Saturday, January 31, 2009

Unsettle Me.

I received this powerful article/prayer in my email last night. It's so good, I just had to give you all a crack at it, too!

by Lysa TerKeurst

Unsettle me.

These are the two words rattling about in my brain today. I almost wish it was a more glamorous prayer. Surely more eloquent words could be found for what I'm feeling led to pursue during this new year. But these are the words - this is the prayer for my 2009.

The funny thing is I've spent my whole existence trying to find a place to settle down, people to settle down with, and a spirit about me worthy of all this “settled down-ness”. All of this is good. A contented heart, thankful for its blessings is a good way to settle. I like settled, it feels good, familiar.

But there are areas of my life that have also settled that mock my desires to be godly woman - compromises if you will. Attitudes that I've wrapped in the lie, "Well, that's just how I am. And if that's all the bad that's in me, I'm doing pretty good."

I dare you, dear soul of mine, to notice the stark evidence of a spirit that is tainted and a heart that must be placed under the microscope of God's Word. Yes, indeed, “Unsettle me Lord”.

Unearth that remnant of unforgiveness.

Shake loose that justification for harshness.

Reveal that broken shard of pride.

Expose that tendency to distrust.

Unsettle me in the best kind of way. For when I allow Your touch to reach the deepest parts of me - dark and dingy and hidden away too long - suddenly, a fresh wind of life twists and twirls and dances through my soul.

I can delight in forgiveness and love more deeply.

I can discover my gentle responses and find softer ways for my words to land.

I can recognize the beauty of humility and crave the intimacy with God it unleashes.

I can rest assured though harsh winds blow, I will be held.

Goodbye to my remnants, my justifications, shards, and tendencies. This is not who I am, nor who I was created to be.

Goodbye shallow love, sharp words, self-focus, and suspicious fears. I am an unsettled woman who no longer wishes to take part in your distractions or destructions.

Welcome deeper love, softer words, unleashed intimacy, and the certainty I am held.

Welcome my unsettled heart.

Welcome 2009.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Similarities Between Obama and Jesus?

I read an interesting article this morning. It was written by one of the Bishops of my denomination--The Free Methodist Church--named David Kendall. Just thought I would share it with you!

Triumphal Entries and Salvation for the World
By Bishop David W. Kendall

As our new President journeyed to his inauguration in Washington, D.C., I’ve thought often of Jesus. There are similarities between them. Both came from relative obscurity and quickly rose to prominence. Both inspired crowds of people with soaring rhetoric and engaging presence. Both connected in ways unlike most other leaders. Both led a movement that enlivened ordinary folks with hope. Both made people think a new day had come.

Both journeyed to the capital to fulfill their destinies. Both were greeted with joyful welcome. Both entered the city in ways that re-energized a storied but threatened heritage — Jesus recharged a long but tired expectation of kingdom-come, while President Obama has embodied the dream that most embraced (at least in public) but feared might never quite come true. Both made people think that maybe this time it’s for real. Both went to the city at a time when the world really needed the good news their arrival signaled.

Of course, President Obama is not the Messiah. And, of course, much of the wild enthusiasm that attends his presidency (which has hardly begun!) is likely misplaced. Despite the enormous, even cosmic, differences between President Obama and our Lord Jesus I’m still quite sure we will look back and see that both disappointed their most enthused partisans. Let me explain.

Jesus disappointed by staying true to his Father’s kingdom-way, which is not of this world. He disappointed by insisting that serving self (whether the individual or corporate self) and seeking to save self leads only to disaster. He insisted that “pouring out” or “losing” self leads to kingdom-dream-come-true or “salvation.” Then He led his followers to the place of death, which also turns out to be the place of resurrection.

I hope and pray that President Obama will pursue Jesus’ way as he leads our nation; that he will call us to lose ourselves for the sake of others, to lay down our lives in love even for our enemies, to champion the causes that God so clearly champions in the Scriptures. I believe there are ways a nation can do such things. I hope and pray our President will lead this country to reflect the values of a kingdom-not-of-this-world.

Two things make me optimistic. First, President Obama has already acted in ways that make people from all sides of the ideological divide mad (e.g., he included religious leaders in the inaugural events from polar opposites of the spectrum). That is, he demonstrates so far a freedom from party ideology. Second, he has spoken hard truth that nobody wants to hear (e.g., it will get worse — perhaps much worse — before it gets better).

Christ-followers do not have the option of being cynical or even negative. We have the calling to pray, to remain people of hope, to speak good whenever possible, to disagree graciously, and to lean into a future that may lead to a cross in the short term, but eventually will lead to resurrection.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Why I Love the Church...

I love the church because…well, what’s not to love?! (Don’t answer that! *wink*)

Seriously, though, nothing is perfect, but wow, some things are really great! My church is one of them. I have 100% grownup here. All “almost 30” years. And, there are SO many wonderful things I could mention…but, lately, I have been really coming to a deep understanding of, and reverence towards, consistency—and the affect it has. I am who I am, and have what I have, in large part because of consistency. Not just in places and surroundings—though I wouldn’t discount that—but, mostly the consistency in people. I am grateful because my family has always shown Jesus to me, and expected Jesus from me, with equal passion in public as at home. I was sent to schools where I had daily opportunity to engage with people who challenged me and encouraged me in similar ways. And, pivotally, I’ve had the privilege of belonging to a church that has provided me family, friends, role models, prayer warriors, generous hearts…I could go on and on. The consistency in those arenas has been an unmatched blessing. The impact is remarkable. I know that without it, I would not be who, or where, I am. For over a couple decades, I have had a front seat view of people worshipping, giving, loving, challenging, needing, providing, encouraging, comforting, and ministering…My church has consistently been a beacon of God’s light and truth in my life…And, once I was old enough to choose my own way, my own standards, my own life—it was that consistency that kept me firmly rooted in the saving grace of Jesus Christ and with a passion to share it with others.

For this, I am so thankful, and say heartily, “That’s why I love the church!”