Friday, March 27, 2009

A Hard Fall

After several days of feeling free from all temptations I fell hard this week. It's true that the devil hits us hard not just when we're down, but that he hits harder yet when our guard is down. Now that I'm at the bottom it's time to climb again.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Taking God for Granted

Our discussions at my Wednesday night small group have hovered alot around this idea we take God for granted. We approach God as we would a nurse, wanting him to fix us up, not even considering that he has our lives in our hands. We ask him to take sin out of our lives as if we shouldn't have to work hard to live a Christ like life, even though he sent his son to suffer and live a sinless life. Our God is the one who created everything. He's the one that flooded the earth, the one that destroyed Soddom. He has placed kings in power, and stripped their power from them. Why do we approach a god with so much power as if he was tame. It reminds me of The Chronicals of Narnia where we are constantly reminded that Aslan is not a tame lion. Our God may want a personal relationship with us, but he is not tame.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Feelings... All These Feelings

I've realized lately how much a base my Christianity on my current feelings toward and about God. I'm not sure to what extant I should be worried though. I grew up being taught that we need to have this deep emotionally connected feeling with God, which I do sometimes. I was also taught though that our emotions shouldn't determine our relationship with God because then when we aren't feeling close to God we'll walk away. I've been struggling inwardly in my faith ever since middle school when I determined that I wasn't a worthy Christian. Honestly though I'm not, but that realization rocked my faith to it's foundations, and I've spent most of my life since feeling like a hypocrite, and fretting over my salvation. Over the last 3 years or so I've started to develop more of a comfort I guess in my faith where my emotional highs and lows haven't equaled religious highs and lows. I can't but feel though that I'm missing out as a Christian, that somehow I'm not really a Christian, and only pretending. I see my friends feeling these deep spiritual callings, only to deviate from things they were certain of a few years before, and I wonder who is the better Christian. I haven't felt God's guiding hand telling me I need to do something in years. Am I a deficient Christian? There are so many around me with a passion and a zeal I've never had, and it makes my faith feel worthless.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hosea 2:2-8

"Contend with your mother, contend, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband; and let her put away her harlotry from her face and her adultery from between her breasts, or I will strip her naked and expose her as on the day when she was born I will also make her like a wilderness, make her like desert land and slay her with thirst. Also, I will have no compassion on her children, because they are children of harlotry. For their mother has played the harlot; She who conceived them has acted shamefully for she said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink. "Therefore, behold, I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths. "She will pursue her lovers, but she will not overtake them; And she will seek them, but will not find them then she will say, 'I will go back to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now!" For she does not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the new wine and the oil, and lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.
When I did my scripture reading the other day this was not the scripture I planned on reading. God has a way though of changing things around on you. I read this, and it really hit home. How many times have I gone through a dry spell in my Christian walk and sought out things other then God to fill me, only to turn back too God when I decide that he's all that can fill me. I've played the harlot spiritually. As I go through a time in my Christianity where God doesn't always feel close I need to be secure in our relationship, and seek my refuge in him.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name Is?

Lately I've been thinking about what makes a Christian a Christian. God hasn't given me any particular deep insight on this, it's just whats been disturbing my thoughts. I think of the early followers, I think of the bible, I think of our modern teachings, and yet I can't seem to find the answer I'm looking for in any of them. What is it that makes me the Christian God wants me to be?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Uber Update

So much has happened in these last 2 days, that I need to write my thoughts out all at once, so it's uber post time.

