A wimpy God? Part 2 of “Stop Acting…”

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6676When did God become a wimp? When did Jesus stop recusing people? When did living a Christian life become nothing more than being nice, or trying to be good. When did life become all about do’s and don’ts? When did we come to this place where we think that God and his words are nice sayings to put in Hallmark cards but have no power in our life? When did we stop teaching about “fighting the good ole’ fight of faith”? For one thing I am realizing in my old age of 31, is that their is a war raging and I need the power of the One that created the universe on my side. I need the strong name of Jesus to rescue me from myself everyday. I need the Spirit of Christ residing within me so I can be empowered to stand and fight.

There is a fight going on…You know a fight between darkness and light, a fight  between the lies of satan and the WORD of God, a fight over peace in our home, a fight to destroy marriages, a fight for our children, a fight between grace and hate, a fight between good and evil. There is a war raging for real and if we want to live in the power that God has given to us, we are going to have to fight.   I have decided I am done laying down, I am picking up my armor and I am going to fight.

When we turn to the New Testament we read of the gospel itself as “the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith” (Rom 1:16). “To all who received” Jesus Christ “who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (Jn 1:12). In that life as children of God power is received from the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:8), inner strength to live in his service (Eph 3:16), power to be his witnesses (Lk 24:49; Acts 1:8), power to endure suffering (2 Tm 1:8), power that enables for ministry (Eph 3:7), power in the face of weakness (2 Cor 12:9), power through prayer (Jas 5:16), and power to be kept from evil (1 Pt 1:5). Those who do great things in the service of Christ do not do them in their own strength (Acts 3:12); he sent out his disciples confident only in the assurance that all things are under his authority and that they would have the power of his unfailing presence with them (Mt 28:18–20).Francis Foulkes

The God  of Abraham, Isacc and Jacob, the God of Moses, Elijah, and King David is not a wimp. And the followers that Christ produced when he walked this earth were fanatics who risked everything for the cause. They even gave their lives because they had been so transformed by the power of the resurrection and the Spirit of Christ that breathed on them like fire. This same powerful God and the same transforming power of the resurrection can bring us back to life. The breathe of God can fill us and we can live a life of freedom.

You might say “Oh, Emily this sounds too mystical, too fairly tale land, do you really believe in all this spiritual stuff and demons and angels and God breath, come on?” I would say just look around. Look at our movie makers, our TV shows, look at our complete fascination with the spiritual world. I think we would all agree we are spiritual beings that is what sets us apart from the other creatures on this earth.  Doctors and psychologist agree and deal with the fact that there is a part of the human being that is spiritual. I believe the darkest, scariest movie that comes out of the imagination of man, is a glimpse of the reality of the war that is raging for our lives everyday. (Notice the picture I chose for this blog, cute right?)

The good news is we do not serve a wimpy God! The good news is he did not have a wimpy Son enter this world and fail at his mission. The good news is Christ has overcome the world and every thing on the earth and under the earth will bow to the name of Jesus. The great news is we don’t have to be wimpy either!

I hope to continue this conversation in part 3…

 

 

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Stop Acting Like a Christian Part 1:

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how-to-become-an-acting-coachHave you ever heard this statement “If you are a Christian, ACT like it!”, with self-righteousness foaming out of the mouth. I have heard it way too many times in my “Christian” circles and recently have been challenged to a new way of living. A powerful way that does not involve “Acting.”

I grew up in the Charismatic denomination, the kind you see on TV, hand raising, falling out, speaking in tongues, running around the church, all about the “Holy Spirit” type church. I went to a Wesleyan University, not knowing anything about Wesleyans, I soon discovered that the Wesleyans  are afraid of the “Holy Spirit” or at least the “Holy Spirit” of the Charismatic church. I love my heritage from the Charismatic church and I love that I went to a Wesleyan University and now work for a Methodist church. I love it because one thing I KNOW for sure, no one has this whole God and Bible thing figured out and what each denomination or school of thought brings is a piece to the whole and complexity of God. The Charismatic church taught me how to have a deep driving passion to know God and to be in communion with him, to long to know God with my senses and believe that he speaks. The Wesleyans taught me to use my mind, to think, to study, to test, to grow in my understanding and not be afraid to question. Now the Methodist have taught me that we are all screwed up and we all need grace. A pretty beautiful picture when these 3 collide.

