Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I have been thinking lately about fences. Fences keep things out of our property that we feel could hurt us. They also keep others from seeing inside. Some of us have messy yards we want to hide, and others of us have beautiful roses that people never see but only smell briefly as they walk by.

Guess honesty is something that I have thought I did a good job with recently. That I have been good at connecting with people and getting into heart level relationships with them. But a short time ago I was challenged with certain situations that backed me into a corner where I didn’t have enough strength to stand up in alone. So I found myself reaching out again to my close friends and asking for prayer. And in doing so, found that I was vulnerable and needed to trust beyond my personal fences that keep me from getting “too close” without even realizing it.

Oh yes, there is that matter of trust. And integrity. And knowing which people to talk to who will not check us into rehab because our world is not polished to perfection. And being sensitive to people and things that would hurt us or be out of God’s will or timing for our lives. Yes, living life “on the edge” with people means we are liable to fall off one side or another and get scraped. But the alternative is to live in nice little house with a nice little yard in a world that never is touched by my messes or my roses.

So, I’ve been walking out of my comfort zone. And I have a flat nose from falling on it. And a trembling heart because I’m afraid of new heights that I might fall off of. But I’m listening intently to my Savior, Who is not miffed when I stumble, and Who is speaking softly to my heart and saying, “You will hear a word behind you saying, this is the way to walk in, when you turn to the left and the right.” And every now and then He says, “Tear down another board off that fence! It’s time to let it go! Let people see what is inside: the real, the fake, the insecure, and the arrogant. Your ‘messes and roses’. And know that I love you because I see it all (~I see you from above anyway~ no fence can block My view!), and you can be secure in My love for you.”

Love to get your thoughts! Leave me a comment

Monday, April 6, 2009

"A God like me? Yeah, right!"

I'm taking a chance on writing something I hope to be thought provocative, and yet could be taken wrongly if it is read with the wrong "glasses" on. Please let me hear your thoughts!I was thinking today about how often I have heard people say, "I want to have intimacy with God, but I can't hear Him!"

What is interesting to me is that often when you hear about the kind of church that they're looking for, it reveals much about their desire for God. They want a church with a certain type of: music, people, age group, and outreach. All of it geared around their likes and preferences. If they have a certain type of ministry on that list, it's again tailored to what they think they can do. So, in reality, we are looking for a church just like us. I think we make the same mistake about God. We think God is like us, and that He will talk to us in our way!! And He doesn't.

When Jesus was on earth, who did you see Him hanging out with? Everyone who was unlike Him!! We don't see Him spending His time hanging out with a bunch of Rabbi people discussing the latest theories in theology. Or creating a carpenter's society. He spent time with His Father. Then, from that overflowing cup of Union and Love He experienced, He went out to love the broken, speak truth the hypocrites, and restore people into that beautiful Union with the Father. Yes, He will meet us wherever we are, and that's the beauty of His humility. But woe unto us foolish Americans if we believe that He is tailor-made for us! He is so much bigger than us! Have we fallen into the false belief that because He loves us, He is like us? Or even that He must come to us in our way because of His love?

So then how do we seek the Lord and find Him? We know that He promised that if we seek Him, we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our hearts. (Jeremiah 29:13) I have noticed among many of Americans (who are used to having what they want and don't truly understand much about brokenness and humility ~and I am often one of them!) that we expect God to speak to us our way. And we think we have a right to ask for that. So, what if He doesn't? Is He still worth serving even if He doesn't come to us our way, time, or method? And if He decides not to show up for you in your little custom made church, are you going to blame Him for that? When in reality, often the way to find God is in the desert... in our prayer closet, in the lonely season. Humbling ourselves before Him and asking Him to cleanse us from our preconceived ideas of Him and to forgive us for making God in our own image.

And if we go to church, let's ask Him to put us among some people unlike ourselves so that we can learn to love! There is a story of the Apostle John as a very old man in the first century visiting a church and mumbling, "Love one another" over and over again. When asked why He said it over and over, he said, "Because it is the Lord's commandment, and if we do this, it is enough." Another man (who’s name I don’t know) had an after-death experience and then came back to earth after an experience in heaven. He said there was a long line of people who were lined up before the Lord and He was asking them one question, “Did you learn to love?”Have we surrounded ourselves with people just like us and called unity? Have we formed cliques, called them churches, and called that love? So, how was Jesus able to call 12 guys of various backgrounds and somehow keep them on the same page? Not because they were alike, but because He knew how to love.

I don't just want to sing about the love of God, I want to know it. And I want that overflow to be beautiful for others. What I've found on my quest for Him has taken me into places and through adventures I would never have imagined that it would... to a mission in Scotland... to out of the way people that "normal folks" wouldn't care for... to backstage places to listen to men and women who have seen the reality of God and Love. I've caught glimpses of something at work that is bigger and more beautiful that I can yet understand, but it's the same power alive and well that the disciples saw in Christ. They not only saw, but walked in themselves.

I covet that. I don’t have it all yet. But I want the love that goes deeper than my common interests, even spiritual interests, and is rooted in love for Jesus. Regardless of race, position, background, or doctrine. I want to have a moment with someone and find out one thing: are you hungry for Jesus? Are you learning to love? Do you hear His voice? And I want to build unity upon that rock. The unity that is written of in Psalm 133. Unity of the spirit. Because that’s where wholeness, and healing, and restoration are found. That is where I find a God I can worship. Because He is greater than I. He is far different, and yet far more loving that I can imagine. That is where I begin to find my soul mate in Him… starting with a realization that He is very unlike my box image and very much Himself… and oh, how much better that is!