Where I'm At

Over the weekend I thought alot. Just to start small and work up, I discovered I still have some latent feelings for a good friend that I've liked off and on since high school. I have no clue why I get this way every time I see her, but ya, it bothered me this weekend that that still happens. Only reason I bring this up is because it just amped the feeling of loneliness I get when I'm together with my friends who are dating. Not long into the weekend though this feeling almost disappeared. I spent alot of time getting to know some people who I don't spend enough time with. Also, I had some fun watching two of my friends flirt :) Second part is the trip that was supposed to help solidify my faith just threw me into more confusion. The basis of my faith is still strong, the bible makes sense, and I still believe. Yet spiritually many things that have always helped me spiritually just felt like empty ceremony. I found myself looking at the cross, and saying I don't get it. I kneeled there taking communion and all I could pray was make me understand lord. It's not that I don't feel God's presence anymore, but more that everything around me seems empty and hollow. I'm reading this and all I can think is how poorly these words describe this struggle going on inside. I've never felt that my Christianity was so empty, and yet God feels so alive to me. I admitted to my friends this weekend that I've been struggling with feeling God's love, not just feeling it on me, but even feeling a need for it. Also I have struggled in the extreme with showing Christs love to others alot lately. I've also made the decision to try and reconnect with my brother. When he walked out of our lives about 2 years ago he made a point of not contacting me, and I therefore made a point of ignoring him. I guess on some level I was hurt, which only made it easier to reject him. Lately though I've been missing him, and have felt God's calling to put forth the effort to meet him where we are at now, rather then waiting for things to change. After today though I know for certain that God is pressing on me to make that connection. Oh yeah, I'm also sick, and my neck hurts.

Thoughts From The Weekend

Poor Theology

Alot was said this weekend about casting away wealth and experiencing God's restoration. This obsession our church (the church as a whole, not a specific one) has with eliminating wealth scares me. At first I thought it was just because I dislike Christians trying to marginalize other believers as less Godly because they have more then you. Now I know that it's also because I'm afraid of loosing what I have in life. Don't get me wrong, if I had to give everything up I would, I just wouldn't enjoy doing it, and let's face it, God doesn't enjoy it when we follow his will reluctantly as if it's a chore. I'm still not a fan of this anti wealth theology, but I have more of an appreciation for it then I did.

Modern Gnostic's

This weekend Nate talked a bit about gnosticism, and the similarities to the modern church. It's interesting though in terms of history, that Christians (even you kindly postmodernists) seek to undermine other Christians beliefs with this idea that your not a "real" Christian without the correct theology.

Okay, I'm tired and loosing focus, so ya might as well stop there.
I need to get post my testimony on here some time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Choosing Electives

I've heard discussion before on wether or not certain church activities help promote the church, and wether the church can, or should indorse them. For example, does having an official church baseball team further God's kingdom? Or if the church takes a group to go see a rated R movie does that reflect well on the church or Christians in general? Although I find these discussions somewhat pointless I've wondered lately why we dont ask these questions of our everyday lives. When we rail on about saving the earth, and fight with people who don't agree are we furthering God's kingdom? Does the fact that I've taken up brewing allow me more ministry oppurtunities? Is it my activities, or my actions that will allow me to live a life above reproach?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

When Life Hands You Lemons

I was doing my scripture reading the other night and I have to be honest about the fact I got nothing out of it. What good is reading Gods word when you not only have no desire to read, but in the end you've gotten nothing from it? It leaves you feeling worthless when you cant connect with God. So what do you do when it feels like God's word has dried up? How do you make Gods words exciting and meaningful again?

Wise Words

I was looking through my bible and came across a paper that I'd jotted some notes on. Written on this was something I'd heard or read a while back that got me thinking. Here's what it said.

Christians need to be careful in the exercise of their freedom in Christ lest they bring reproach on themselves and their religion

It was followed by

the rules put limits on the social consequences of our unity in Christ

These are a couple of the things that I've been meditating on since I found this paper.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Meaningless Theology

Are you pre-trib or post-trib? A Calvinist or an Armenian? What are your thoughts on drinking? Dancing? Holding hands? Now sweep all those questions to the side, and focus on one. Are you going to heaven?

