Thursday, June 26, 2008

In Christo Veritas

This Blog is updated each Tuesday.

It all starts in Genesis 1:1.
"God created the heavens and the earth."

Continues on in Psalm 139:13
"You created my inmost being."

More than fifty times we can read how God created something from nothing. He creates. Do you?

For the next thirty days, I want to issue a 
challenge to you. Live your life.
Veer off path and discover hidden things.

It is time we left the box of our Christianity and
 discovered God in His element. The rituals we
 are so comfortable in are keeping us from discovery and creation. I like taking different routes home. You'd be surprised how this upsets your backseat drivers. Find Christ off the beaten path. There are side roads off main streets that hold things that are exquisite. Find them.

To find Christ in unexpected places, you have to go to them.

I have been thinking quite a bit about 
forgiveness of late. In fact, I am consumed by it. 
Last week I posted about people telling Gary Ridgway that they hoped he burned in hell. This week, I heard someone say that to another person. My stomach just turned over. What has happened to us that we are so far removed from knowing how much we are forgiven? How have we made this relationship into a system of checks and balances? We are consumed with the right and wrong choices. In doing so, we have walked away from the heart of our Father. God isn't about scare tactics. He is about kindness. 

I am not about cheesy tv commercial affection, but I get messed up when kindness is shown to people who don't deserve it. I've been there. You have been there. Why won't you go there with someone who has not earned your love?

" I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with loving-kindness."- Jeremiah 31:3

"I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them." - Hosea 11:4

Take five minutes right now and ask yourself if there is something missing? Is God trying to offer you something that you are refusing to take hold of?

Venture off the beaten path. Live.

When I was five years old my grandmother started sending me to cooking school. Since then I have considered myself a culinary artist. That means I fling things and don't measure anything. I tried to write out this recipe because I am often asked for it. Get creative in the kitchen! The longer you cook the sauce, the better it tastes. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Is that Grizzly Adams?

This Blog is Updated each Tuesday.

I once thought Christianity was about being an advocate for "Christian" things. I signed up for all these "action" newsletters and so forth. They still come in my inbox and I usually delete them. The other day I got one about Praying the vote. It gave a list of what each of the Presidential candidates stood for so we could accurately ask God for the right candidate. What!? I stared at it for a minute and thought, "Didn't we try telling God what we wanted in a ruler before?" King Saul didn't work out too well for anyone. Don't you think God Almighty can pick the candidate
most like His Son? Does HE really need us to go through a list of criteria for Him and judge properly so that HE can give us the best President? At the bottom of the email it said "so you can pray as one informed." Right. I told Denbigh it should say, "so you will be persuaded to vote according to our conservative right-wing agenda." Do you think Jesus likes politics? Are we really so hungry for control that we would attempt to manipulate God with our agenda driven prayers?
I cannot picture Christ crusading with an advocacy group. He would be showing kindness to the man with no advocate to speak of.

Insert random quote I took of Robert Barge's weekly newsletter this week:

"Revivals should not be necessary.  God intended that His people should grow in grace without periodic spells of backsliding and repenting.  But so long as we have such a malarial brand of Christianity, a fever and a chill, a fever and a chill, we shall need revivals." -Vance Havner

 Let's go on to talk about serial killers... In The Shack, a man's daughter is kidnapped while they are camping. As I was reading it, I got the chance to go out to a camp site and ponder how the character must have felt having his daughter snatched from him...his helplessness. 

Let me interject something here...if you are looking for an excellent summer read, pick up this book. It will bring healing to your spirit.

Back on task: All of my pondering got me to thinking about how we could forgive people who would kidnap, murder, abuse, etc our loved ones.

Forgiveness is ever elusive when we hold onto pain. During a few day stay at my mom's house last week I saw about fifteen minutes of a show about the Green River Killer. In case you don't know, he killed somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 women. They talked about how cold and calculating he was... unemotional. Aired were about 5 minutes of clips from the families of the slain women. Over and over they looked at him with hate and told him that they hoped he would burn in hell. He stared at them blankly probably believing hell was his home.

One old guy got up. He looked like a mix of Uncle Jessy off the Dukes of Hazzard and Grizzly Adams. He stood there with the kindest eyes and told Gary Ridgway, the monstrous Green River Killer, about the forgiveness of God. Gary Ridgway began to weep.

How often do we refuse to show kindness and the love of 
God over minor offenses? How could this man who had a child brutally murdered by this man look at him and offer him the love we refuse to show to people who damage our ego or hurt our feelings? Maybe we are the ones who are brutal and offensive.

That "Grizzly" man was able to forgive because he had experienced forgiveness. He took God at His word. He took his own hurt to the feet of Christ and was wrapped in HIS healing love. Then that wounded man was able to give that love out to the very man that killed his daughter.

What old wound do you need to have redeemed today? What in you needs to be wrapped in the healing love of Christ?

Cherry Photo by Anne Lively (Smith)

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not
delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
a broken and a contrite heart--these, O God, You will not despise.
--Psalm 51:16-17

Are we diametrically opposed to the very love God wills us to offer?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Worship as Warfare

This Blog is Updated each Tuesday.
On Sunday at Austin Baptist Church this video was shown. I loved it and want to see every Christian I know be so transparent and 
glorifying to God. I thought of things that would be on my sign. 

