where is the love???

I have started and deleted this blog post more times than I can count at this point. In no way do I pretend to be perfect, for my list of personal weaknesses and daily offenses is long, distinguished and documented firmly in my spirit, but I am so very challenged lately by the attitudes and general responses from others lately.

Where is the love???

Now don’t get me wrong, I love people. I know people have stuff. We all have bad days. We can all become consumed with our own struggles. This time of year, we as a culture get all mushy and start to think more about others and giving and charity, but we very quickly can return to the same self-absorbed, self-centered, entitled and oh-so-finicky humans we were pre-Halloween.

Recently, after a lengthy exchange of friendly emails, I suddenly received a rather snarky, and quite unexpected, “you aren’t meeting my specific needs” kind of email, and it honestly really threw me. Working at a Christian church, and a Christian school, I will tell you that I am simply not used to such exchanges anymore. Or rather, I really don’t anticipate them…

Where is the grace???

This morning I watched a video about a Christian organization that ministers to refugees flooding the Grecian coastline by meeting practical medical, safety and spiritual needs. I sobbed the entire time. Seeing people in such dire, dire need…children so scared, tired, dehydrated, in pain…moms and dads risking death to flee to anywhere other than home is more compelling than words.

While I sit luxuriously with my coffee, working “hard” on the computer, listening to my heat come on automatically and my very healthy and safe children interact in the next room, texting my teens in their safe school, knowing that no bombs will be dropping on my rooftop today, there are people in dire NEED in this world. Right now. With every one of my relaxed breaths, comes the last of someone else’s…

Friends, Jesus said to go out and to make disciples. He said to share the good news. If we only see our bible studies and churches, our convenient online services, as a means to be FILLED up with no release, we will become UNfulfilled. We lose our very FAITH! We are not meant to be like a man-made lake just getting “filled up” every week from our cozy chair – such bodies of water become stagnant without a constant source of input and output. No, we are meant to be open conduits. The more we are filled, the more we should pour out. We NEED to pour out. Jesus did not die so we could just soak up the grace and become godly, cozy, largely useless sponges. He died so we could HELP HIS PEOPLE.

To whom much is given, much is expected. –  Luke 12:48

To the degree that we humble ourselves to the process, is the degree by which we can measure our true understanding of our calling and the extreme sacrifice Christ made to set us free. Do you want to experience God’s presence? Do you long to see His hand move upon the injustices of this world? You can – by looking in the mirror!

Where is the freedom???

Practice sharing your faith to overcome personal insecurities greeting at the door of your church. Hone your ability to effectively communicate the gospel and lead someone to Christ by teaching a children’s class. Boost your sensitivity and compassion levels by praying with those in the hospital, collecting turkey dinners and signing up to hand them out, visiting the sick and bringing them a meal. Increase your capacity to humble your heart by taking ownership of His house and cleaning up after service, or painting the church during the week. Deepen your gratitude by financially supporting the church house that feeds and trains you, while preparing you to turn outward to those who are waiting for YOU to help them.

Freedom has no value in a box, as an ideology, or even within the four walls of your church. Freedom is only freedom when it is USED to set another free. Until we get outside of what we believe our personal “needs” are and turn our hearts towards those around us, the only person truly in bondage is

us…

Please consider giving to something bigger than yourself. Whether it be your local church, your favorite missionary effort, or a global outreach, the only one who can truly make a difference is you. Below is a link to my current heart. Shalom.

samaritans-purse

 

 

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wrong with people

Watching a mere 60-seconds of television was more than sufficient to, predictably, trigger my sense of ire this morning. Few things will rob me of peace faster than the news…

Following the Paris attacks yesterday, a Dutch airliner was grounded upon information of a tweeted threat against that particular flight. Of course, my initial irritation was that most likely it was some idiot took it upon themselves to take advantage of a terrible tragedy to create further chaos, but then something inside me became profoundly sad. To piggyback travesty in an attempt to boost one’s sense of power, or relevance, points to a glaring depravity in the human soul.

While I often respond to people who initiate pandemonium with great irritation, I have also realized that the voice in my head that screams, “what’s wrong with these people?!?!,” can most easily be answered by making a 30-step walk to that large piece of glass that hangs in my bathroom.

Very few people walk in the full understanding of their purpose and value in this world. Few grasp how intimately intertwined we are as humans. To every action there is a reaction, and there are usually lives and hearts at the other end of our daily decisions.

I would submit that there are not as many “bad” people in the world, but rather many who merely do not understand their value. Those with a seemingly over-inflated sense of importance, or need to control and dominate, actually struggle with an absolute blindness to their own capacity to contribute. What may seem like a simple prank to some, a harmless statement, can often trigger a chain of events which can potentially have deep and lasting consequences to others. A person’s momentary decision to flippantly tweet, carelessly gossip, or cowardly text, prevent someone from getting to a dying loved one in time, destroy a relationship, or start a chain of events that cannot easily be undone.

It is challenging to effectively convey the absolute peace and resolve that accompanies the revelation of one’s purpose. While some days are clouded by circumstance, the prevailing truth remains and takes the form of faith when it’s hard to see. One of my favorite things about coaching is the opportunity to help awaken in someone else, and even myself, the beauty and life-changing power of purpose. When we walk in our freedom we release others to do the same.

Imagine a world where we were all effectively functioning in who we were designed to be – cognizant of our value, passionate about community, and responsible with our liberty. We cannot possibly change the course of the world, but we CAN affect change in ourselves and in those around us. Let’s take what is wrong, and love it to right…

 

 

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. – Proverbs 20:5

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. – 2 Timothy 1:9

 

it’s what you see

This week my prayers have turned to a friend and her family. Her oldest child, taken to the ER for what she thought were side effects from bronchitis, left that hospital and headed to Seattle for a mass near her heart.

Nothing puts personal perspective back in check faster than such an acute need for prayer and divine intervention.

When I sat down to spend time in the Word this morning, I grabbed my journal and my eyes settled on the quote in the upper right hand corner – “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau.

Whether it be a small inconvenience, or a crisis requiring a massive dose of faith and shift in perspective, what matters most is which filter we choose to process with. Even scientists agree with the truth that faith tells us – what we speak and believe is what will most often manifest inside us.  

Today I am challenged to choose. Choose my perspective. My words. To assess what I truly believe and not be moved by circumstance or how things “look.”

I am grateful to see an opportunity for God to move today. For a miracle to happen. Healing to occur. Faith to manifest. For relationships to deepen and a testimony to be birthed.

The greatest joy of community is taking turns holding one another up when it’s hard to see. Hard to stand. Challenging to believe.

Who can you see for today? Who are you praying for and speaking life over? There is no greater honor than to stand in the gap for others. I would ask that you pray for my friend, as I pray for you and all that concerns you as well.

My heart for you, is that in this moment, if ONLY for a moment, we would all see through eyes of hope…