Archive for April, 2007

30
Apr
07

Monday Morning Reflections

Well, another weekend has come and gone and more often I am finding myself meditating on the word that is brought to us in our Sunday service. I have been completely amazed by how impactful our efforts to include creativity into our messages have been – we are such visual people! The combining of spoken word and visual word has had an amazing effect on our ability to retain the point and it inspires me to work harder so that we can do MORE!

There was a very long season in my ministry (post high school until about a year ago) where I used the excuse of not wanting to quench Holy Spirit for my lack of creative preparation. It was uncomfortable for me and for some other church members to think about the prospect of actually planning anything – wouldn’t that limit Holy Spirit’s freedom to show up and do something else? Well, let me just say that that is a pretty sad excuse to explain away laziness! Actually, I have been so amazed by God – He’s so much bigger than we usually give Him credit for! As we have been faithful to seek the Lord and ask Him to show us what is in His heart… He has! Incredible, huh? God is able to show us what He wants to do before Sunday morning! He has never been up in heaven wringing His hands, wondering what in the heck He was going to do that morning as we gathered for church. The truth is, He knew before we ever began The Rock 18 years ago what He wanted to do in our service yesterday. He’s a pretty smart guy, isn’t He? And more incredible than that, He can give us supernaturally inspired ways to illustrate His Word – because He created us with the need to be visually stimulated. HE made us that way! For us to refuse to respond to God’s creative nature is – in itself – limiting God!

Exodus 25.40 Take care to make them according to the plan that I showed you on the mountain.

So… what’s next?

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27
Apr
07

Sometimes I Squawk…

I can hear the birds singing to me outside. The opening of a dewy flower. I wish I could sing like that instead of the annoying crow. You may say that’s crazy…you don’t sound anything like a crow. Oh, but sometimes I do. When I complain about the mess left in the kitchen or about having to go to the grocery store….again…. or about not ever having enough money. Sometimes I squawk…and then I regret it.

A crow is more like the dandelion weeds trying to overtake our serene back yard. No one loves to see them sprout up, and yet I water them everyday…allowing them to grow strong roots and choke the pretty green grass. Crap…

I want to sing like those happy birds out the back door. Reagan’s little ears perk up when he hears them – “birt!” he says – Yes, “BIRD” I say. “BIRT!” And I smile at him. What pleasure he has at the sound of a wild melody – his face crinkles up when I raise my voice.

Sometimes I’m afraid of sounding so pretty – it’s not what people usually expect from me and I don’t want to dissapoint them…no…I wouldn’t want that. <sigh>

26
Apr
07

My Favorite Administrative Professionals

I have to say a big, fat  “Thank You” to my two administrative professionals…Carolyn and Lynne. You two make my job so much more fun and definately a lot easier to deal with! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for putting up with me!

26
Apr
07

Fear Tactics

I don’t want to live in fear. Now…anyone who has known me for a while knows that I’m not afraid of the boogy man, being alone at night or dying in a freak accident involving monkeys with machine guns. I’m typicaly not a fearful person. But, I am concerned about the centuries old religious tactics of fear. I would much rather live my life loving God because He first loved me and because He is a gracious and giving Father – not because I’m afraid of the endless flames of hell.

It’s not just hell that the religious system uses to instill fear. A key factor in the science of successful religious broadcast fund-raising is fear. Listeners are told of the vast conspiracies to “destroy the family” or “stamp out religious freedom.” They are begged to help fight against the “homosexual agenda” or “secular humanism”. By sending them their tax-deductible donations, we can end all of this real or imagined junk and, in return, receive an exciting gift. (a genuine mustart seed in a cube of clear plastic, for example.)

Christians who listen to these fear tactics become afraid. Isn’t God so much bigger than that? Why have we fallen into the trap of believing that we have to use fear or we won’t get our point across? There is so much joy and freedom in the true Kingdom of God – that’s the way I want to live. I want Reagan to grow up without the fear of eternal damnation or becoming a martyr at the hands of “liberals.” Christ died for the sins of all  mankind – He will draw all men unto himself. There is not fear tactic in that!

I have to say that I am stirred up in my spirit. (obviously, if you have read my two previous posts) I have never before been so hungry to know the true heart of the scriptures – without all of the religious baggage of fear filtering my ability to really see through God’s eyes. Seeking God is one big, fat rabbit hole – but it’s a fun ride, isn’t it?

25
Apr
07

“Mistakes”?

So, I’ve started digging. First of all let me say that I am “pondering these things in my heart” just as Mary did when the angel of the Lord told her something that seemed absolutely ridiculous. I make no quick judgements or theology shifts here, but I just feel the need to dig.

We all know that there is great debate surrounding the accuracy of the scriptures. We have been taught that the Bible was verbally inspired – down to its very words. But, we don’t actually have the original writings of the New Testament. What we have are copies of these writings, made years later – in most cases, many years later. What if the scribes inadvertently and/or intentionally changed them in places? For instance, Mark says that Jesus was crucified the day after the Passover meal was eaten (Mark 14:12; 15:25) and John says He died the day before it was eaten. (John 19:14) Or what about Paul saying that after he converted on the way to Damascus he did not go to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before Him (Gal. 1:16-17), whereas the book of Acts says that was the first thing he did after leaving Damascus (Acts 9:26).  Now, these differences are not such that would bring about a major shift in my theology but, what other differences are there?

Even with all the questions, I am commited to the truth of the cross. I believe that before the foundations of the earth were laid, God had a plan for the redemption of man. We have proven the fact that we can never earn our salvation, we can never be good enough to deserve God’s grace and mercy – that is a supernatural gift that is given to us despite our sinful nature. I believe the work of the cross was finished with the death and resurrection of Christ – finished! God put an end to our struggle to be righteous on our own! He made us righteous with the shed blood of His son. How, then, do we live in that freedom? Do we beat ourselves up and live in the fear of eternal hell fire every time we think a bad thought or mess up? No! That attitude would discount the plan of salvation – we are essentially saying that what Christ did on the cross was not enough!

It is enough. We live in true freedom today – we just have to start acting like it!

24
Apr
07

Random Musings From a Frustrated Christian

What if we really got down and dirty with our study of the Bible? I wonder if what we have been taught from scripture is really the truth or just propaganda from early Bible translators to instill fear in us so that we would cling to the law instead of God’s unconditional grace and love? You know, when I was in college a few years ago, I took some philosophy and religion classes that really messed with my theology. But I was fearful of admitting that some of their questions about the validaty of scripture actually made sense to me. We aren’t supposed to question the Bible, are we? I wonder if King James stayed true to the pure form of the scriptures or did he sprinkle in some religious garbage just to keep us strangled in fear and bondage. The truth is, I haven’t taken enough time to really find out the truth for myself.

I believe that many Christ followers have failed when it comes to personal exploration of the scriptures and other historical texts – some have been lulled into accepting whatever comes from the pulpit and are blindly following whatever is fed to us. I have commited to God that I would not continue to be one of them. I want to be a true follower of Christ – one who knows for herself what is in the heart of the Father. The journey before me literally scares the hell out of me – but I believe that it is a journey that I must take.

Why don’t we take the journey together?




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