This is what I am afraid of; in our fear of the crazy we have seen on TV or the abuse of the religious many of our churches have abandoned the Holy Spirit and are trying to live a life that somehow represents Christ and the only way you can do that is to create rules. Rules are safe, rules help us know what to do and what not to do. Rules take away the gray and provide clear black and white guidelines. Rules are logical and rational and appease my minds desire to feel in control. Yet rules can leave you in a place where you stop growing and become blind to your own sinfulness.

“We don’t drink, we don’t smoke, we don’t cuss, we don’t watch “R” movies, we don’t get tattoos or piecing, we don’t associate with homosexuals, we don’t dance, we don’t go to the casino (ooo shameful), we don’t dress un-modestly and we don’t have sex before marriage!, we don’t use that language.” I could go on and on. This is the thing Christ, the one we say we are following did not come “for external modifications, he came to change the human heart (Christine Cain).”  So here we are this huge group of “Christians” walking around thinking we are better or righteous because we “don’t do theses things” but the problem is our heart, our mind, our soul has not been transformed because we are afraid of the one that transforms, we are afraid of the very cure for our sickness, and most of us do not even realize we are sick.

The heart of man is dark, the mind of man twisted and self-absorbed, the soul of man empty and searching. The fight for our life, the fight against good and evil,  is a battle every day and without the help and power of a greater force than ourselves we will fail.

I have recently come to an understanding of myself and the empowerment of the Spirit of Holiness or the Spirit of Christ, that is changing me and changing my perspective on life. I hope to share a few things I am learning if you will hang with me.

I will leave part 1 with this thought: We were not meant to act, perform, or be a robot, the life of Christ, the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ all happened so that we could become NEW.


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17

 

 

 

 

To worship or not to worship?

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I wrote this almost a year ago, I do not think the previous title was fitting, I gave this a new title and made a few changes. I hope you will take a moment to reflect.

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images “Why should we join together on Sunday mornings in an old building? What is the point? Why do we need this? You saying I have to go to church is so legalistic and Jesus was all about breaking the rules, right? I am a Christian, but I don’t go to church, the “church” is people anyway, not a building. I can have church at home by myself.” I have been studying the topic of IDOL worship or Self-Worship and have come up with a few ideas to these questions.

1. We need to worship If you read my post, Self-Worship, this might sound familiar. We needto worship, why you might ask? Because we are caught in the cycle of mankind, the cycle that the Israelites found themselves in over, and over again. “Prone to wander Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.” says the old…

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You Deserve More than a Scan…

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ImageYour attention span is only 5 seconds long, as opposed to 10 years ago it was 12 minutes. I get 140 characters to get my point across or you are out. Which is about to right here….(See ya!) I just read some research on How Social Media is Ruining Our Minds and have read several other articles and research all dealing with some of the same ideas and the truth of the matter is, Mark Zuckerberg changed the world. Facebook is to us like the printing press was to the world in 1445, when spoken word and ideas could now be circulated to the masses. Facebook has opened the door for the average Joe or the average Jane, me, to have a platform, a “publisher” if you will, that cost me nothing to send my thoughts and writings to the world. It is pretty incredible and we love it! It feeds us, feeds our ego and feed our hunger for connection and community. Yet I have a thought for you that has been churning in me for the last few weeks. My husband deserves much credit for these are concerns or apprehensions he has had for a while yet it took me experiencing it for it to really hit home. All the conversations and pillow talks finally made sense.