Another Miscarriage:Beautiful Healthy Baby
Lost Second Brother: Redeemed Family
Proud in Flesh: Humbled in Spirit 
What would your sign say? 

"Worship as warfare" has been on my heart this week. The Cardboard Testimony video seemed to echo that to me. What made that video so powerful in my mind was not that those people were sharing what they had overcome. The beauty was in them giving glory to God for victory. We worship most when we take the focus from us and what we have done and praise God for what He has done and is doing.
We need to think about our testimony of Christ. We generally tend to tell lengthy stories of what we have been through and how we suffered and give God his 2.2 second prop for delivering us. 
What do you testify to? 
Your tragic circumstance  or
your fully sufficient God?

What has God done for you that demands praise? Sit still for a minute and make your list.
Is God doing a work in you and all you do is complain about it? What would you, your family, your life be like if God Almighty did not intervene? Have you shown that you are grateful?
God inhabits the praise of His people.
Psalm 22:3

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Job 1:21

For He has 

not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither has He hidden His face from him, but when he cried to Him, He heard. 
Psalm 22:24

We all knew this was coming. 
Laomai and her feather boa.
My pics of the Week: 

The Shack Book controversy: Tiffany recommended this book to me. She says, "it's controversial." Immediately, I like it. The odd part I would say is that God is presenting Himself in the form of a large black woman. Are there things I am not sure about? Yes. I do however think that the healing tender aspects of God that are presented make it well worth the read. Read it. Let me know what you think.

Watch this movie. I can't tell you anything about it without ruining the plot for you. All I can say is that it is terribly sad and terribly redemptive. Rent it today!

I made this video for my dad for Father's Day. 
I thought dance moves this awesome deserved to be made public.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Kindness as a Weapon

The Truth Project is phenomenal. I was blessed to attend the training a few weeks ago and cannot wait to share what I have learned with those around me. Check it out for yourself.

Warfare is a constant hot topic. Often, as we would drive through Crawford (past Bush's ranch) on the way to the ranch there would be picket signs against it. Cindy Sheehan was in a fight against President Bush. The truth is that her battle was on a much deeper level than that. I would say that is the case with all warfare. We try to take our hurt horizontal and find our solution in the same way. The issue at hand and heart is one that is vertical. 

I wrote about Indian tactics in Patina. They set fires to the wagons and distracted the pilgrims. With their guard down, the enemy snuck in and slaughtered them. The enemy's strategy has not changed. He is still trying to distract you with a temporal fire to keep you from having your guard up. 

Put on Jesus Christ. Ephesians 6 says to take up the full armor. Truth. Righteousness. Gospel of Peace. Faith. Salvation. Paul is describing Christ to you. We must humble ourselves and realize that we cannot fight this battle and cannot enable the characteristics. Christ alone. I firmly believe that the less we focus on us (fixing us and making us more godly) and the more we simply put on Christ the more battles we will win without even knowing that we are fighting. Dress us, Father, in the fullness of your Son.

The temporal fire the enemy uses to distract us is people. I believe we have deceived ourselves in how we show Christ to others. We refuse to show kindness to those who need it most. We make nasty comments about people right in our churches. We delude ourselves by saying we are kind and merciful. In reality we have localized who we show kindness to. We show kindness where it is comfortable. We spend more time in the classroom than we do in the world. We are sitting and learning so much head knowledge. What are we doing with it? Have you localized your Christ? Have you kept Him in theory and knowledge?

What have you done to serve others? Better yet, what have you done to serve others who are not like you? We need to get out of the lab and out to field test our Christ. 

Kindness is a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare. By kindness you show the one who wounded you that you know Christ is bigger than their wound which led to their wounding. Sometimes kindness is confrontational. It does not leave others stuck in sin. If you are mocking or being hateful to anyone, you are outside the will of God. You are showing people how small your God is. You speak with your life that your God is unable to heal wounds... not capable of removing bitterness.

I heard the President of the Southern Baptist Convention say that people were leaving the Southern Baptist faith in droves. The problem he said is that we are known much more for what we are against that Who we are for.

Kindness is your weapon. What will you do with it?

Challenge of the week: Have you ever volunteered at a soup kitchen, church under the bridge, or gone on a real mission trip? It is time you stepped out of your localized area of of serving and met the real needs of the poor. What good would it do a team to memorize a playbook and never go onto the field? Stop wondering how this all relates to you. Quit complaining. Glorify God for the great things He is doing. His beauty is relentless. His strong arm is unequaled. Praise God for the grace and kindness He has offered us. Praise Him for overwhelming friendship. May the Lord Almighty speak deep conviction, repentance, and kindness into your heart at this very moment. "I have been so fortunate. I think that kind of grace carries obligation."
-Christa Brown, Austin Attorney
My Week's Highlight Reel:
We chatted with this grandpa and granddaughter while they ate dipped cones. I loved this old man immediately. He brought his granddaughter out on his motorcycle to get a treat for her birthday.

*Personal Note: I don't want to dictate anyone's convictions, but I would like to ask that you not run out with your girlfriends to see Sex in the City. It glorifies abortion, promiscuity, and masturbation. Don't compromise the beautiful woman God created you to be. Don't show less than who you are to others.

Miscarriage | Infertility | Hope

I encountered Jesus as a young child in a church pew in the balcony of an old country church. Through a lifetime of trial, I knew he was the...