Thursday, August 16, 2007

Creation Moans...Can You Hear It?

I’m almost sick to my stomach after lunch. It is not from the chicken nor from the Sprite nor the candy bar I had. The feeling that is turning my stomach is the very feeling that is crushing my heart. I took a moment after lunch to catch up on the news…

I was in Jacksonville for about a week and totally lost touch with reality and figured I better get back into my routine of staying current on local and international news. I read three stories that still have me shaking my head and wanting to escape to a quiet place to meet the Lord in prayer: 1. The earthquake in Peru has the streets lined with bodies covered by sheets, 2. Iraqi women are selling themselves for on average $8 per day into prostitution to support their children, and 3. A man in Missouri decided to through his wife off a balcony due to her being ill and they could not afford to pay the medical bills.

It breaks my heart to see humanity act this way. The suffering that it must take for a woman to sell herself into prostitution is unimaginable. One woman who was interviewed said she would send her 3 children to corners of the small room they all lived in while she would cater to a client. The poverty is so bad that women have resorted to this behavior. The earth moans and takes lives like no time before. Families kill each other because they cannot afford to pay medical bills.

This kind of brings the idea of creation moaning (Romans 8) to life in a heartbreaking way. Creation is moaning and the thought that kills me the most is that some if not most of it moan in vain. They have no hope. What hope is in throwing your sickly wife off a balcony or selling your body to provide for your family or even watching the earth swallow lives around you in less than 2 minutes? If some one does not know Jesus Christ they cannot have any hope and thus the world seems to fall apart around them.

We need to lift the world up in prayer, it’s falling apart without hope, and people need to know the source of hope, Jesus.

Check out CNN.com (or any other news site), stay connected to the world via news and pray for them all.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Line

I’m exhausted! I just walked back from meeting Dan at Subway for lunch. The 100 degree humid weather is what exhausted me neither did the 4 block walk in the relentless sun. I’m exhausted spiritually…

I’ve been discipling a man for about 2 months now. He is highly emotional and in every sense of the word, a social outcast. No one takes time to speak to him or listen to him. About two months ago I was broken hearted for this man and decided I would start meeting with him in the park to read through Philippians, a book that has the underlying theme of joy, since he was so down. From the beginning we discussed things like being joyful in every circumstance, not being so self-centered, being nice to people and not feeling he has the right to speak to anyone the way he feels he should, and growing in his walk with Jesus. In two months I have seen no growth or no desire to grow. He says he wants to grow and know the Lord better, but shows no validation to those claims.

He is always saying how he likes hanging out with me and how he likes being around people. I am beginning to think that his meeting with me is not sincere and his desire is less about getting to know the Lord and more about feeling special because he is getting attention. The logical side of me says that I am wasting my time and should end the sessions we have been meeting on every Sat, but the compassionate, merciful side of me says to just keep praying and meeting and the Lord will do a great work in him.

Where is that line? That line between being a patient, compassionate person and being a person pouring yourself out for nothing? I don’t know what to do, but feel like if he does not want to grow closer to the Lord then I should treat him as someone who does know the Lord and just pray for him and greet him cordially when I do see him at church.

Exhaustion is something easily available in the Christian walk, Lord forgive me…

Saturday, August 4, 2007

I hate you stupid looser!

Seriously, is that necessary? I mean the title of this post… Nothing like walking into a room full of friends and getting the good ol’ masculine, “Hey you suck!” greeting. Why do we feel it is necessary to tear each other down with discouraging words? The general response is, “Come on man, you know I’m just kidding with you.” It seems like when you become really close you are some how allowed to discourage your friends but say it is a really a way of endearment. Am I the only one who feels drained after hanging out with the certain friends that love to horse around and just give you a rough time all the time? If I knew that becoming a close friend with people would give them the false idea that it is some how acceptable to be discouraging I would have held back from anything further in the friendship to begin with. I must be sensitive right? Well, yes and no. I tend to just let the discouragement roll off my shoulders most days, but there are those days when the joking affects me and I get my feelings hurt. The most hurting part is that the discernment is coming from my brothers in Christ! We love to focus on things like homosexuality, stealing, murdering, and lying as sin, but why not discouragement? I think Paul had something to say about this…

“Do not use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them (Ephesians 4:29, NLT).”

I think James had something to say about they way we speak to each other too…

“We can make a large horse turn around and go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong. So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire (James 3:3-6, NLT).”

So is it necessary to great a friend with a punch in the stomach and a discouraging statement? If the tongue is that powerful, why would you use it to be discouraging, especially among friends? I fall victim to my tongue all the time and feel it is time to take a stand against masculine, negative, discouraging talk, play, or greetings, especially among brothers or sisters in Christ. I pray God continues to change my tongue and I would think before I submit command to my ship or horse to a discouraging word off my tongue.

Please don’t just blow this off… Think about it, stop the discouragement…

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Switch

Switch

You can turn things on and off, air conditioning, lights, television, etc., but faith?

Can your faith be something you put aside until Sunday, is it like a mask you can wear when you want?

I am frightened at the number of people who believe this.

I have a person I work with and they will curse all day, have a nasty attitude, but when it comes to church, oh they can talk about hat too because they are a Christian… This sentence makes no sense to me. The thought of being able to turn Christian depending on what you talk about is absurd. I must write this in a blog because I would love to tell her to be real and explain to her that faith and reason cannot be separated.

Please read 1 Corinthians 2:12-16. What is Paul saying here?

Those who have the spirit do not have the mind of the world any more; we have the mind of Christ. That has huge implications! No longer should we be able to just do as we please. If we have the Spirit we make decisions based on the Spirit. The separation of your faith and personal life is impossible.

Seriously, on and off doesn’t work, God doesn’t like luke-warm, cold of hot, on or off. Faith is not something that can be both, the path of Jesus Christ is not a two lane highway, it is a narrow path.