But I don't want to feel the pain.....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

There seems to be a little more calm in South Florida today. You see, the hurricane is not projected to not hit us. The sigh of relief is almost an audible from the entire state. I glance over the feed on my twitter and facebook and read anywhere from "Praying that this storm goes away" to " God, move this storm away from us and keep us safe". It is a mix of pleading, politely asking and downright having camp meeting and "claiming" that the storm WILL move. I sip my coffee and read this:

James 1:2-4
The Message (MSG)
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Hmmm.... SERIOUSLY?! consider it JOY? Surely, James, you MUST be joking?! I mean, I live in America, where we are promised a dream and a house with 2.5 children and happiness. I consider THAT a joy.. not these challenges you speak of. I mean, why in the world would I want to be happy about being in trials? There seems to be some sort of mix up in our thinking when it comes to stuff not going exactly "our" way. I know for me my prayers are a mixture of "Lord, please keep my children safe today" and "God, help me get through this day and keep me from danger, give me favor". It is a long way from the prayer I probably should be praying something like.. "God, whatever your will is for me today..whatever purpose I am to serve today...whatever my children's purpose is today.. fulfill it by whatever means you have prepared for us." Scary..no? I, in all honesty, am not even quite comfortable typing it out right now. It is terrifying all the more when I include my own children into this prayer. It is almost "unnatural" for me to say such things. I am a firm believer in God's love and His care for us. But I am also aware that He has a plan for me and for us. How can I expect Him to fulfill this plan if I am the one calling the shots.. even in my prayer requests of Him. It is almost as if I am "telling" Him what to do by how I pray. Is that even wise of me? Is it smart to take the wheel and then act as if I am letting Him be in control. I have to say this is something today that I am going to be thinking on and trying to change. I want Him to have control...i think.. right? I want Him to shine through me and get out of the way... i think.

My prayer today is that I embrace whatever I face with the knowledge that my life is completely God's. That whatever I face He is in control and I am willing to consider it Joy and grow through it... I don't want to be afraid of pain. I want it to be used BY GOD to change me and allow me to Shine for Him.

Handing out binkys to believers..

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

If I see one more "self help" make me feel super fluffy and tingly Church group I just may throw up. Yes, I intend to be confrontational in this post. Yes, I intend to be "in your face". The fact of the matter is, where the heck is the American Church? Where are we in our community? Are we a presence? Are we a lighthouse that send out rescue boats? Or are we a club of people that sit in our buildings, maybe venture out now and then for parades or "outreach performances"? If we preach from our pulpits that the end times are what we are living in.. why then are we not RADICALLY reaching out and preaching the Gospel to anyone and everyone we meet? Why are we still content to just sit on our backsides and LISTEN about all the signs of us being in the end times. Is it just so we can make sure WE are ready for Jesus to return? I am going to say absolutely not! If that were true He would never have had to stay away so long. The disciples could have just sat there on that mountain for a few minutes have one of them stand up and talk about how they needed to make sure they were ready for Him to return and then.. He could have come back and taken them with Him. Jesus was PASSIONATE about the lost. He was PASSIONATE about making them FOUND. He spent His life here on earth being an example of how we should be. He never stayed inside a building and just talked about the kingdom of God and kept the truth from people. He walked among us and spoke the Truth of God to everyone He met. He was not afraid of the world. He was heartbroken for it. He died for it...for us.
I read this scripture this morning and pretty much this is what got me fired up.

Matt 9:10-13(MSG) Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew's house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus' followers. "What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riffraff?"Jesus, overhearing, shot back, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: 'I'm after mercy, not religion.' I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders."

I am so sick of complacency.. I am PASSIONATE about people coming to Christ and I can't do that sitting around waiting for the church to pacify me and make me feel all good and fluffy. I need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable in this life.

aaaaaaaaaaaand scene...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ever feel like there is a competition for "heavens academy awards" going on when you step into Christian circles? When the question arises "so, how are you?" The responses are staggering.."oh, I am so BLESSED!" "God has just poured out BLESSING on me this week" "Everything is just wonderful! Couldn't be better!" "I am just going to break my face from smiling so much.. I am just so HAPPY and doing so GREAT!"
Wow, I am at a loss of what to do.. do I stand and clap or run away because my week was not so stepford wifish? I really am confused. These ARE the same people I talk to during the week right? These are the same people who a few days earlier were telling me about their crappy jobs and their struggles and pains and even the ones who were bad mouthing other people.. right? I mean ... I AM in the right place.. no? I am confused. We are so salty and lightly IN church yet, it seems sometimes we are not that way OUTSIDE of the church walls. It is backwards no?
I am a control freak. There, I said it. I like to be in control of what is going on. I like to know what is going to happen and when. I then like to be the one who is telling other people what is going on and when. It is pretty hard for me to let go of this. Here's the thing..If GOD is in control why do we freak out about the little things? I find myself getting flustered about things that in the grand scheme are controlled by Him. Psssst....We all do it..we all pretend that we don't.. we all think that if we act like we have no control issues or struggles that this makes us more "spiritual"..well, I am here to tell you I am NOT that "spiritual" I struggle.. which is good.. because if I had it all together I would not have any need for God.I am so glad HE holds me together.
There seems to be a lack of genuine yearning for God. It seems that we apply a mask to our problems instead of applying GOD to them. It is a funny thing, but when GOD is applied to our struggles, hurts, situations we are not in any way responsible for it. We HAVE to give over control. Which means the bragging rights are HIS not ours. Which means that all the "oh, I am just fine" has to melt away. The times that God has used me the most are the times I have been humbled enough to admit a struggle to another person and then share with them the power of GOD and the power of CHANGE in my life. It never ceases to amaze me to see GOD do the work... and me not to take the credit.

It is so important for us to be REAL. It is so important because if we just pretend we are all right we are allowing pride and self to rule and not God. We are allowing our need to please OTHERS over ride our call to please God. It is funny, we think that all the charades are pleasing to God, when He sees our hearts and longs to know them.

So, I am now tearing up my acceptance speech for the "church Oscars" and giving back the chocolate filled statuesque. thank you.