Thursday, August 28, 2008

Moving to Contentment - 3

What is true blessing? I think many people within the consumerist mindset skew blessing.

I believe it is the gift of not needing to find our identity in looking better or having better things rather than receiving a raise on our job.

I believe it is the freedom from feeling you need more money, food, friends...freedom from fear that Jesus is leading you in a direction that seems “downhill” or on a thinner, less walked, harder road rather than the fact that there was a sale today and you saved a few bucks (when you, like me, might already have a ton more than most of the rest of the population in the world).

I believe it is the freedom to doing the simple, “little” things like knowing, loving, and serving people in their brokenness rather than...I think you get the idea.

Our focus should not be on “the things of the world,” but on confidence and contentment with God and what His kingdom brings.

Paul considered everything (a good name, stable income, respect, being accepted by the culture or religious system...) as loss compared to knowing Christ.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

May They Be One - 2

Jesus' final prayer was that believers would be “one”.

So I ask “How do we as people separate ourselves from each other? Do we help the weak, the struggling...with our being, not just our money/resources? Do we let charity keep us feeling good and at a distance?

Do we live in the pattern of this world (worried about what we have/don't have, who knows us and how, if people like us, if we look good...) or are we transformed by the renewing of our mind (truly seeking first the kingdom of God (rather than our own) and trusting that what we need will be provided (Matthew 6:25-34) – and I don't think what we need necessarily means a nice house, nice clothes, safe neighborhood...what some might call the "American dream"). Who is missing love? Who is missing food? Who is being pushed under the rug by society?

I ask and hear Jesus asking me, "If you're holding on, are you willing to let go?"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Disturbing the Religious Side of Society - 1

these thoughts have been rolling in my mind for some time. this past sunday they distracted me during the sermon, so i roughly scratched them onto a few pieces of's the beginning...

I used to write "seeking to be His hands and feet" at the end of e-mails I sent people ("His" referring to Jesus). Now I write "learning to be His hands and feet" because I started to actually think about Jesus' hands and feet, where they walked, what they did, what they were willing to do. I started to think about how he lived and what he said, and how he said it to whoever he said it to. I am learning this because while I have the knowledge, it means nothing if I don't live currently God is beginning to teach me what it means to live it, and it is a hard lesson.

So I asked myself "how did Jesus live? " I came to the conclusion that he befriended the outcasts. He loved and defended people who most in society didn't love or defend (and so i ask "who might that be in my or your neighborhood, town, city..."). He touched the "untouchables".

He spoke truth, the honest truth, which disturbed the society he was raised in, especially the overpowering religious part of the society. This makes me wonder what he would say (or have me or maybe even you say) about or to the religious part of our society today...which I can't write without also saying that I think we need to be careful we don't carry our own agenda with our words.

sidenote: You and I need to express Jesus' message, which he spoke with the help of the Father, not our own. And people need honesty, not hate. And even if you do have things to say, you need to consider that there is a time to speak and a time to listen (James 1:19), a time to do something and a time to wait. We need to seek the Lord in speaking. And in speaking, we need humility. None of us should consider ourselves better than others (Philippians 2:3)...but recognize that we are flawed as well, and God is in love with everyone else as much as He is in any individual.

James says that "religion" acceptable to God is that people would take care of "orphans and widows" and keep themselves from being "polluted" by the world (I believe this has less to do with things like smoking, drinking, swearing the things some religious circles talk about as evil – and more about how we do things and who we are in doing what we do whether we're having a beer, talking about the day, playing a sport, or at work).

I feel there is more to life than "church". There is being the hands and feet of Jesus...together. There is being the Body, ready to speak truth in love, willing to wash dirty feet (John 13:1, 12-15), and learning to let go of our lives in order to truly live.