The house was quiet, the kids were all off to school, hubby was off to work,  I opened all the blinds of my new house in the country to let the sunshine in, sat down on the couch to read, drink my tea and enjoy the peace. I picked up my phone to check a few things, email, Facebook, etc. I found myself on Facebook, as my thumb slowly scrolled through my homepage posts. You know all the stuff that comes up on your homepage because it might be relevant to you or the people you follow, you know. This day I found a guy that I have not spoken to in 10 year, post that his cousin passed away, sandwiched around his post was a cute post about someone finding a mouse in their house and the husband trying to shoot it with a bebe gun and another post about something silly someone’s child did. As I scanned over the post about the passing of a loved one and found myself more fascinated with the bebe gun story, as you probably just did, I paused….

We have done this to ourselves. YOU DESERVE MORE THAN A SCAN. I found myself reflecting on the magnitude of the passing of a loved one and I felt like I did not even deserve to know, I have not talked to you in 10 years, I cannot give you the proper compassion due at a time like this. We are not connected, we are not walking through life together, we are not sharing joys and sorrows. Yet we throw out this information that is sacred, the loss of life, the gift of life, the pains of life and really in doing so we throw out our heart, our pearls if you will to me the swine. I am the swine on the other side that only has enough room for 140 characters, that will only give you 5 seconds before I move on, that does not have room in my heart to give you the compassion you deserve. You deserve more than a scan of my thumb over your sacred pain or sacred joy.

Yeshua gives us a really great model of how he related with humans and interacted with them while on earth. He chose 12 people to walk through life with and of those 12 there was an inner circle of 3. Those 3  went with him to the very painful and very life transforming places. Not everyone deserves to share in your sacred moments. This is a lesson I am learning too, and just slowly understanding why it is so import to “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23

I wish I was Dumb

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I have been ruined, ruined by exposure, education, media, research, and experience, I have seen the depths of the darkness of humanity and I wish I just dumb to it all. It would just make life easier, I would sleep well at night, I would be content with the mundane, I wouldn’t worry about the future and I wouldn’t fill my head with dreams of taking action. I would be able to spend money on whatever I wanted and never consider if someone is being enslaved to make my cute $10.00 shirt. I could drink my coffee and forget about if it is fair trade or not. I could listen to music on the radio and not worry about this music feeding the sex trafficking industry. I could get caught up in my simple, easy life of raising 3 precious boys , cook pinterest meals, make my homemade crafts, lead worship on the weekends to my white middle class church, and just be content and not be bothered with the vast injustice that is staring me in the face.

Instead I am angry, angry that my biggest concern is if I have all the ingredients to make my dinner tonight.  Here I am staring at the current problems of not just the U.S but the problems of humanity, such as, hunger, sex trafficking, human slavery, orphaned children, devastation, natural disasters, and it would just be easier if I did to know. I can remember sitting in Current Problems in Human Relations at OU of Tulsa working on my Master and after 3 weekends of intense debates and discussions over the current problems facing our country, I sat there overwhelmed by it all thinking how can we ever make a difference in all this mess and I said to myself, “I can’t wait to get back to my little Bartlesville, where I don’t have to think about all this.” How true and sad is this for many of us, we can lock ourselves in our Facebook, church-going, middle-class circles and close “the world” out so easily. And honestly today I wish I could. If only I knew nothing about sex trafficking and girls now as young as 4 years old being sold to be used and tortured for the pleasure and entertainment of wicked men. This Saturday January 11th is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, educate yourself, but with the disclaimer that once you know, you can no longer be DUMB. I just watched the movie “The Whistleblower” based on a true story about a female cop from the U.S. that takes a position in Bosnia with the U.N only to uncover a huge sex scandal. The movie is very graphic and if you want to stay dumb to the reality of sex trafficking do not watch it, this movie will ruin you.  Did you know this is happening in our own backyard?

Peterson said. “For too long, most people thought this is a Third World problem. The United States is the No. 1 destination for sex trafficking in the world. And Oklahoma’s right in the middle of the country, the crossroads of all the major interstates.” From OKNews

I have a lot more to say about this topic but for today I just wish I was dumb to it all, but I am not and now I feel some kind of urgency to do something. I know I can’t save the world, but I hope to possibly compel a few to action or move your compassion.

