Sep 26, 2011

Whom do You Follow?

Something in the Christian church has been plaguing my heart lately. Something small, almost insignificant; something some would say isn't an issue at all.

But I have to wonder: have we so focused our beliefs on Jesus that we have excluded God?

I see it in the hymns we sing: What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Soon and Very Soon, Since I Have Been Redeemed. I hear it in the words that are preached. I even see it in the way that we (I?) think. How often have you heard the question, "How could a loving God ___?" We see Jesus' compassion, His love, and forget the rest of the Trinity. That Jesus is only part of God, that He is not synonymous with God, and that God is full of wrath.

I see it so often in the words my friends type online: Jesus is the King, Jesus is so good, would Jesus really want for you to do such and such?

Yes, Jesus is integral to the relationship we have with God. If it weren't for Him, we would never be good enough to enter Heaven. But.

Jesus is NOT the fullness of God. Yes, in Him the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily (Col. 2:9), but to worship Jesus to the exclusion of the other two-thirds of the Trinity? That's where the danger lies.

God encompasses so much more than Jesus and His earthly ministry. Even His heavenly ministry. God encompasses the beginning of time itself, the harsh punishment He gave to Adam and Eve, the exile of Cain, the destruction of the world as it was with the flood, the annihilation of Sodom and Gomorrah, the harsh and even cruel punishments of the nations that He chose to punish through the Israelites. God also encompasses the Spirit's work in the prophets, in certain men from the Old Testament, and in our lives today. The boldness to speak what we should, the words He gives us for a hurting friend...these are not done by the work of Jesus but of God the Father and God the Spirit.

Call me a heretic, but I believe that giving Jesus more credit than He is due is just as damaging to the church as saying that Jesus is nothing more than an angel, a brother to Satan. Call me a heretic, but I believe that this slight distortion can be just as damaging, if not moreso, to the church as Gnosticism was and has been. Call me a heretic, but I think we need to see a change.

We need to see the Bible as it stands as a whole, not just the New Testament. We need to view the Bible as one letter from one God who happens to have 3 parts. And we need to make sure our speech makes it clear that we not only follow Christ but that we also (and more importantly) follow God, the Trinity, the whole Person of the Godhead. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 24-25 (NASB, emphasis mine)

Sep 24, 2011

What sort of people ought you to be?

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 2 Peter 3:11-12

I've been reading the New Testament, specifically any non-Pauline letters. I think a lot of times, we read and hear what Paul wrote while we neglect the rest of the New Testament or even the Old Testament. I read the passage above today, and it's been weighing heavily on my mind.

What sort of people should we be?

After all, this world is fading. It will be burned one day, along with everything we've accumulated. Wealth, power, prestige, success...even "good" things like clothes, computers, food, shelter. All of this? This that we've gained while on earth? It's going  to be burned. To ashes. Pointless.

How will we have affected this world? The people in it? What will the fires show at the end of the world? Were we caring? Genuine? Did we love our enemies? Did we bless them who cursed us? Did we show love and compassion to the lost and hurting, or did we just skim over their needs?

I'm often humbled with the knowledge that even though my husband is without a job, we're still wealthier than most of the people in this world. Tonight, I read this post that challenged that thought even further. I encourage you to read it (bring tissues!) I also encourage you to pray and ask yourself if your possessions have a hold on you. If so, pray for a new perspective. If they don't, then what is keeping you from sharing, from giving the least of these your all?

It's a hard question which I don't know the answer to. For myself. For our family. For the world.

Sep 23, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Growing

Linking up again with Lisa-Jo for the most freeing 5 minutes known to this blogger. :) Yes, I'm actually taking the time this week for Five-Minute Friday!

You know the drill: Write for 5 minutes on the topic (Growing) with no editing. Just writing what comes from the heart without looking for perfection.


Growing can be painful. It can cause stretchmarks on a pregnant belly and late night pains on a growing teenager. Scars, broken bones, stitches...all come from growing.

But the end result can be breathtaking!

I'm reminded of the Greek meaning for humility (one of my husband's favorite illustrations). The word literally comes from the idea of breaking a wild horse in. Of learning to use the strength and prowess for more than just yourself. God teaches us to control what He has given us through, well, growing.

Through the trials and the sufferings, through the hard times in the valleys. He teaches, strengthens, and humbles us so that He can use us better.

We've been in a growing season lately. Lately as in the past few years. Yes, it's only gotten harder. But God has also shown Himself in ways that we never would have dreamed possible. And as we've grown spiritually, we've also grown closer to our gracious God, who gives us all that we need in ways we could not have imagined.


What about you? How has God shown you His grace as He grows and humbles you?

Sep 18, 2011

Today we met with the search committee again. Which is amazing simply because this morning was rough.

Abby woke up at 6. Drew had a headache/sinus pressure that kept him in bed. And I was up earlier than I have been in a while. Abby finally went back to sleep...right before we left for church. And didn't get her nap out until, oh, around 4. PM.

Thankfully, even with the hiccups, the meeting went well. In fact, I'd say it went very well. We're waiting to hear back from them right now.

Of course, this being a small country church, there isn't a lot of money in it. And even though we aren't in it for the money by any means, we know that it will still take a certain amount to keep us on our feet. (We don't know exactly how much he would be making right now if he did accept the job. We just know that there isn't a lot of money in it.) So, essentially, we would begin praying for another job to supplement, whether it's something for me to do or for him to do.

I'm so thankful today for His grace-gifts. This morning, while I was taking a shower, Great is Thy Faithfulness came to my mind. Then we sung it in church. Then it played on the classical Pandora station. To me, it's obvious that it was meant for me today. To revel in the fact that He is faithful, that His mercies are new every morning, that He gives "strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow." That no matter how dark, how lonely life may seem, He is there. He is faithful. He is good. And He knows exactly where we are. He has blessed us beyond measure, and I realize that more and more each day that passes. He has given us so much, we who have so very little to give. And He doesn't expect for us to give Him anything but our love in return. 

