Archive | February, 2011

Men are like shoes, made to confuse

21 Feb

Gotta love some Shania Twain, she reminds me of a my stepdads coworker a long time ago. tangent sorry.

Today’s post has to do with shoes. See He-wood and I love shoes and believe it or not so do the Wee-Woods. It’s genetic. I once longed to do a Bible study with other ministers wives about shoes and what ministry shoes they were currently wearing. I’d still love to do it but Lifeway didn’t have it the other day and google isn’t helping me find the name. I read a book recently about pastors wives called “you can still wear cute shoes” so there is a theme going on, but that is neither here nor there.

I want to ask what kind of ministry shoes are you wearing?

Are you wearing some sandals, you know the kind that are ridiculously comfortable, easy to slip on and well that’s about it. You maybe just put them on and walk out….like you go to church on Sunday but that’s the only time you read the Word.

Are you wearing sneakers? Great for hard work. End of fall beginning of winter I would’ve said I was about to seriously trade my shoes for sneakers beginning to church plant. But I’ll get to my current ones later. Maybe these sneakers are so worn they don’t look recognizable anymore. Are they worn to the bone from a season of trials. Or are they worn but when looked upon they bring rejoicing that much hardwork has produced fruit? Either is fine…and we’v all got different pairs of shoes for different times in life. Think back to when you first became a christian…did you wear sneakers-great for running into His Word and doing His work?

Maybe you are wearing TOMS. I’ve got a pair so I’m not hating. I love that you buy a pair and they donate a pair to someone in another part of the world who needs shoes, but do they represent that you think your “good works” bring favor in the eyes of God? Do they represent that you spend $ on His kingdom but haven’t put on real working shoes to do his work. I recently learned TOMS are very bad for snow and ice…and while they are comfy you wouldn’t do a 5K in them…trust me.

What about boots? Like hiking boots…you keep trying and trying to do something, or you feel that the mountain in front is very difficult. You might need a great set of boots to tackle that latest ministry project. Maybe you are building a church, physically or metaphorically and you need protection for your feet (aka spiritual heart if I haven’t totally made that connection), you need a good sole to stand on (a firm foundation), and great support (family, friends, ministry partners).

Maybe you are wearing a pair of heels…or men some tux shoes. You know, ridiculously uncomfy but for the price of fashion they look great. Meaning you look like a Christian, have the Sunday School answers but lack the relationship with Jesus. Oh yeah and the uncomfy part is because inside you still feel uneasy with this whole thing. Or maybe they are comfy and make you feel confident like finding peace and joy in Jesus…rock ’em! Those I usually have to pay and arm and a leg for…like sacrificing time in his Word.

Maybe you are barefoot…like Exodus chapter 3 where God tells Moses to take off his shoes because he’s on holy ground…are you barefoot because you are honoring the holy God through your life. Did something God-sized happen recently to cause you to remove your shoes? Maybe removing your shoes for you has heightened your sense of awareness of things around you…like when you go to the beach and feel the sand between your toes and the waves crash on your feet, if you had sneakers you would miss those details and frankly, if you had on heels or something you’d totally have trouble walking around. Each part of our journey has it’s own set of shoes.

Honestly, right now I’ve probably go on a pair pretty flats, maybe ballet flats or something. They need to look nice because I want to portray Jesus to those around me well and being transparent I sometimes feel pressured to look nice. Not in the fashion sense but the heart sense. I remember back to the time of our miscarriage when He-wood and I lead worship every Sunday together it was hard to smile right after that happened, but worshipping in front of 500 people I knew I needed my game face on, which is another post for another day. My current shoes are also great for functionality. I mean seriously keeping up with the Wee-woods, breakdown of the stage, Women’s Bible Study, Life Group, supporting my husband, in addition to preparing for adoption and working, I’ve gotta be comfortable and practical.

So honestly, transparently, what are your ministry shoes? Think about it. Maybe you are one I described and it resonates with you. Maybe you have a different analogy- I’m not always right, but we are all wearing ministry shoes what’s yours.

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Let worship be the fuel for mission’s flame, we’re going with a passion for Your name…

16 Feb

Matthew 4:23 says, “And he [Jesus] went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.”