Christine Cain has a ministry to rescue girls out of sex trafficking check out her website http://www.thea21campaign.org 

WHAT CAN YOU DO??????? These are a few ideas of things I do to help raise money for the causes I believe in. I have a very giving heart, but to a fault, I need someone to balance me out because I would give all my money away to my own detriment, so my husband is my balance. I have found ways to give without money coming out of our budget.

Few ideas:

1. The EASIEST thing in the world to do is download the IGIVE button to your computer http://www.igive.com//VuNjTwF. You can choose your cause and as you shop online it donates money to your cause. SO EASY! DO THIS NOW!

2. We have a consignment store in town that sells household items, I take stuff there often, they send me a check. People donate stuff to me cause they know I raise money of causes, I take their donated items there as well.

3. There are children’s clothes and toy consignment shops in my town as well, I take things there often.

4. I have a garage sale almost once or twice a year. I tell my friends and church folks, you will be surprised how many people will give you their junk!

5. I sell refurbished furniture on craigslist

6. I have a booth at a local shop The Vintage Loft and Junk Boutique, I sell hand make jewelry and other crafted items, I have a crafting for causes co-op that also helps me make stuff for the booth. I try to get as many ladies involved helping me as possible. See my crafting for causes tab on my homepage and join my co-op if you would like!

7. I have done a Holiday Market 2 years at my church and this year at The Vintage Loft to raise money specially for the children’s home in Kenya that we help support through The HELPS Organization.

8. I keep a change box that has no way to get change out (that is the key).  I let the kids helps me put the change in. I will tell them go put this in the box for “the kids” and they love it. (Our Kenyan kids)

There are so many things you can do. This year, do something.

Peace has Spoken

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Image In Mel Gibson’s graphic  movie “Apocalypto,” the viewer beholds an artistic take on the Mayan culture prior to 900 AD.  In reviewing the facts portrayed in the movie one will discover there is some exaggeration and a mix of Mayan and Aztec cultures that have been melded together. Nevertheless, the movie shows what I believe lies at the core of the human experience.

The movie shows vast altars built high into the skyline with Kings and Queens standing on top of these handcrafted towers that over look the people. On top of these altars they sacrifice humans to their gods, to appease them, to keep peace.  In a time when it took the sweat and bloodstained hands to plow the land to receive subsistence and to gather water to survive. When the right amount of rain and sun was the difference between life and death. It was a time when the scripture “Those who do not work, do not eat,” was lived everyday (2 Thessalonians 3:10). I had a rude awakening to this the other day as I was shopping at ALDI. I got to the freezer section and the freezers were almost empty. I am among the generation and the people who are so disconnected from the earth that we literally forget that the food in the stores comes from someone working the land. I throw away the last few crumbs in a bag or spoiled food out of the refrigerator without a second thought. Because to me all I need to do, is go to the store and buy more, right? As I saw these freezers empty, I asked myself, “Oh my goodness, what if we could not just buy more?” “What if my subsistence depended upon my ability to gather, farm, sew, create transportation, kill livestock, what if rain and sun were a matter of life or death to me?”

Why did the Mayans and the Aztecs sacrifice humans? And to what god? Why did they think that the sacrifice of humans or sacrifice in general did anything? Since the beginning of time humans have been trying to figure out how to be at peace or one with this earth we have been placed on to live. Let me paint a picture for you…

The cave man comes out of his cave and sees the big glowing ball of fire in the sky, and then how it descends at night. He works the land and see that he needs rain or water for the plants to grow, yet he also needs that glowing ball of fire. That ball of fire seems to be the most powerful thing in his world. The cave man plants some seeds and rain will not come. His family starts to starve, the cave man does not know what to do, the cave man asks the big glowing ball of fire to please hide itself and send rain. The cave man pleads with the ball of fire, saying I will do anything, please send rain. The next day it rains. The cave man sees his request has been granted, the big ball of fire, must be in control of all this…the cave man decides it must be his job to  keep the big glowing ball of fire appeased, happy, maybe I shall give it something, maybe I should show the ball of fire that I noticed my request has been answered. Maybe if  I can please this supreme being, my family will live?  Maybe when there is no rain he is angry? Maybe if there is rain, I have done something to please this supreme power? So the journey begins, the quest to live at peace with the Universe. Humans have been trying to figure it out for a long time. Thinking that somehow we can appease the gods or the great powers that run this place.

