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Archive for November, 2013

November 26, 2013

Often times within the Christian community you hear of non-Christians complaining, “Christian are a bunch of judgmental hypocrites.”

I often times like to identify as a disciple, relating to Jesus’ commission, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 29:19).

As John 3:16 famously references Jesus’ blood sacrifice as a replacement for all the past and future sins of mankind, it also serves as the means for Jesus’ law of love to replace the Jewish law of justice.  Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament law.

Therefore, the meaning of Christian–a believe in Jesus Christ and his teachings may in itself defy disciple–a follower or student of a teacher OR a personal follower of Jesus during his life.

Without having done the adequate research, I subjectively would argue, Christian claims to be “Belonging to Christ.”  This definition recognizes and accepts Jesus’ sacrifice and respects the gracious action of a loving Father in Heaven, but is limited.  Rather, Disciple, “follower of a teacher” respects what is being said and done by Jesus and therefore replicates such actions through the intent of growing in knowledge and ability.

Do Christians (generalized population of Jewish descendents accepting Jesus as more than a prophet) argue against, along, or for the needy people Jesus so often spoke with, aided, and healed? Jesus came here in the flesh, taking on all our sin in order to reciprocate God’s love onto us.

Perhaps, the generalized population is merely caught up in the commotion of a needy, speedy way of life that we forget the purpose of this life altogether.

In the midst of chaos, do we choose a life of never-ending pain, heat, and sorrow OR can we be humbled and relate to the example set before us in Christ Jesus?

Christian or Disciple: whichever identity you choose, may your heart be for recognizing Jesus’ fulfilled promise and serving respectively.

No fuss needed.  It’s simple. Jesus did not fight the Romans, He simply spoke as God commanded of Him.

Jesus was persecuted, as will I be, and you as well.

Nonetheless, there is a God in Heaven awaiting our ascent into a Majestic Forever in His good company.

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One week later (12.05.2013), God answered this through a sermon by Jeff Moores at North Coast Church’s “The Jordan” college ministry.  In his “Home Is,” Jeff closed by stating, the community of Christ is “a group of living sacrifices.”

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November 14, 2013

Today, sitting relaxed with my legs uncrossed, my head perfectly straight, and chin down, my entire being was captivated by the conversation stemming from this hair appointment.

Sam is 29, Christian and adores her sister.  During the holiday season, she shared, her and her sister visit four homes– their mother’s, their father’s, their stepfather’s, and now Sam’s boyfriend’s parents homes.  Although her mother and mother’s current boyfriend get along with both previous husbands, the celebrations remain separate.  Time off from work, the Christmas holiday is spent driving from one home to another, meeting everyone’s expectations–it is hard work for Sam and her sister.

Having a spiritually alive stylist is so refreshing while in the chair.

As we continued speaking back and forth, I stated, “Well I shouldn’t say this until I do more research, but I’m gonna say it anyways, I believe the difference between the cultures I have experienced abroad and America is that Love is defined partially by forgiveness in the other communities…When there is an argument here, a couple may call it quits, but in the Latin and Greek homes I encountered nothing was SOO important to ruin a family over” (paraphrased poorly).

Do we allow family tensions to distract us from the celebration of the birth of Christ? If we do, is it cultural or innate as human beings?

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November 4, 2013

Over the course of a four-day trip to Texas, I read the majority of Jennie Allen’s Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul (2012).  I found myself reading rather quickly as it is one of the lighter reads I have faced since beginning college.

Tonight, while sitting at a very unique, late night deli/coffee shop, I discussed the conclusions God has allowed me to recognize through multiple encounters I had during this recent trip.  I sat across a booth from a slightly younger Believer whom I met during my studies in Florence two years ago.  Ironically, God allowed us to continue our friendship as we live a mere 80 minutes from one another in Southern California.

She still attends a small Christian private undergraduate school, and yet, very quickly referred to me as the only female friend whom truly gets what being a matured disciple is about.

I discussed three friends, not in a gossipy manner, but rather in awe of how God works so differently in each of us while maintaining the same interest: to spread His love to the nations.

The first, my dearest friend who I’ve known since the age of three.  Her prayer two weeks ago was a cry of loneliness.  Two days later, God provided me with three babysitting gigs to fund a visit with her in TX.  She was astonished to see Him answer. I didn’t quite get it before this trip, but through hearing her current situation, for the first time I got to know a girl wanting, needing to believe in God without having a tangible grasp of His presence.  For me, I hear God’s voice, I see His presence through the faces of the world, I read His Word (the Holy Scriptures), and I recognize His comfort through the mighty winds.  But not everyone communicates with God the same. She is struggling.  She prayed and was given a single room apartment to study in the quiet.  Now she is alone.  It is exactly what she wanted that now haunts her nights.  It is her fears that keep her from allowing flexibility in her schedule.  It is her future ministry that she idolizes as a “plastic god” before the one true God.  Although God-inspired, it serves as a predominate controller.