 From Lamentations 3:
22 The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
     For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
   “Therefore I have hope in Him.”

Sep 15, 2011

What Happened Last Night

Meeting with the church last night went very well! We really enjoyed talking with the youth, and we even had a blast with the youth search committee! We're going to be visiting the church on Sunday and talking with the search committee afterwards again.

When we got home last night, both Drew and I felt really good about the prospect of being the youth minister there. It's a small youth group with an age gap between 7th and 8th graders and college-aged kids. But we know that we could very well leave a good foundation for them, which is exciting.

The other possible problem is that it is a part-time position. More than likely, Drew will need to get another job to fill in the gaps.

Your prayers are coveted as we seek God's will.

On another note, this morning, I woke up to another grace-gift: my morning glory vines, which have never had more than 2 flowers or 1 color bloom at the same time, had 7 blooms with both colors!! God is truly gracious and loving, and I'm so thankful that He cares enough for me to show me His love when I'm feeling especially down.

Thank you all for your prayers, your love, and your support. It means so very much to me.

Sep 14, 2011

Life Right Now: Drew has an Interview!!

I have some great news! Drew has an interview tonight!!

It's a part-time position as a youth minister, so it won't cover all of our financial needs. But it's a start! And it also happens to be with the age group that we both have a passion for! This position does have the potential to become full-time, too.

I'm also thankful that it's at a church nearby. We won't have to move! And we can coordinate events with the youth minister that Drew interned under for a couple of years!

Now, while I'm excited about this opportunity, I'm not going to lie: I'm also concerned about where we are now. Our daughter is actually getting to the end of her extensive wardrobe (for some reason, we didn't receive a lot of clothes after 6 months), and she is also outgrowing some of her cloth diaper covers. It's just been a lot lately, period, and to add these smaller things on top of it overwhelms. And while I have been doing fairly well, I tend to avoid it until I'm crushed under the weight of it all. Which is where I am now. I will say that at least God has been good to let my husband and I take turns with being overwhelmed. But I digress.

I want to thank each of you for your prayers and your sweet comments. It really does mean a lot to me.

Sep 8, 2011

A Note About Life Right Now and the God Who Can Handle It!!

I've been keeping certain aspects of my life hidden from this blog, choosing instead to put my more inspired thoughts here. Well, things are not going as we had hoped. Not at all.

But I've come to realize something incredibly important: if I hide all of what God does in my life, then I am hiding the things that I should praise Him for. I'm hiding His goodness, His grace. Even in the hard times, when I feel like nothing is going the way it should.

Right now, my husband is without at job once more. This, by the way, is the third or fourth time in a year. (I've lost count, to be honest...) This is the fourth or fifth month (depending on how you look at things) that husband has been without a job in the past year. And we're leaning completely on God to provide for us. Totally.

We've talked about it I don't know how many times, but we both agree that my role is to stay at home and take care of the house and our daughter. I don't know exactly what I can do from home to help (I'm not a salesperson, and I don't take time to do crafts, even though I hoard them on Pinterest!) I don't know if I should do something from home to help.

We're currently praying, seeking God's face, asking Him to show us where He would have us. We're waiting on miracles, and He has already provided one. One that should help us pay a couple of bills and keep food on the table and gas in our truck for a little longer, anyway. I'm not going to lie: we're also hurting. I'm not going to go into details, but we're being hurt from several people that we trusted. And my husband is also upset because though we've been trying to follow God, we are getting no where. Fast. It's enough of an effort to keep food on the table, much less clothes on our backs.

I've been holding onto the verses in Luke 12 that speak of God clothing the lilies and feeding the sparrows. That He loves us so much more than they. That He will provide for our needs, that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians). Reminding myself that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and that His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah). That He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalms), and maybe He'll sell one for us?

All that I ask is that you would pray for us. Just for a minute. I'll be updating how God is working as it happens (or at least shortly thereafter).

Let me be clear on a couple of things: I do not believe that God is punishing us or that if we just had more faith, He would move. I also do not believe that He will take care of us because all He wants to do is bless us. I do fully believe that He is testing us, trying us, and working in our lives through this hurt in order to bring glory to Himself and to prune us. If I see any comments that say otherwise, I reserve the right to delete them on the spot.

Sep 1, 2011

Five-Minute Friday: Rest

Linking up with Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama again today! I forget how much these short posts really do re-energize me until I do them. :)

Five minutes, without worrying about being perfect. Just creativity flowing. Ahh...

This week's topic is rest. How. Appropriate!


Rest. What is that, exactly? I honestly don't know. But I do know this.

Rest isn't when you're half-crazed, trying to round up the things you need for a third week away from home.

Rest isn't when you're once again in the van, listening to your baby cry because she wants to get out and play.

Rest isn't when your husband is frantically trying to find people who will sponsor the radio station he's managing.

Rest isn't when you're in a smoke-filled room for the third night in a row, wondering how on earth you'll ever get rid of that smell.

Rest isn't when you're left wondering why or how or isn't when you're stressed beyond measure, trying to trust and have faith when everything is crashing around you. Again.


Rest is reading scripture over and over again because, yes, Jeremiah gets it!

Rest is remembering that God loves, He hasn't forgotten, that He does all things for good.

Rest is the peace that steals in, unnoticed, amidst the chaos and stress, and lets husband and wife enjoy dancing when little one has gone to bed.

Has my life been restful lately? No. But He has led me to find rest anyway.


The grace and the craziness never stop flowing! :)