUS.


Double Vision

Friday, July 1, 2011

I have to admit. I can be; at times, a little bit of a procrastinator. I can have all the best of intentions and end up looking like a wishy washy girl who does not do what she says she is going to do. I have to say this is one of my least liked qualities. I often find myself making lists of things to get done, people to call, cards to send, meals to make..and on and on. It is actually, come to think of it, hilarious. I mean, how do I expect to become a NON-procrastinator just by making a "list" and laying out a "big plan". I have been really working on focusing on one thing at a time. Beginning with making sure my priorities are straight.
I say all this to start off with the playing field leveled. Because what I am about to say might upset a few people.. but then again, what else is new? :)
Is it just me or is it frustrating to have all these "movements" within our churches? You know, the ones that get us all "hyped up" and then fizzle out with no more mention of it...ever?! How can we as a church get anything done if all we do is make "to do lists" into sermons and then not really follow it up with anything.
I have been so encouraged lately while traveling and meeting such amazing people who are not just saying they are going to change the world for Jesus, they are doing it, living it .. and I did not see any "lists" in thier hands.
I guess what I am trying to conveigh is my own frustration in MY actions and the reflection of these same actions in the church. I don't want to be this way, I don't want my walk to be a pep rally or a "plan" or a "movement" I want it to be a life changed by Jesus Christ so radically that I can not help but LIVE it out and have those around me affected and changed.

ok, rant over.. now off to make a list ;)