Toxicity and Transparency.

I feel it is all too quickly that we can have our bathroom floor moment as Allen called it, as she read the blogs of Katie Davis in Uganda and realized the call to pray “anything,” find our “anything,” and devastatingly pursue our “anything” over our intimate pursuit of Christ, Himself.

Heather admitted towards the end of my stay, “It is only me.” See, we attended Spirit Fest, and after hearing Mike speak of the meaning behind Tenth Avenue North’s “Forgiven” lyrics, I asked the Spirit within myself, “Is there someone I have yet to forgive?” I later asked Heather the same question, she stated “It is only me..I have yet to tell myself.” Although transparent for the first time, it was the teed-bit of information she could not face that was gnawing at her sense of freedom in Christ.

The second, a girl I met during my first year walking in the Family of Christ, and had the privilege of traveling in with in three separate European countries.  During a lunch date, she told me, “You would like him.” That simple line described the man of God she met the week of her graduation from university.  Within days of their meeting, both moved away, leaving them states apart from one another.  Over the course of a summer, they flew back and forth between Texas and California to formally begin a dating relationship.  When summer came to an end, God led her to boldly follow Him into the unknown.  With her new boyfriend along, the two-headed back to TX where they’d interview and look for housing (independently, of course).  Completely trusting God, they began in Austin and when doors closed, they changed their focus to Dallas.  Now having been settled for two months, God is doing amazing things in their relationship and in their path of influence.

For the third girl, I thank God for demolishing my previous judgements.  This girl is truly God-fearing, trusting as a child, and joyful as a blind mind given sight.  During a trip to Ireland, Scotland, and England, I traveled with two best friends–the three of us had all attended the same school in Colorado.  I consider myself rationally spontaneous.  As in, I have a skeleton outline, but allow God to move within, through, and around such precautions.  However, the two of them favored trusting God and nothing less.  Our two weeks in the UK were compiled with nothing less than miracles.  The entire trip was a whim, in that our housing was provided by people we met at churches we attended while in the area, our meals were paid for by other attendees of such churches, and our conversations were all God-centered.  It was majestic.  Now, I would like to claim that it was immediately contagious and adapted into my own walk with God, but that would be a lie.  Rather, it wasn’t until last week that I became overwhelmed with satisfaction that this girl is a genuine delight in God’s eyes.  God is Father.  All Abba desires is for His prince and princesses to reach up professing their need for His Merciful Love.  This girl got that.

Now it is my time to step out.

My anything is the ministry God showed me in a visual dream 3 years ago.  However, it is my present that is of utmost importance.  For the longest time, I had been focusing on the qualifications necessary to one day found and manage this ministry.  In idolizing the goal, I nearly forgot the means.  God is my breath, my purpose, and my guide.

After returning from Europe, God allowed me to admit “The most beautiful thing on this earth is a Christian man loving his children.  In contrast, the most heinous thing on all this earth, is a mother who kills her own children.” I read study after study on the emotional connection mother and child have due to the pregnancy that the father lacks and began to recognize how much harder the father works to gain the emotional intelligence to love his own child.  Where the mother was physically bonded for 9 months, the father touched his child for the first time after the birth.

At the time, I thought God was preparing me to intern in a women’s prison where I would have the opportunity to interview and assess the mental stability of a mother who was charged of murdering her own child.  It didn’t happen.

For the past 7 months, I have been living back at home under my parent’s house.  It is toxic.  As the only Christian in the family–the only one who believes in one Almighty God for that matter–I find myself giving authority to my parents who are not aligned with the ultimate Authority of my life. It is time for true obedience and a sense of self-responsibility, again.  Tonight, as I clicked ever ad posted in a region on Craigslist for “room for rent,” I found an ultimate opportunity.  A single, working father of two boys (ages 3 and 5) is looking for someone to babysit 15 hours a week in exchange for free rent.  I would have the opportunity to minister to this partial family as I serve them in their place of comfort and need.  I applied, and now God is at work, for that I am certain.

May you be willing to meet as a family–whether it be with your spouse, children, dear friends, mentors, or just yourself–and pray, “God, do anything and I will follow.  I give you my everything and with it will do as You say.”

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