We criticize our parents and grandparents for drawing lines through there Christianity on all those points. We point out that even if we are a pre-trib Armenian who dances, holds hands, and enjoys beer we can still get to heaven. Yet even now we draw lines in our Christianity. We attach labels and measurements in order to determine what makes a real Christian as if our salvation depends on it. We forget that our salvation comes from Christ, and Christ alone. Not a set of interpretations of scripture. Our differences in theology rent the church, divide old and young, and still we continue down a path that destroys the church. Not sure where I'm gonna go with this yet, but I definitely felt the need to vent about this silliness.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fair Is Fair

I've tried to stay away from my political beliefs, because they really have nothing to do with this blog, but I've become disenchanted with Christians playing politics on both sides of the spectrum. It all started when Barack Obama was elected as president. I may not have voted for him, but I will certainly follow him as long as I am not asked to violate God's laws. The first thing I noticed however was all the Christians that voted for him going ape poo crazy about how the Christians who didn't need to submit, it is biblical after all. The thing that bothered me was these people were strangely silent when Bush was still president. I wasn't a fan of Bush's policies, but he was my president. Who was I to throw a tantrum. Why is it that we're all happy to follow God's rules when we agree with what's going on. Then for those who watch the news, a local politician was outed over the fact that he slept with an 18 year old intern just shortly after their 18th birthday, then lied, ruining the political career of his opponent. Most people don't debate the fact that if it was an 18 year old girl they would probably want him to stop down, but now very few of the Christians I know are gunning for him to step down. After all, forgiveness is important when it's your candidate in office.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Lately I've been struggling with contempt.... Ok, maybe not just lately, but I've certainly noticed it being much more of a problem in my life. There's certain people that I just love, yet the things they do fill me with such contempt for them sometimes. I don't know where this feeling comes from, and it really bugs me, because the things that trigger it are small and petty. I guess I wonder if other people struggle with this, and why it's become a problem lately, especialy since I've become much more open to things, and less black and white.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Planning Ahead

I was talking to a friend the other night about God's plan in their life, and it got me thinking. Why do we put God's plan for us in a box? For example when I was in highschool I felt Gods calling to be more involved in children/youth ministries. In my mind this meant that I needed to go to college, and get a degree in youth ministries so that I could teach Jr High or High School students. Never once did I think God could be calling me to be a youth worker, and I definitely ruled out (at least in my mind) working with young pre k kids, cause there was no way I was gonna be changing diapers. It's 5 years since I felt Gods call to get involved, and here I am the teacher of a class for three year olds, and serving has never been this joyful. I'd felt God's calling, and immediately began to make my own plans from there, and if I'd followed them who knows where I'd be. So why is it that when God calls us to something we charge forward like a bull in a china shop rather then letting him guide our steps?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

One Body

It seems allot of Christians have two ways they view the world. Either they believe its their job to make everyone follow their rules, or they believe that everyone makes their own rules and who are they to say otherwise. I've been reading allot in the old testament this year simply because Gods relationship with Israel fascinates me. One thing I've noticed is the way Gods law was set up. First there were basic rules that everyone was made to follow, followed by rules for Gods people, that all Gods people were required to follow. There wasn't any room for a follower of the way to decide what rules they felt were unnecessary. What if we did that here in the US? Wouldn't it be amazing if Christians said ok, here are the rules for everyone here, and here are the rules that all Christians are required to follow. Can you imagine what that would do? The world would see a unified front of believers, who followed God's principles instead of playing theological dodgeball. Of course there would be theological differences between us, and there would be room for those, but let's stop debating the big stuff that's obvious to us. Lets agree that theft, abortion, premarital sex, and all those other big things are things God desires his people to stay away from. Let's give up this perception that we have rights and privileges. We are children of the king, and under his authority, not the courts, and certainly not our own.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lord Have Mercy

Tonight I've had a thought bouncing around in my head, but every time I try to put the thought into words it snowballs into another topic, so hopefully I wont muck this up too badly.

Tonight I was at our churches "Monday Night College Thing" (the name has been changed to protect the innocent) and we were reading in Daniel 2. What struck me wasn't the dream Mr Nezzar had or his actions, nor was it the foretelling of the messiah. What struck me most was Daniels prayer.

