Because we’re family

The Kingdom of God is an upside down Kingdom from beginning to end.

And I struggle as a young person to wrap my head around these upside down commands because nothing about our world is about putting others first.

The worlds says, “Me first!” and the Kingdom says, “Me last!” 

Check out Romans 12:10 in these 3 translations:

NLT: Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

ERV: Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself.

MSG: Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

We are to love everyone like they are our brothers and sisters. This makes sense when you think about it because there are only two types of people in the world: Those who are already our family in Christ and those we want to see become our family in Christ.

My favorite verse is 2 Corinthians 5:16. 

 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!

Evangelism is not about us versus them. Outreach is not about being a bully and forcing Jesus down someone’s throat.

I can’t get away from these thoughts…

I am not sharing the gospel to get ahead.

I am not seeking a platform to build “my ministry.”

 Evangelism has absolutely NOTHING to do with my advancement and absolutely EVERYTHING to do with showing someone else the path to redemption. 

The path of humility is all about taking jealousy and the need to get ahead off the table.

We’re on this journey together.

We’re growing together.

We’re serving together.

You’re not more important than me and I’m not more important than you because we’re family. 

 

 

 

Happy Father’s Day

If your dad is still around, be sure to visit or call. 

It’s weird to think about my parents and grandparents passing away…

As a young adult, I have a hard time picturing life without my family around, but I know one day it will happen. 

Several of my friends have already lost their fathers. They don’t talk about the difficult times and their differences. 

What they talk about is how much one more day would mean. 

Nothing else matters. 

This Father’s Day I’m reminded again about the power of forgiveness, reconciliation, and love.

Hard times come–disagreements happen–but do what you can to make amends. 

Decide to forgive instead of holding a grudge. None of us knows if today is our last. 

When the end comes–for you or your loved ones–wouldn’t you rather know that you’ve done everything you can? 

Regret is a bully. 

You don’t want that hanging over you head. 

 

Identity and DNA

Do you know who you are? 

It’s easy to let yourself be identified by your job, motherhood, sickness, personality type, hobby–I could keep going. 

As Christians, however, our identity is Christ Himself. We are saved by His grace, guided by His Word, and commissioned to tell the world all about it. 

This is who we are. 

Like we talked about a few weeks ago, Jesus is not asking us to drop our brains and our personalities at the door. 

Christians are not bland, boring people. 

Christians are a diverse, beautiful family united and compelled by our devotion to Jesus Christ. 

The Boiler Room discussed 4 fundamental questions this evening that really walk you through what the Christian life is all about. 

  1. Who is God?
  2. What did He do for us?
  3. Who are we? 
  4. What do we do?

These questions–and their answers–are the essence of the gospel message. 

Our identity as individual believers, as the body of Christ, is rooted in the finished work of Jesus. 

It is then lived out in actions that are clearly seen by others. 

Jesus told the disciples in John 17 that the world would know us by our love. 

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:14 that the love of Christ compels us to share the gospel. 

If Christ is our identity and greatest motivator, then love–His self-sacrificing love–is our DNA. 

And with that kind of DNA it puts the actions of our everyday lives in perspective. 

Closer to the Light

How many times have we talked about how Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted? 

Probably enough times that you’re sick of hearing about it….

But it’s true. One of Jesus’ primary purposes in coming to earth was to mend broken hearts. 

I bet you and I could each fill a notebook with the names of friends and families who fall into the brokenhearted category.

In my dream the other night a young homeless girl just needed to be comforted. The weight of the world was crushing her and she found herself all alone. 

Do you know where she was?

At the school library! (See, libraries and librarians are awesome!) 

The librarian knew something was off with the girl and reached out to her. When she did, the girl started to sob. The messy, uncontrollable kind of sobbing that comes from knowing you’re finally safe, someone will help you.

And that’s all the librarian said as she wiped away the girl’s tears: “It’s going to be okay. You’re safe now.”

How many times a day do I pass up an opportunity to comfort someone?

If Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, that means it’s my job to help the brokenhearted. 

This is where following Jesus gets real…

It’s also why the Lord gave me this dream. He only shows me stuff that paints a clear picture of where I’m headed in life. 

Friend, my heart is changing.