Shalom in hebrew means peace, The Strong Concordance defines the word shalom as:

“Completeness, wholeness, peace, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony; the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalam meaning to be complete, perfect and full, thus shalom is much more than the absence of war and conflict; it is the wholeness that the entire human race seeks.”

I believe this to be true, I believe that each human has a soul or a spirit and I believe at the center of all that we are, we long for PEACE. True peace, peace in all its fullness.  We try to figure out what do do with the sickness of our soul everyday. We don’t feel  good enough, we carry shame, we feel guilt, we want to resist pain and hurt, to bypass loss and death, and we cannot do it. And when you are a good person and try to treat others well and you work for your family and you still lose your son unexpectedly, you ask why? And you screw up and make a bad decision and you hate yourself for it and you cannot forgive yourself for this stupid decision you made, and you don’t know why? When you have been hurt by someone else and you feel it is so undeserved, and you don’t understand how someone could be so cruel? You look around and the darkness, the pain, the hurt of this place is so deep, so overshadowing, it all seems hopeless. We will drive ourselves crazy trying to figure it all out, what is fair, what is not, why this happens, why this doesn’t, the root of it all is there is an epidemic that has penetrated every human that walks the planet, it attacks everyone, it is no respecter of persons, it is the complete depravity of the soul.

This is the problem, the maker, the inventor, the master mind, the creator of all things saw fit to fix it.  It started with some rules and laws. Keep these Words and you can overcome this depravity, this immorality, this darkness, the rules didn’t work. He sent messengers, reminding people there is this solution to what you need it is found in the ONE, and the people would say “okay”, then in their times of hardship, they would want something more tangible, something they could see, something more than someone who simply revealed himself in WORD. “We need to make sure all our bases are covered, we need more security than this, this ONE. Two is better than one, they say, so maybe we need more help than just from this ONE. ” The epidemic was so strong, there needed to be an answer that provided a vaccine, a cure, a panacea.  The soul of man could not find PEACE through laws and rules, it could not find peace through striving, through sacrificial systems, through good deeds, through war, through kings or judges. The soul of man needed THE Cure.

This great power who had only identified himself as the ONE, the WORD, the I AM,  had prepared a people group, a bloodline, to which he chose to use to enter this world. He then adorned himself in the dust of earth and came and lived here. And why? For what purpose would this great power leave His home and come to ours? He came to bring the cure. No more striving to be good enough, no more hating yourself, no more guilt,  no more hopelessness, no more shame, no more fear, no more having to sustain yourself, no more hidden pain, no more would the depraved soul be master of our flesh.  The cure has come!

What the Mayans needed, what the Aztecs needed, what the Israelites needed, what the United States needs, what Africa needs, what Asia needs, what India needs, what my neighbor needs, what my family needs, what I need, we ALL need it, we all long for it, we could spend our whole life searching for it in all the wrong places. For this place we live offers generics. It comes in forms of ideology- just think right, self-help-just facilitate the right habits, psychology-just get some good therapy, education-just read this theory, enlightenment-just go learn to quiet your mind, humanism-you have the power in yourself to accomplish all you need, self-love- just love yourself and accept everyone and everything and we will all overcome. My dear readers, you cannot, you are not powerful enough to overcome the darkness in you without the ONE that makes  darkness dissipate. He is the only way, he is the cure, he is the panacea. No one will ever find life, but through HIM. He is the Wholeness the Human Race seeks, he is The Prince of Peace.