17 Then Daniel went to his house and informed his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, about the matter,
18 so that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his friends would not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

I love how Daniel prays that God would show compassion on him and give him the ability to interpret Nezzars dream. It wasn't God that ordered all the wise men in Babylon to be killed, yet David doesn't pray for God to fix Nezzar in any way. If I was in Daniels place my prayer might have gone something like this.

"Dear God, I don't wanna die right now. Could you please make Nezzar change his mind, could you fix whatever is wrong with him that makes him want to kill me."

I think too often we pray to God as if we were equals, as if he were a parent that was there to fix our mistakes, and kiss our owies better. Yet here Daniel prays to a God that is the master of all things. It's God that chooses whether he lives or dies, and he is not telling God, "I don't want to die, please fix this." Instead he is asking God for mercy. He's saying God I'm not worthy, but please save me anyway. The best part is when God delivers him by showing Daniel the dream he doesn't say a quick thank you and run off to save his hide. Instead he blesses God, because the master of all things deigned to show him mercy by giving him wisdom.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Line Is Drawn

I've taken to wondering lately where we should draw the lines in our lives as opposed to where we have drawn them. I hear allot of discussion about poverty, ministry to the poor, and money management, and where a Christians duty lies within that realm. The problem is that there's allot of discussion of the topic itself, and not allot of discussion on the biblicality of it. After all its hard to argue that by not living in poverty you somehow are not a Christian. It's hard to convince someone that their financial contributions towards ministries are less helpful then them offering their time instead. Speaking from experience, I look at a situation where someone has a homeless relative, who refuses to give up drugs and alcohol and therefore cant maintain a job, and wonder if it's biblical to support them financially even when they become either an emotional or financial burden that is destroying your family. Yet as a church we've chosen these subjects to debate, and divide ourselves upon. I hear pastors talk of how Christians need to get out their pocket books, how they need to get off their duffs and volunteer, and I think, "Yes, good for them. These people need to walk the walk." Then at the same time I hear many of the newer pastors and speakers out there saying it's not enough. They tell you teaching Sunday school and tithing isn't enough. Somehow you working a job at a clothing store makes you less of a Christian then someone who spends their day at the mission. Is this where the lines should be? Are all Christians called have this ideal life? Have we forsaken the idea that a Christian can serve God in whatever capacity he has given them in whatever situation he has put them in?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Black Hole Sun

I haven't been posting often, but then again I haven't been listening for God's voice as often as I should either. In fact my free time lately seems to be spent trying to get around doing the things I need to do. For example I woke up, moved my clean laundry from my floor to my bed, went and harvested a container of fennel from the ton of the stuff we grew this last summer, then proceeded to try and distract myself with TV, radio, and the Internet. My time is shifting more towards trying to have fun all the time. Which kinda brings me to whats been on my heart, and that's Ecclesiastes 1:9. "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun". With all the talk of our generation being perverse, of it pursuing the things of the flesh, as if we were somehow more guilty then our parents has been bouncing in my head. I think of the Romans, who would eat and drink to the point where they puked, just to turn around and gorge themselves again. I think of the American Industrialists like Rockefeller, who pursued wealth and power at all costs. I think of our parents and grandparents, who experimented with drugs and free sex in the Haight. I look at all this and have to ask myself, whats changed? The world was flooded, Sodom was destroyed, Christ came, and yet here we are. It's almost as if we seek refuge in the idea that the next group will be worse, and we must save them from what we did, only to turn and say how truly horrible they were. The reality is sin isn't new. Our generation shouldn't be defined by our shortcomings, nor should we try to overcome them with our popular causes, or saving the environment. What if we defined our generation not by trying to save the world either from themselves, or their sin, but rather defined ourselves as individuals (not a generation) seeking God. If we are truly seeking God, and in his will, then the world would crumble away and it would not matter, for God would be in control. It's time to stop hiding in the crowd of society, it's time to stop trying to change the direction of the herd, it's time to step forward, be accountable for yourself and say "I'm guilty, do what you will Lord."