I confess I watch too much tv. Not necessarily sitting in front of it for hours upon hours a day, but following shows on Hulu and Netflix. Either way, there’s a few shows that i love. My top right now is Parenthood. It’s about an extended family that is dealing trying to be close with each other, but still live independent lives. There is a family with a child that has asbergers, a couple who cannot have kids anymore, a single mom who’s trying to figure her life out, and a single dad who is trying to maintain a relationship with his son and start a recording studio with his brother. I love this show because it is entirely based on relationships. They portray the ins and outs of marriage, divorce, parenting, siblings, and family. You constantly hear the phrase, family is the most important.
I began to think about other shows that I watch. How many of them portray a loving relationship between a husband and wife. Not just a shallow, they “still” love each other, but a real relationship. The only other one I could think of was Friday Night Lights. Every other show seems to highlight the single life, the uncommitted relationship, and sex without consequences. They are cynical towards committed love, and ruled by flippant passion, but wonder why they can’t maintain a relationship with anyone more than 2 weeks.
I wonder, how long before committed marriage becomes “out of style”. How long before a couple who is committed to each other for life becomes just too boring for pop-culture? How long before I love lucy, and the dick van dyke show become relics of the past? How long until we “evolve” out of biblical standards for marriage.
Or are we there now?
Last night I got asked a question that I had never been asked before. It’s a question that carries with it decades of history and doesn’t simply warrant a quick response. If answered the wrong way, you could be called a bigot, ignorant, and unloving. If answered the right way (or the way they want you to answer it), you could be called a liberal christian or unbiblical. It’s a question that so many people in our city are asking. And unfortunately, nobody has a great answer. Some churches have opened their doors to liberalism and said that it doesn’t matter how you live, as long as you believe in God. Others shut their doors and say, clean up before you come in. Neither response is sufficient for me and more importantly, sufficient to my understanding of scripture. The question I was asked was “Are you a gay-friendly church?” I hope that I didn’t respond with my face how I responded in my head. My first instinct was to simply say yes. We are very welcoming of all people. But somehow didn’t feel that that was sufficient. Then in my head, I thought, I should just say no. We do not believe that homosexuality was God’s intention for relationships. But I luckily didn’t feel comfortable with either.
This question is a huge question because it alienates an entire segment of the population. Nobody wants to hear why the church believes it is wrong. Nobody wants to hear the heart of God behind his plan for man/woman relationships. In the same vain, Christians, including myself, feel somehow attacked with the thought of homosexuality. Whether it’s an attack on their personal preference or that it simply under-defines their marriage, neither side is very comfortable. I guess what I’m getting at is how do we enter into a conversation that get’s to the heart of the issue. How do we welcome homosexuality into our church and treat it the same way we treat other sins. With love and grace. But at the same time, how do we have that conversation and still condone the sin, but love the sinner?
My response last night must have been God speaking through me. I simply said, we believe in the Bible and that everyone matters to God. I hope we can continue the conversation so that the woman who asked the question would understand the heart of God and not just shut off completely.
I guess it’s the city we live in…
Realizing how much I love things that create community: enter Super Bowl.
Wish I could like football as much as I liked meeting more neighbors, eating Kyle’s sandwiches, and spending time with friends. (the only reason I want to like football better is because of The Saints and my husband)
Last night we were blessed to have over neighbors….yay…prayers were answered because we got to spend time with some folks we’ve been missing. It’s awesome how the more you wait and ask and pray for God to show up, when he does (in a small way or in a big way) it’s awesome!
God has used really random things for creating community. I take for granted the opportunity we have with the small decisions we make. God uses these to lead us to service, giving, and love. (okay, God, that was you!!!!) I am thankful I have a gracious, service minded husband, that makes decisions to step out for the Lord. He is leading our family to be more community-minded and service-driven. Glad Kyle leads me in this way.
Praying for the Lord to show me how to be more intentional with opportunities that create community and learning how to “boast only in Him”…..
We are always busy.
Going from one place to the next, meeting with this person or that, not ever slowing down. For anything.
I am realizing I love staying busy. I love to run. I love to go, go, go and not stop. I am so much in this pace of life, that if I am not busy, I feel like something is wrong or out-of-place. I am then, forced to create a “to do list” to work myself up into a state of busyiness again.
I drink coffee so I can think faster.
I run so my heart rate will be increased. (it’s not a work out until it’s at least 180 for 20 minutes)
I worry so my mind has things to obsess over. (what if this, i hope that, maybe here, maybe there)
I don’t know how to go slow and to be okay with open, “non-productive” periods of time. I don’t know how to be goal-driven by the Lord and not by my to do list. I wrote this poem in 10th grade that I remember so vividly. The last words in the poem were…”my red-hot soul screams…STOP” These words have been reappearing in my life over the past year. Is God asking me to stop? Am I ignoring Him, because I know better? There is so much work to be accomplished on earth. So many goals to be reached. I have things I want to do. Things that are important to me. The bigger question for me at this time is:
Who is setting my goals? Me; or My God.
