Month: July 2017

Why not me? Why not you?

I have walked a lot of days on this earth thinking about all the things I am not and all of the things I can not do.  It is amazing to me how many times my mind has thought “I could never_________.”  I could never be; I could never do; etc.  I have thought this in a lot of areas of my life, spiritually being one of the most.

Years ago I started to understand the value of prayer.  I have openly admitted for a long time prior that I felt like prayer was a waste of time.  It didn’t seem to do much in this type A person’s mind.  I wanted to accomplish, and prayer did not feel accomplishing.  I certainly didn’t understand the little old ladies who were considered prayer warriors.  If I’m honest, not only did  I not understand them,  I never thought I would be one.

Years later I started to see the value of prayer.  First I recognized it is God who changes hearts and live, not me.  So I created a prayer room at First Glance understanding that praying for this community has more impact than simply sitting at my desk doing all my “important work.”  As I continued to value it and pray more, I really started to be amazed by it.  God, the creator of the universe allows us to communicate with him!  Yep, that’s amazing.  Not ONLY does he give us an opportunity communicate, he then responds.  The creator of the universe INTERACTS in our lives!  I mean it doesn’t get much more amazing that that!!!

A few months ago I had a handful of different people comment on my prayer life.  They  mentioned how they feel like I’m a powerful pray-er.  They trust where God is moving me in life and ministry because of my prayer life.  Suddenly I realized that people consider me a prayer warrior!  I don’t say these things because I want you to be impressed.  I say them because two things shifted in me since my initial thought of “I will never be a prayer warrior.”

The first thing that shifted was my view of prayer.  I really do understand how amazing it is that God, the creator of the universe, who spoke things into being, hears us and interacts in our lives!  Prayer legitimately changes things! Over the years it really has become a huge part of my life.

The second, cue the after school special music, is that I realized I really can be anything I want.  God uses people to be prayer warriors.  Why not me?  Why not you?  We can attain spiritual growth and maturity in certain areas if we ask God for them.  God graciously gives!  The “I will never” phrases can be deleted from our minds!

On a side note, I would much prefer to be called a prayer ninja as ninjas wear all black and seem cooler.  I keep telling my church to call our prayer team that, and I think it’s catching on 🙂

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God’s desperate love…

So many of us have heard it: God loves us.  We know it because it is said often, there are lots of posters, bumper stickers & more all claiming this truth,  and then we have John 3:16 at every sporting event. But in so many ways it has become cliché.  I have been challenged in my own life how this reality is so very watered down and not well demonstrated.

Tim and I had dinner at our house a few weeks ago, and a women, who we adore, came.  We haven’t seen her in a while and were so excited for her to join us on that particular Sunday afternoon.  As we sat there, she proceeded to tell the whole table how nice Tim and I were and how she had been hiding a bit from us but we always welcome her back.  She told the table pretty honestly how she comes near to our friendship and then withdrawals but that we are always there no matter what.  Others at the table smiled a couple nodded their heads as they too had experienced the same things.  For a brief moment I was encouraged.  I was glad that was her experience, but within a couple hours as I thought about the conversation, I became angry and frustrated.  This woman was shocked and in awe of Tim and I’s love, and I wondered why she would be.  Shouldn’t that be the expectation of all Christians, that we will love people no matter what?  Shouldn’t people expect that we will demonstrate God’s love and forgiveness because God first loved and forgave us?

The next day I grabbed one of my favorite books, “What’s So Amazing About Grace the visual edition.”  I remember that it transformed my view of grace at 23 years old.  I read the whole thing in one sitting.   Here are a few of my favorite pages.

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I love this book because it describes what grace really is.  It’s God’s unconditional and undeserved love, over and over again.  As I read the book I also was tearing through the bible, reading about the way Jesus engaged people.  I continued to be struck by how much people were drawn to Jesus, even sinners.  Unfortunately the world is not drawn to the church.  They aren’t drawn to Christians.  Instead they feel judged.

Unfortunately, we as the church, have said God loves you no matter what, but first change.   As I have worked with First Glance, I can’t tell you how often I have heard stories of the church asking someone to change a behavior before they even profess to be a Christ follower.  First Glance’s stance has always been to love everyone exactly as they are.  And when they follow Christ, allow the Holy Spirit to convict them of life changes.  Now don’t get me wrong, if we are close friends and you engage in sin, you better believe I’m going to call you out.  BUT that’s because of our relationship and your maturity in Christ.

Anyhow, I’ve been wrestling because I see so much love and grace from God, and unfortunately, I don’t think the church has done well at demonstrating it (myself included).

I have also been listening to this song over and over.  The idea that God fights and pursues us is amazing!

      There’s no shadow You won’t light up
      Mountain You won’t climb up
      Coming after me
     There’s no wall You won’t kick down
     No lie You won’t tear down
     Coming after me

      There’s no shadow You won’t light up
      Mountain You won’t climb up
      Coming after me
     There’s no wall You won’t kick down
     No lie You won’t tear down
     Coming after me

God loves us, that is real and powerful!!  The question is how to express it in a way that is not watered down and how to demonstrate it to the point where people take notice?

 

** And if anyone wants this book, What’s so Amazing About Grace the visual edition, send me a text with your name and address and I’ll buy it for you 330.328.4900