This is what I know. We have a choice, our soul can be eternally in distress or eternally at peace, we choose. Peace Has Spoken.

Paralyzed without Purpose

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Paralyzed without Purpose

Are you bored with life? Do you go to work, come home, watch some TV, maybe go to church or not, try to do good,  yet you want more? Do you feel unsatisfied? I believe there is a purpose, a call, a place for each one of us. I believe it is strategic. I believe it is to expand the Kingdom of the Most High. What are you doing to be part of this expansion? There is a war raging, and darkness wins if the light finds itself paralyzed without purpose

I was recently sitting with a group of women as we each shared our burden for the body of Christ and the world in which we live (Shout-out to D2D ladies!!). It was beautiful and refreshing to be among company that shared the same heart beat. One word that kept resounding through our conversation and time together was “Relationship.” It is funny how something so simple can become so novel. Is this not what we were created for, relationship?? Was man put on Earth to just work and toil and reproduce? Do we have purpose here on this pile of dirt? Is their something greater that beacons us to take our place?

I have recently been inspired by 2 women Christine Caine and Jen Tringale both very compelling speakers and my heart just leaps at the message they have for this time. In my own way I would like to share this burden. It is 2 fold….and it is simple. 1. There are lost people wandering around who need hope and purpose, Christ wants to reach them. 2. Each of us has a place and a role in touching the lives around us, EMBRACE your PLACE.

I want to use my friend Crystal’s story to paint this picture. My friend Crystal is young in her late 20’s. She has twin girls that are 4 and a little boys that is 6 and Husband who is in the Military.  Crystal has worked at Sonic for 10 years. She worked her way up from the bottom and is now the Co-Manager of a million dollar store. When I first met Crystal and heard she worked at Sonic in my small mindedness I felt like I want to rescue her out of that job. “Have you considering going back to school?” “You should work at corporate sonic.” But then you talked to Crystal and she could tell you story after story of how her presence in  Sonic is changing people through relationship. She LOVES her job, she loves what she does, her heart beats for the drug addicts, recently incarcerated and the homeless young people hopping from house to house who walk through her door and want a job. Then she stands beside them and trains them and teaches them about responsibility, about being grateful for a job and a pay check about working hard.  My favorite Crystal quote, “Everything you do is a reflection of who you are, If you are a crappy car hop, what does that tell me about you?”

You see, Crystal has found her purpose for this season of her life. I believe God is so strategic that he knew that in 2013 in Bartlesville, Ok on the corner of Hwy 75 and Nowata he needed Crystal. He needed a beacon of light in that Sonic. He needed someone willing to get down in the dirt and work hard with a people, in place that many do not want to mess with. He needed a Crystal that would not only recognize her “PLACE” but “EMBRACE” this place, this season with all her heart and be light to the lost people around her.

What God has done for Crystal he wants for YOU. He wants you to completely “EMBRACE” the “PLACE” he has you right now for this season. If you are in a place were you are not happy with your job or life, PRAY. Cry out to God, ask him to open your eyes to your purpose, to your place. As you PRAY, don’t try to squirm out of the place you are  for this moment but learn everything you can and humble yourself to his Lordship over your life. I am sure that if you work or if you do not work, if you stay at home with children or if you juggle a full time job and children, I am sure if you are a single parent, divorced, married, old or young, there are people in very close proximity, that need a relationship with the ONE who gives hope and purpose to a very boring meaningless life. He needs you to be willing to walk into RELATIONSHIP, to open up your life to be used for a greater purpose for a greater good.

Relationship is the way of Christ. He set the bar as he walked into RELATIONSHIP knowing it would hurt at times, it would not be easy at times, it would be be extremely rewarding and it would be extremely fulfilling. He poured out his life into 12 men and through those relationships, He changed the World. Don’t allow the darkness to paralyze us, abolish the darkness with light! He has called you out of darkness into His light for a reason and for a purpose. Lord help us EMBRACE our PLACE.