Sunday, November 29, 2015

How God…


Why am I surprised at how God shows up in my life?

Today I began my Advent Study, an on line study of the book “The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen.  It is a book that I have read “snippets” from before and it is not the study I had planned on doing through this advent.

As I opened my email this morning I opened an advent study that I don’t remember registering for but there it was. There was God! J

Just for some background, we were directed to read from 25 pages over this next week and basically answer three questions:

1. What is God saying to you?

2. How will we respond?

 3. Pray about it all.

As I began to read the first Imperative God was not just speaking to me He was confirming to me all that I have been pondering over the last month!

I did not have to read past the first imperative; “Go into the Place of your Pain.”

As I read Nouwen’s words “Live through your pain gradually –thus deprive it of its power over you.”

It reinforced the picture story I have been feeling in my soul over the last few weeks.

I have been visualizing a clear hose (my life) and it is filled with “gunk”, black chunky
“gunk”, which has clogged everything up.

The “gunk” at times over my life has tried to sputter out and for short times I have allowed it to. I have allowed just enough at times to get a trickle of clear pure water. When this occurs there is a freshness, a safeness and a purity that washes over my life. It is how I want to live but then the gunk starts to clog up again and for a while I have droplets and I so desperately hold on to those droplets not wanting the “gunk” to come forward. When this happens in panic I seek to stop the “gunk “and thus stop the droplets too.  I don’t want the “gunk” so I shut it all down.  The “gunk” darkens everything and I try my hardest to push all the “gunk” back in and make it stay clogged. This is where I have been over the last year the droplets can’t even find their way through and the gunk ha filled me up and oozing out.

I have felt the Lord waiting on me to see if I am really ready to rid myself of the “gunk” and in order to do that I have to examine the “gunk”. What is it in me? Where has it come from and am I willing to yank it out so I can flow clear?

As I continued to read Nouwen's words, I could identify with these thoughts. I could see how living in these words, truly living in them could help dig the “gunk” out. These are truths that the Lord has for me, to set me free from the “gunk” so that I can flow clear ultimately for Him!

1.       “The old pains, attachments and desires that once meant so much need to be buried.”

2.        “Weep over lost pains to be free to live fully in your new place without melancholy or homesickness.”

3.       “The more roots you have in the new place, the more capable of mourning the loss of the old place.”


Today the “gunk” is being dug out and with God holding me we will continue to dig it out.
I don’t want to “clog” the gunk up and let a trickle out, I want a clear flow to begin with the occasional “gunk” to sputter out.

I am weeping, burying and putting down roots in the new place He has brought me to so that I can live and flow fully for Him!


Sunday, May 3, 2015

This has been a day of deep contemplation.

I was so blessed this morning to be in a church service that was focused on the Lord. Many people took a step of obedience and were baptized. I cried while watching each of my brothers and sisters in Christ go under the water and come back up and I cried while singing worship and thanksgiving to our Lord!

I also cried this morning remembering a sister in Christ I met only a few weeks ago while in China.  This sister could not publicly display her love of Christ but instead she quietly sat down on the floor beside me, looked me in the eye and whispered in her broken English “We have the same Father, thank you for being here”.  She quietly whispered that her entire family loved Jesus. We hugged and I called her my sister. My eyes welled with tears as I thanked our Father for her and I thanked her for sharing and caring!  I thanked Him again for her today and for the gift she gave me of trusting me and sharing her faith. How brave she was to follow the Lord’s leading and share with me. How blessed I was to receive her gift!

Today I shed many tears, they were tears for my Chinese Sister but they were also tears for so many friends, family and strangers in the world that have the freedom to profess Christ and the freedom to love and worship Him but choose not to. My sweet sister in China is willing to sacrifice so much for her Jesus and to love Him with her entire life yet here in North America we ignore Him and His sacrifice for us. It breaks my heart. It breaks my heart to see so many live as they please and turn their backs on all Christ has done for us (this includes me too at times).

 Sisters and brothers will you join with me and pray earnestly for our brothers and sisters in Christ that are being persecuted for their faith but still hold on tight to Jesus? Will you also stay on your knees with me for those in our families and in our work place and those in our world that have every opportunity and freedom to love and live for Christ and choose not to? Pray for revival in our land, pray with love and desperation for our world!


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Have You ever Washed Someones Feet?


Have You ever Washed Someones Feet?

This morning as our Pastor was reading about the disciples coming to eat with the Lord for the last time and  how shocking it was for them to have Christ stoop down and wash their feet. I was reminded of a room filled with Him while washing feel.  Such a beautiful picture of the Lord the humbleness of Jesus, the servant hood of Jesus the complete abandonment of Jesus. He loved those men so much and I believe they loved him, didn't truly understand His love but loved Him. They (like us today) didn't understanding the sacrifice of Christ's love, the entire abandonment He had for them,  the selflessness and  the humbleness.

