Having been in church leadership roles, of varying degrees over the years, I’ve done a lot of pondering about who and what the church is.
I’ve been pondering about the health of the church. I only have life experience and mostly a relationship with The Father, Son and Holy Spirit as my back up on pondering, but it seems that the church is very click-ish.
Don’t misunderstand me, I like Christian friends. I enjoy fellowship with like-hearted people where we can lift each others arms and encourage each other to go for it or even to give that wonderful advice and help guide us in the right direction. It is so needed.
But what is that called? It’s relationship. RE-LA-TION-SHIP. Which is what we should have first in our life with God. Relationship. He has called us to a relationship with all three of the trinity. Not religion.
There is nothing wrong with going to or joining a local church and getting involved – I attend an awesome local church.
It’s so good and sweet…….. until it becomes a religion. Religion can smother us and before you know it you can not be relating to God or others.
I’ve seen so many ministries spend so much time counseling and helping hurting christians that it makes me wonder if we, perhaps, take those hours and invest in relationships and teaching and guiding others into a relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit then they can hear His voice and through the loving relationship of God get well and then……. drum roll please….. go out into the world and preach the gospel rather than spending years of counseling and never reach out to those who are lost. Are we using the time on this earth to touch others or are we just always trying to get well and invite others to our buildings instead of inviting them into a relationship with God?
Just something I’ve been pondering deeply for a while.
I can’t complain. The political stuff that filled my Facebook newsfeed was quite annoying and tiring. I really just want happiness on my newsfeed……live puppies safe at home, as opposed to lost puppies or abused puppies. I want flowers and birds, as opposed to dead rainforests and killing the bees posts. I want images of people enjoying the life they’ve been given as opposed to dead or bloodied bodies in war torn nations or children crying in the streets.
I know I sound like I want to avoid all conflict. I don’t and I can’t. BUT I just don’t want it on my Facebook page. The hate is real. The wars are real. The lost kids and dogs are real. I can find those reports on the news. I know there is stink in this world.
But what I also know is that exposing myself constantly to negativity makes me sad, can bring on depression and hopelessness, and even poor health.
So why do we do it? Why complain about your health, etc., and keep on filling your eyes and mind with the negatives??
Just words for you to ponder. It’s a New Year upon us, 2017. Do you want to change? I do. I’m trying and it is not easy. Not for anyone. It takes hard work and concentration and deliberate actions to change our thinking, our eating, our exercising. But the results of the hard work will be amazing!
Here are some wise words to repeat often that will help:
Philippians 4:8-9The Message (MSG)
8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
Isn’t that beautiful? That pretty much sums up my thoughts on this last day of the year.
Now here are some photos I grabbed on an intentional, refreshing drive yesterday. Enjoy! And may you have a prosperous and healthy New Year!
I would love for everyone to know the people in my life that have affected me in a positive way. I want to share my friends like I would share my crayons. That sounds hokey but it’s as simple as crayons. For me, crayons have been as close as friends. The various colors and what can be discovered from them.
In a world where the creative ones have a bit of a harder time fitting into the norm, my friend Ann has been a source of comfort. I’ve only known her a little while yet I do know that a lifetime of kindred spirits has just begun.
Here is the exact post from her Facebook page. She has given me permission to post these insightful words on parenting. The raw deal and the real deal. Enjoy the read and be looking for her blog to begin soon (we are working on that this week).
Cate B and Ann
“I took this photo almost 2 weeks ago and I’ve been thinking about posting it ever since. But I knew that if I did, I would want to be real honest about this particular picture.
This sweet mother/son selfie was taken on a date I went on with Kaiden. I can hear it now, “Awww! That is so sweet! Awww!” And you’ll begin to envision what a sweet, loveable, fun, bonding time that must have been.
And I must interrupt your envisionings with a bit of reality. Those were the envisionings I had when I had planned this date. But then I went ON the date…. And the picture you see was one of the very few, very few, sweet bonding moments of the whole evening.
