inspiring the pragmatic practice of intimacy with Christ
This is a multi-part blog series, written between early autumn 2012 and February 2013, but I held off publishing until between February 2013 because I was arguing with God about whether I really needed to.
Lord, please give me courage.
Bless me with wisdom and words of grace and unflinching honesty.
Please Lord, place your hand at the small of my back and guide me. Please place your hand of restraint on my shoulder when I am overcome by pride or anger so I won't say things that are unedifying. Please please empty my mind of distractions and open my heart to your presence. Help me to focus not only my eyes on you, but my hope also. You alone can redeem this seemingly hopeless circumstance ... Read More
I opened the pew Bible and searched for folded pages to smooth, a practice stemming from both my compulsion to line things up in parallel rows and my need to fix things. To make things right. And things were not right ... Read More
My church is firmly grounded in the assumption of Christ. That is not a typo. I am not a victim of autocorrect. I intentionally typed “assumption” not “ascension.” My church is firmly grounded in the assumption of Christ. And I am wrecked over it ... Read More
Corporate prayer is safe and appropriate to the occasion...Conversations are about the logistics and scheduling of programs and service...I couldn’t remember ever being convicted or personally challenged by a sermon message or class discussion. I had been asleep. Numb. On autopilot. I had forgotten.
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"Because these people draw near with their mouths and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote" Isaiah 29:13 I turned to Matthew 15:8-9, the verse I had read on Wednesday. It was a pew Bible. There were no cross references. But I knew the footnotes of a reference Bible would link them ... Read More
Consider this analogy. In a way, churches are like families. And when our family culture is all we know, we think our family is normal. Until we're exposed to another family culture. It may be through a book, a movie, TV show, or a visit to someone else's house. And as we notice the differences, we realize. What we thought was normal? Isn't.
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In the middle of everything that was happening, I was struck with a memory that cut through 25 years. Buried in my mind, probably nestled somewhere between the lyrics of Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch, was a scene from the movie Labyrinth. Seems straightforward. Just a story. A fairy tale. But even the filmmakers intended it to be a metaphor ... Read More
Today, my pastor preached an evangelical sermon . . . Not one person left my church today without hearing how their lives could be changed by placing their faith in Jesus. not. ONE. AMEN. I sought him out. I had to tell him
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Lemme 'splain. No, there is too much. Lemme sum up. When I talk about "preaching Christ" I am NOT talking about preaching "everybody is a sinner and they need Jesus or they're going Hell." This is something we need to get out of the way before I continue. Purge this assumption from your mind. It is an obstacle to the actual message I'm trying to convey. A misleading tangent. A stumbling block. A wrong assumption ... Read More
I didn't anticipate that assumptions would be made about what God had revealed to me before I could get to that part of the story. I didn't anticipate that those assumptions would be so far off the mark. I didn't anticipate that the preconceived ideas of some of the people reading would so completely envelope and suffocate my true message. I didn't anticipate that people would disagree so strongly with me without understanding what they were disagreeing with ... Read More
oh, that's bound to get me in trouble. I can hear it: "sacrilege!" "blasphemy!" "heathen!" or maybe you're thinking I've completely lost it. evangelism. is like Halloween? For those of you who will click away because you don't have time to read a crazy woman's blog, see ya later. But for those of you who are saying "okay. I'll bite. WHY is evangelism like Halloween?" Here's a little glimpse into the crazy that is me ... Read More
I've learned the hard way that the word "evangelism" does not have a one size fits all definition and that my personal working definition of evangelism is: "Being a witness to what Christ has done and is doing in my life – because I’m so passionate about it I can’t keep it to myself." Within the framework of that definition, evangelism doesn't take place at a certain time or place. For me, evangelism takes place in my everyday interpersonal interactions ... Read More
I've been paralyzed. For a week. Four previous drafts of the post I was trying to write sit abandoned. Because of this warped logic: "post hoc ergo proptor hoc."
I know what you're saying. "hhhhhhh. What is she talking about now?" ... Read More
I'm going to say hard things. I've spent a week writing this particular post and I've prayed about it for hours. and hours. and hours. and HOURS. Hard. Things. I promise you I'm saying them in a spirit of edification ... Read More
If you understand and agree with anything in this list, then PLEASE PRAY WITH ME? That the HOLY SPIRIT WILL BRING REVIVAL to our church. Because we are doers and fixers, the question that usually follows that is: "But what else can I do?" NOTHING else. You can't bring revival. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. So PRAY. Prayer is more powerful than ANYthing we can do on our own. ... Read More
My favorite college professor, Dr. Grasty, taught me a lesson that has stuck with me for decades: When we are criticized, our tendency is to be defensive. Our knee-jerk reaction is to deny. His sage advice? Don't be a deluded wimp. Have the courage to look for any truth in the criticism. Strip away any acrimonious language, any selfish motivation or defensiveness of the criticizer and diligently search for even a nugget of truth in the accusation . . . am I sanctimonious? ... Read More
For months after I published my "Christ-centered church" series, I was convinced I couldn’t put words together in comprehensible sentences. I couldn’t write. I stopped the “conversations with a born-again atheist” series. If what I said about my faith caused CHRISTIANS such confusion and anger, I had NO business talking to an atheist. seriously. I was paralyzed by a complete and total lack of confidence in my ability to discern ANYthing. God’s will, God’s prompting, God’s movement. Wisdom? fuggetaboutit ... Read More
Ironically, the thing that triggered the paralyzing self-doubt was the exact same thing that knocked me free from it. feedback . . . And most frustrating and challenging of all, there were widespread tangential comments from, and conversations with, multiple people about both my Christ-centered church and my search for joy blog posts which didn't seem to be related to the content of what I had actually written. ... Read More
After arguing with God for months, I had finally taken the terrifying step of obedience by sharing something I believe God was revealing to me. Something I tried to ignore. Something I didn't want to see: That I was part of a church which marginalized grace, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, prayer and relationship with Christ . . . I had argued with God, finally doing what I believed He was prompting me to do and I was faced with closed hearts, closed minds and slammed doors. So I did what anyone "mature" in their faith would do. I ran into a cave and hid ... Read More
I was recently part of a discussion about a church supported service project. A number of different ideas were on the table, none of them mine. The project itself wasn't my priority. They were all good ideas. All needed. All would "do good."
My concern, what I had been thinking and praying about for over a week prior to this meeting was that whatever service project we decided upon, it would track back to Jesus Christ . . . serving those in need without tracking back to Christ is just philanthropy, not Christian mission.
I feel a metaphor coming on ... Read More