I took part in a foot washing while ministering alongside some American and African brothers and sisters  in Kenya that I will never forget. It  was definitely one of those times that I would like to "live in" constantly. It was a time of true filling!   Our team wanted to show our  African brothers and sisters just how much we loved them and how thankful we were for them. Our intention was to bless them with the love that Jesus had given us for them but true to the blessings of the Lord I don't think they were blessed as much as I was.

 After we prayed thanking the Lord for who He was and for each of our brothers and sisters I took a pan of water, soap and towel and got on my knees.  I removed my sister in Christ's well worn, dusty shoes a gentleness and a peace  came over me like I have only felt twice in my life. I felt that warmth, love and peace  the first time I held each of my daughters for the first time. I was filled with a  gentleness, a wonder and a passion for them and for the Lord.

 From my knees while lovingly holding my dear sisters  foot I looked up into her deep beautiful  eyes. Eyes where I truly saw Jesus! Eyes of true love and compassion. Eyes of kindness and grace.

Neither she or I could look away but sat filled with knowing that we were seeing Jesus. We just looked deeply into each other's eyes for a number of minutes and I pray that someday I will experience that true peace and  love again. I was  meeting with Him!

 As I placed her foot into the small tub and took the bar of soap I lathered her foot and she and those around me began to sing. Their angelic voices began to sing a deep praise and love song to the Lord. Their voices reached heaven that day there was no doubt and there was no doubt that we experienced a little of heaven right there where we were.  This "peace" of heaven  continued as  each brother and sister in the room were kneeled before and  where each foot was lathered and rinsed and dried. The presence of the Lord was mighty in that place.

 Today hearing again of how Christ washed the feet of the disciples brought me a mix of emotions I felt Joy- joy for His example,  and I felt sorrow- sorrow for not following His lead each and every day of my life by serving those He has put in my path.  But more than anything I felt hope- hope for  a future where because of Him and His love and His example I can experience and express the true love of Jesus. I am assured that those beautiful moments in Kenya are only a foretaste of what is to come for all of eternity!

Oh Lord, fill me until overflowing with your love so that your love will flow out of me to all those around me.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

What is a Christian? A disciple of Jesus Christ.
What is a disciple of Jesus Christ? A Christian.
“A disciple is a learner, a student, an apprentice a practitioner, even if only a beginner” according to Dallas Willard. If you Google the word or look it up in the dictionary you will find similar definitions.
What does God’s word call us to be?
Yes a disciple.  “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” said the Apostle Paul in 1Corinthians 11:1.
More importantly what did Christ command us to do? He told us …”go and make disciples of all nations” Mathew 28:19.
With the above words in mind I was contemplating a quote today that has made me really wonder where I am and where we are as a church big C church in our world today. The quote that has me thinking is “the governing assumption today among professing Christians is that we can be “Christians” forever and never become disciples…That is the accepted teaching now...” Dallas Willard.
It is similar to a saying I have heard for years that we “accept” Christ’s teaching as an insurance policy out of hell and then just live like the rest of the world.”  Where did we ever get that concept of being a Christian from? Have we made the scriptures say what we want them to say to be comfortable in our own laziness and selfishness? Is there any truth in our belief that all we have to do is say a prayer or walk an aisle, put a date in our bible, be baptized and then live our lives the way we want to until the day we die or Jesus comes for us and we will be just fine…safe in His arms?
The rest of Willard’s quote that has me seriously thinking states “Jesus told us explicitly what to do… he told us, as disciples, to make disciples. Not converts to Christianity nor to some particular “faith and practice.” He did not tell us to arrange people to “get in” or “make the cut” after they die, nor to eliminate the various brutal forms of injustice, not to produce and maintain “successful” churches. These are all good things, and he had something to say about all of them. They will certainly happen if-but only if- we are (his constant apprentices) and do (make constant apprentices) what He told us to be and do. If we do this, it will little matter what else we do or do not do.”
I love the use of the word apprentice. I think in our culture we may be able to understand this word better. Many of us have been apprentices in our jobs or during our schooling. We understand that apprentice means action, deliberate action. An apprentice is not a passive position. What does that mean then? If we are called to be an apprentice of Christ (and we are) does it just mean we study Him and fill ourselves with head knowledge? No, as an apprentice we must carry out the knowledge that is bestowed on us. We must be looking more like Christ, the one we are apprenticing under.
 I want to be a Christian in the full truth of what the Lord teaches a Christian to be….His disciple!