Saturday, April 16, 2011

back to the basics.....

So, recently my husband and I were challenged with a situation that resulted in an outcome that was not exactly what I was hoping for. (how's that for vague? :-) In the midst of the situation and all the wrestling that went along with it, I had some revelations. God was using this situation to bring about something else in my heart and work on some things there. I read an article about how the church has really left a bad taste in the mouth of the world. I know that is obvious to many of us that we see and hear how non-believers have been burned, hurt, etc...and now don't want anything to do with the church or Christianity. THere are days worth of discussions behind the whys of this, but what I was intrigued by was our response in my own heart. It seems many, in an attempt to try and not offend those around us who are among the numbers of hurt and burned, that our approach has been to remove the mention of Jesus from our conversations. "Let's talk about God's love and acceptance and purpose for their lives, but let's not mention's too controversial and offensive." I know for me, I have in many conversations danced around the topic of Jesus for these very reasons as well as the huge obstacle of really not wanting to be rejected. After hearing a sermon recently from a minister from a few years ago, though, I had a revelation....and that is, that when you seek the approval of man, you are exhibiting a man-centered view point (aka "supremacy of man"). I know there are times when I have served the interests of man (others and self included) by my attempts to "share God" or hope with others and all the while serving the interestes of man, as if others opinion of me is the first priority. I was challenged to rethink this approach with a "supremacy of Christ" mentality. How would it change my interactions with others if instead of being worried about offending them, or being disliked, I was more concerned with sharing the life-saving hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Jesus did what He saw His Father do. He had his eyes fixed on the Father at all times. And as He walked out his ministry with His eyes fixed on God, He didn't have to worry about how people would receive (or not) the truth. I am not trying to give a blanket approach to evangelism, and say that we must always give every step of the Romans road to every person we meet, but instead, I am making statements regarding the attitudes and motivations of my heart. I don't want to shrink back from sharing His truth out of fear or concern for what others will think. The bottom line is, eventually, in order for someone to come to God, they must first go through the Door. There is only one door to God and that is Jesus Christ. I want people to come to know the love of God desperately, but at some point, they must choose to accept the way that God provided to get to Him. I am not completely opposed to the idea of seeker friendly be honest, I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it. But the attitude I sense a lot is this, "Whatever you do, don't mention the name of Jesus, don't talk about sin, and don't tell them they need to repent of anything." Wait a minute.....isn't that the crux of the gospel message???? We HAVE all sinned...we DO need to repent (that was the message of John the Baptist who "prepared to way" for Jesus to come). And then it occured to me again....if the gospel isn't for the lost, then who is it for?

The implications of this aren't just for the lost though, the idea of being afraid to speak truth also applies in situations where we are addressing believers as well. There is a kingdom at stake....there are people walking around in broken relationship with the Father or not in relationship at all. As I ponder all that God means to me, and especially as I have been reflecting on Jesus as we approach this Easter season, I am overwhelmed at his love for me! And what hope I have been given, this is the hope I have to share :-)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You GOTTA be you!

Well, in case you haven't noticed, this blog has morphed out of the realm of just focusing on adoption, or our adoption story, to just a place where I can jot down my thoughts on life, God, and what it is to live where I am right now. I guess it isn't necessary to really post anymore, but unlike journals, I can't lose the internet, so for now, it seems this is the most consistent place for me to keep up with this!

Idols. Alot comes to mind when I hear that word....old statues, food, sports, Billy...(haha:-) Today on the way home, though, God began to talk to me about another idol I have in my life. (No, not Billy). It was someone. Someone very dear to me who has my respect and is a fellow lover of God. However, as God began to bring this into the light, I began to ask myself "why" questions. Why do I look up to this person, even sometimes to the point of envy? There were many answers I won't share but what it boiled down to had to do with the PERCEPTION that this person really has it altogether. They seem to be able to handle life so much better than me--having it all together, never being in want, always on top of things, never looking like they have a need or need to depend on anyone get the picture. I capitalized perception because even as I listed these things that I was becoming aware of, I realized that this is NO ONE. This isn't even really true of this person. Secondly, what I find attractive in all of this is counter to what God has for me, and really is the root of what caused the entire fall of the human race to begin with===PRIDE. Despite knowing in my head this is really destructive, I have often times in my life found myself trying to emmulate others who fit the "got it all together" description.
Let's just put aside the fact that this sin took down the entire human race in one bite, and consider this as well: we are all truly image bearers of the one Living God. He has put unique expressions of Himself in EVERY individual. In the history of humanity, there has NEVER been one repeat. Not one person who is exactly like another one. What this says is that the ENTIRETY of the human race has STILL not COMPLETELY reflected the FULL image of this amazing God we serve! To me, this serves as reason for me to really seek to be me! I want to reflect, as much as I am able to, who He in is a piece that if I don't steward well and take care to discover and show, the world won't get to see...or at least those in the world I am supposed to show. You have to show who He is in you. I want to see as much of Him here as I can and if you or me or any one of us is spending time trying to be someone else or someone we aren't or some image of what we think we should be, we will never be who we really are and those around you will never experience the part of God's heart he desires to shine through you.