Do you struggle with these thoughts/questions? What answers have you come to? How are you doing with slowing down and following the Lord’s leading? What makes you feel satisfied when you come to the end of a day?
I have days where I feel the need to deconstruct and rebuild everything. Not physically, my car wouldn’t exist if that were true, but in my life. I wonder if I’m the only one who does this. I begin to think, what got me here? What choices did I make to get me where i am today? Some days i think about the church in that realm. How did the church get to be the way it is. It is usually on the heels of a comment by a outspoken Atheist I read on a news article or twitter that I begin to think, why does the world look at us this way? Even further, why do I look at us this way?
So I begin to peel back the layers. Usually when people think about the church, they open their Bibles to Acts 2:42. But that’s not far enough. The church didn’t begin at Acts 2:42. Then some go back to Matthew 28, to the great commission, and some even further to Jesus death on the cross. There are some who go to Matthew 16 where Jesus tells Peter that he will be the rock on which Jesus builds his Church.
But that’s not far enough…
I want to suggest that it goes all the way back to creation. That we were created for God’s glory. Isaiah 43:7 says, “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. So a true understanding of Church goes all the way back to creation.
So if we are created for God’s glory, the most fulfilling thing we can do is to bring him Glory. There it is. The meaning of life in a sentence. But living that out is much more difficult.
So we ask the question, what does it mean to bring God glory. Well first of all we have to look at the narrative that God is telling through the Bible and essentially mankind. That story is that He created us to be in fellowship. That we were created without sin, to walk with God in the garden. But sin separated us from that. And because of that sin, we are eternally separated from God. So we try to build big buildings to get to God and he changes our language. Then God gives us a set of rules to live by to prove that no one is without sin. So we sacrifice animals and become so legalistic to the law that we become self righteous.
But God has a different plan. Even though our sin separated us from God, he was so loving, that he provided the way back to him. Even through our disobedience, sin, murder, hate, racism, pride, and blasphemy, God came down and provided the way back to him through Jesus Christ. And because of Jesus, we can have a eternal relationship with God. Not because of what we’ve do, but because of what he has done. 1 John 4:10 says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
But it doesn’t stop there. John 20 says, “As the father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And the Great commission says, “Go and make disciples.” So it seems that God’s plan for humanity involves the gospel transforming our lives and empowering us practice and proclaim it to others.
So the mission of God, is to bring him glory by demonstrating and declaring his story (the gospel) to everyone we know. And that’s good news.
I understand that may be the weirdest title of a blog that I’ve written yet.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been working through a understanding of support raising, how prayer is involved and how important it is to my family that we have a 2nd full income. I have never done a great job of support raising. Like, never gotten more than like 1/3 of what I set out for. I don’t know if I am not good enough at it, don’t need the amount I set out to get, or just too lazy to follow up with it, but nonetheless, I’m under funded.
Now it’s a tricky thing. I am not raising support because my family is struggling to get by. God has blessed us and continues to bless us financially. However, I do believe that since I am working 40 to 60 hours a week, that I should be supported for the work that I am doing. Sometimes its difficult because I hear people say, “why should we pay pastors. All they do is get paid to do what they are supposed to do for free.” Not there are parts of that statement that may be true, but other parts that are not. I spend majority of my time investing in leaders, making contacts with non-profits that we can serve with, studying the theology behind what we are doing, and preparing messages and lesson for our groups to go through. True, I have the opportunity to go to coffee shops and meet people, share my faith and story, “during work hours.” But shouldn’t everyone who works, no matter where, be able to share their faith at work.
So, I am working on praying about all of this. I am spending time each day specifically praying for the people God wants to send to help support us. I think that there is a weird dichotomy between how much support raising I have to do and how much God has. I’ve heard guys say, “Just pray to God and wait, and he will fully support you.” Now that sounds amazing, mostly because I don’t want to put in the work and get the no’s, but I feel that God asks more.
Lastly, I heard recently that over 70% of pastors deal with depression. At first I was appalled about it, but then I began to realize how hard the work we do really is. Dealing with people’s faith is a stressful endeavor. It’s not their cable bill, or the food they eat, it’s eternity. It’s encouraging people to get rid of sin in their life. It’s walking with people through all the personal crap that they go through, and then them resent you, because you know their deepest darkest secrets.
So if you have some time over the next few weeks, would you pray for my support raising efforts, for Origins and our desire to see a city changed, and dealing with depression.