The majority of the evening was spent “bonding” if you will, in a battle of wills. Fishing him out from under the table because I wouldn’t let him play games on the little game thingy that was on our table. (Thanks Applebees, thanks a LOT!) He didn’t want to eat his food, he talked back… The list goes on. It ended with an epic tantrum in the parking lot. NOT exactly how I would have preferred our date to go.
You see, right now we are going through a sowing season with him. A season of working the soil of his little heart. And it’s a HARD, gritty, sweaty, endless (or so it seems) toiling, thankless, season. It’s a season where we are planting seeds. The thing about planting is that you don’t see the fruits right away. That’s the hard part. You put the seeds down and they get covered up and because you can’t see them down in that soil, you can’t see what they are doing, you can’t see if they are germinating and taking root.
So we work that soil constantly, going after the weeds relentlessly. Relying on the grace, power, and instructions of the Master Planter. Carefully tending the soil of our own hearts. Living on faith and refusing to listen to the uprooter of the seeds. The lies that he whispers: “your child should not be acting this way in the first place.” “You’re messing him up.” “You’re not doing enough.” “You’re not doing it right.” “You’re not good enough.”
We stand firm on the Word and we water that soil with truth, love, and destiny. And we choose to live by faith, that we will see those precious seeds sprouting, come spring and summertime. And eventually there will be a full, thankful, abundant harvest.
You might wonder why I’m writing about all this. Well, getting these words down where I can see them, it encourages me, it boosters my faith. And I value transparency. Social media can really make it seem like we have perfect relationships, perfect lives. I am working daily to lay down perfection and pick up LIFE. It’s messy, it’s hard, it’s real, I don’t have it all figured out, but it’s beautiful.
And maybe, along the way, another parent who is going through this hard season of planting seeds, will be encouraged along with me. We got this friends, because God’s got us. And he supplies the seeds and the knowledge for the planting.”
I have always loved music. I have always been searching for the music that touches my heart in honesty and love in the deepest way. Music and words that speak truth and human emotions.
That is one reason that I have always related to David of the bible. Particularly, I have always loved the raw honesty in the Book of Psalms.
I came across this article and video today. It is truthful and honest. No religion in it just pure relationship.
I happen to like Bono very much. His spiritual journey has been an inspiration over the years. And Eugene Peterson of The Message translation fame has been a breath of fresh air in bible reading for me.
This video touched my heart. It speaks of thoughts and expressions I have felt for a long time. Please watch it and hear it with openness and not judgement.
Long ago and far away back in 1972, Palm Sunday to be exact, I began my journey with Jesus Christ.
One of my high school girlfriends was going to a bible study in a home that evening. She invited me to come. I was very laid back and ready to try most anything in those days. Off we went.
I found myself in a living room of someone’s house in Toms River, New Jersey. Chairs were set up in a circle and a jolly rotund young man began reading from one the Gospels in his Bible. As he read he began to cry. That touched me deeply that night. Not only the emotions of this man but the words he read to the group.
After reading he told us it was time to take communion. I knew what that was. After all, I took communion as a young girl in the Catholic Church, once. My friend jumped up and hurried over to the leader of the group and whispered to him as the communion elements began passing around the circle. She quickly came back to me and whispered to me to just sit and watch, don’t take communion. Ok, I thought, cool.
As the elements came closer and closer I got very antsy and leaned over and asked her why I couldn’t take communion. She simply said that I have to believe what Jesus did on the cross was for me. The room went into slow motion mode and my thoughts swirled all around my head and with my heart I blurted out to her, “I do believe! I do!”
She jumped up again and ran across the room and ran back and said I could take communion! Haha. So I did and my heart soared that night.
Here’s the clincher, for all the religious folks. I did not say “The Sinners Prayer”. I did not “repeat after me” with anyone. It was the right moment and I grabbed it because I just knew. That night began a life long journey of getting to know Jesus and God the Father and Holy Spirit. It has never been dull. I will never forget that night. When I think of it the image is clear in my mind. The room, the man, my friend. Decades later I saw her and asked whose house we were in. She had no idea. It was a set up, by God, and I never regretted it.
Today is Good Friday. Today we remember the Cross and all that was sacrificed. It’s personal. It was for me and you and you. It is pure LOVE. LOVE.