I begin today’s post with a question, what is our motivation for spreading the gospel?  Jesus was all about preaching the gospel in order to further the Kingdom of God.  Have you ever thought of preaching the gospel as an act of worship?  So often Christians view sharing the gospel as a chore that we do simply out of a sense of duty.  However, in actuality it should be a regular part of our life of worship.  Remember Romans 12:1-2 where Paul writes, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present you bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Paul is talking here about the fact that our lives should be characterized by worship.  Everything that we do should be out of a sense of worship to our Heavenly Father.  We owe our entire selves to God because of the incredible amount of grace He has poured out in us.  Verse 2 talks of the fact that we will understand that worth of this life of worship by putting it to the test.  Meaning we will fully understand that incredible worth of living a life characterized by worship only after we have begun living a life of worship.

It is at this point that I come back to my initial question: what is your motivation for sharing the gospel?  If it is simply for the fact that you feel obligated to as a Christian, then you need to take a step back and look at what it means to share the gospel.  In all truthfulness, as Christians we are obligated to share the gospel, but that should not be our compulsion.  On the other hand, if you share the gospel out of love and concern for your fellow man and out of a sense of worshipful response to God’s grace, ten you are more in the right place to be living a life that is characterized by worship.  Worship truly should be the fuel for the fire of missions within us.  We must go out with a passion for the name of Jesus to be made famous wherever we go.  As we live a life characterized by worship, Jesus will be made famous by our example to those who observe our lives.

My prayer is that you learn to live with a passion for the name of Jesus to become famous in your sphere of influence.  This will become the case if you are living a life that is characterized by worship.

We are who we are!

1 Feb

So I know that it may be overwhelming for some to see that there are two posts on the same day on this site, but I promise you they both are good. (She-Wood’s is better than mine though.)  I just wanted to take a minute to sort of piggyback off of her post from earlier this morning.  She spoke of the fact that there can be a lot of hurt and misunderstanding when a “gardener” is weeding in the church family.  This is an undisputed fact from my perspective.  However, the one thing that I would add is that once the weeds are removed, then fertilizer must be spread.  I believe that for the church fertilizer comes in the form of prayer.

I am still reading through The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel (I know it is taking me forever).  In chapter 4 he deals with the topic of prayer for the Christian.  He states, “The truth is some Christian Atheists believe in God, but they don’t believe in prayer.  They might claim to believe prayer works, but their actions say otherwise.”  The fact is that in the church we pray, but to what end.  Do we pray to tap into the power that is found in the Holy Spirit, or do we simply do it out of duty?  The fact is that prayer is our mode of communication with God.  Therefore, we have to leverage that to get to know Him better.  Later on in the chapter Groeschel writes, “We each have our favorite modes of communication, and God is fluent in all of them.”  What a great thing to know!  God knows how to speak to us even if we think we don’t know how to speak to Him.  I will be the first to admit that my attention span makes it hard for me to simply sit and pray for hours on end, but I don’t think that God is upset with me about that.  After all, He did create me that way.  Therefore, God also knows how best to communicate with me!  Pour on the fertilizer!

I think that it is time for us begin bathing our churches in “fertilizer” for the sake of Christ.  If our churches are not growing and are being choked out by weeds that breed discontent, then how can we be about the work of the Father?  Let’s pray for God to show up in a mighty way in our churches so that his name will be made great across the globe.  After all we can’t be who we were made to be if we are not in constant communication with the Creator.

Inch by inch, row by row going to make this garden grow

1 Feb

Over the years I’ve been part of many congregations. Had friends at fellow congregations and I’ve seen people move to and fro, in and out. Yes it hurts when people leave, however sometimes there is relief when a person leaves. Recently, I had some time to ponder the fact of people leaving one congregation. I thought of it much like a garden. In a garden we plant the seeds and patiently wait for fruit, aka Christian service, love, devotion, and love (I mentioned that right?!) But weeds also grow in the garden and the gardener, if he is good, with hardwork removes them. Yes, some gardeners may lament that the plant is no longer living but I’ve never known a gardener to go replant weeds in a different place, compost them yes but not replant. Why because weeds do not bear delicious fruit. Often they bear thorns and choke the life out of the garden, they are rampant. Rampant like gossip. Growing up we grew dill one year. Grew in our garden is all we did…we planted and harvested not much pruning or weeding. That dill took over everything. I’ve never seen anything as big. To this day I don’t like dill. But it was a great example how if given free reign that dill would overtake everything.

I hope I’ve fully hashed out this analog for you. I tend to think in song lyrics and analogies…one day maybe my life will be like a song lyric but that will take lots of thinking. Much love to the gardens (church) and fruit bearing plants!