I think I finally understand why Jesus said lights aren’t meant to be hidden. 

Following Jesus will always take you straight into the darkest places, places where most people are afraid to go.

You will find the brokenhearted, the poor, the sick, and the oppressed in these dark places. 

Picture a light in the distance getting closer and closer to where you are. Bringing hope and light to the darkness is why Jesus came in the first place.

 

 

 

 

Loving the Cantankerous

One of the lady’s at the nursing home was being feisty today. 

Who’s the boss lady?!? 

What’s a woman gotta do to eat around here? 

She came walking through the cafeteria and wanted to address the group. 

One of our more outgoing chapel goers tried to get her to quiet down and join us. Her loud reply was:

Listen here, lady, I own this place!

At this point, I stifled my urge to laugh and stepped into the situation. 

All I did was walk over to my new friend, stretch out my hand, and ask her to take a walk with me. 

We strolled to the nurses station where my friend was given a banana to snack on until dinner time.

 She walked happily back towards her room, greeting (very loudly) everyone she met. 

Obviously my boisterous new friend has a touch of dementia, but what I saw the most was her loneliness and desire to be understood. 

She smiled at me the whole time we were walking and she did not want to let go of my hand. 

Most of my friends at the nursing home never have visitors, yet they ask for prayer for their family members. 

Whenever I get an opportunity to pray with my friends, I make it a point to ask the Father to show them how much He loves them that week. I ask Him to whisper in their ear, “You’re never alone.”

I am glad my friend interrupted chapel today. 

It was a good reminder to me that my job is to help others–no matter how cantankerous they’re acting.  

Confessions of an Easily Excitable Person

The idea of “So the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) is completely wrecking my thinking.  

As I read back through yesterday’s post, I realized that I need to apologize.

My goal was not to be a cynic but to draw some attention to the fact that Christians are called, compelled, motivated–and all the other synonyms–by the love of Christ to share the gospel. 

Let’s take this a step further: If Christians are to be like Jesus, that means John 1:14 is talking about us. When my friend Pastor Gwen preached on the subject (I blogged about that a few weeks ago) her words reminded me of the restlessness in my heart.

My faith needs action because it’s actually a bit ADD when it comes to just sitting still.

Once again, this is all I’m talking about these days (Lord, please let me still have a few friends who read my posts!)

Before I came to Rhema, I was already antsy when I read the Word and saw these truths. Then I came to Rhema.

Most days I feel like a volcano that is dangerously close to blowing up.

KA-BOOM!!!!!

How can you sit under Bible teaching 3 hours a day and not get fired up? Lord, please…I need some Ritalin–better yet I need to start serving!

So I have found several places to serve both within Rhema Bible Church and within another organization. 

The reason for my apology is because I am a bit of a zealot when excited. It’s just the extrovert in me, I guess, but this is me:

Ms. Excited-About-What’s-Happening-You-Should-Be-Too.

I will try to be less of a nut, okay?

Please know, though, that my heart is not to be a cynic. If you feel like I am being too critical, please let me know. 

 

 

Escape from Bubble Land

Okay, I want to talk about something that might or might not get me in trouble….? 

My dearest brothers and sisters in Christ (those who are not Christians, this is actually a really good time for  you to let me know what you think) we are all overthinking the “in the world, but not of the world” scripture.

Let’s take a minute to look at what Jesus actually said: 

15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world (NLT).

I am not convinced, based on what Jesus said, that we are called to live in Bubble Land. It’s just….not even biblical, okay? There’s no other way to say it. 

Many Bible teachers hammer home that in order to not be contaminated by evil influences Christians must stay away from non-believers.

Any time I hear this kind of teaching my thoughts go to: 

Wow. What about Jesus and the disciples and the early Christians who hung out with all kinds of people? 

Seriously. You can’t read the New Testament and reach the conclusion that it was the nonbelievers’ fault for a Christian’s poor behavior.

If anything, Paul (and the others) chastised the Christians for their weak faith, for not following the teachings of the Bible. It was his or her own choice!

This is why having a home base–be it a friend, your family, or a small group–is key. You can’t live a missional lifestyle and not be accountable to someone. 

Choosing to not share the gospel because you want to live in a bubble is not okay.