The Undoing

Peace. Intimacy. Presence. Face to face. 

If you’ve never heard the name Steffany Gretzinger then I can absolutely guarantee that you’re missing out on something wonderful. You may have heard her on other projects, but her first ever release just dropped and it is breathtaking. (get it here) As I journey through the album it’s as if as I worship the Father and Son, Holy Spirit creates a lullaby over me. 

   There’s an encounter with God waiting for you, grab your Bible, a notebook, turn it up and see what happens. 

 
Here is one the treasures from “The Undoing”. I could say more, but I’m really just hoping you’ll check it out for yourselves 

Stir in me a love that’s deep
A love that’s wide, a love that’s sweet
And help me, Lord
To never keep it to myself

And if my heart should dimly burn
And if my feet should fail to run
Call my name and I will come right back to You

There’s no fear in love
There’s no fear in love

Stir in me a love that’s deep
A love that’s wide, a love that’s sweet
And help me, Lord
To never keep it to myself

And if my heart should dimly burn
And if my feet should fail to run
Call my name and I will come right back to You

There’s no fear in love
There’s no fear in love

I wanna stay close to You
It’s really that simple
I wanna stay close to You
Just as simple as this song
I wanna stay close to You
It’s really that simple
I wanna stay close to You
My whole life long

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Love and Truth

Questions that need answers, that’s what is on my mind today. I feel like I need to talk it out, so today you are my dear, trusted friend with whom I will be vulnerable. It’s a little scary because I’m sure that some of you feel strongly on both sides of this topic and I’m honestly not sure what conclusion – if any – I’ll come to at the end of this. I apologize if I’ve blogged about this before, but I can’t promise it won’t come up again!
Let me back up here and see if I can lay out the dominoes of my thoughts so we can start from the same place. I found out recently that an acquaintance of mine “unfriended” me on facebook because she knows that I’m a Christian and she wanted to protect herself from anything offensive or hurtful that I might say about same sex marriage. She hopes to someday be able to marry the woman that she loves.  When I first found out that she felt this way about me I was hurt. Am I so insensitive? Do I use my facebook as a platform to shake my fist at people? Because I would a thousand times rather use it as a way to love people that I wouldn’t get a chance to otherwise.  Then I thought back to the night before…

Walking on the crowded Vegas strip in a sea of faces, lives, hopes, fears…my heart was overwhelmed. Sure, there were likely Christians in the mix who, like myself, were enjoying the family-friendly side of Vegas, but the majority were likely those looking for a different kind of good time. In the midst of all these thoughts we came across a street preacher. My first thought was that I would feel a connection with him and the couple of people there with him. After all, this guy was giving up his time to reach the lost and (I imagine) facing quite a bit of ridicule in order to reach out to a lost and hurting world. Then the crowd parted enough for me to read their signs and my heart dropped. What kind of person identifies themselves with Jesus and uses that kind of language about the people He died for? Gross. He may have been an extreme, but I don’t think it’s too far off from how a lot of people view Christians. So I guess it makes sense that someone would expect to, at some point, be offended by me.

These two experiences have once again brought to the surface the thing my heart longs to know beyond the shadow of a doubt: What did Jesus’ life look like on a day to day basis? Did He confront sin? Absolutely!! And He didn’t mince words according to some of the encounters we have record of. (I wanted to call that “street preacher” a brood of vipers myself, after all, it’s totally Scriptural, right?) Did He infuriate others by not acknowledging sin in some situations? Oh yes. To the extent that one man had the audacity to think “if this man were really a prophet…”. Ouch.

In order to really see the heart of God in this I’ll have spend more time with Him and reading from the wonderful book He gave us. At this point I feel a constant conflict and I question myself. There is no excuse for sin in my life. There is no reason to expect anything else from someone who is not yet saved. God is love. God is holy. Someone very dear to me thinks I’m judgmental.  I thought if I was in error it would be on the side of not dealing as harshly with sin as God does, am I seeing a totally distorted picture of myself? Yuck, too much looking inward is happening here.
I guess I’m still where I started, and that is knowing these two things –
-In each and every situation I need to listen for what the Father is saying and do only that. Moment by moment, abiding so closely in Him that wisdom, truth, love and justice flow naturally from my lips and deeds in perfect balance.

– It doesn’t matter what I see in other people’s eyes when they look at me. What matters it what I see in God’s eyes…what does He see in me now and in what areas is He calling me to observe about His character so that it can become more of mine.

I’m still searching for a “big picture” kind of answer to these questions in my heart…I would love to hear your insight on this, please tell me I’m not alone in this struggle!

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Summer Love

 

summertimeSummer finally hit the U.P. and it seems there’s hardly been a quiet moment since! I’m really loving it, outdoor activities at home – pool, trampoline, sand table, swings – park days, holidays, birthday, grilling out with friends, and now we can add soccer to the list! The kids are enjoying every second and it makes me wish I could pick up all our family and friends and move somewhere that had much shorter winters…like a week or two would be fine  : )

Things around the house are stacking up a bit more than I would like and blogging, studying, reading and sleep are distant memories that are sure to revisit in a couple short months. Seems they’ve been replaced with sand, water, sunblock, and I-know-I-must-be-forgetting-something.

 

 

In the midst of all the fun and craziness my heart has been pulled in so many directions and  I’m awake almost nightly with the need to pray for something that just can’t wait until morning. The needs of others are plentiful, some closer to home than others. Even in the midst of loss I am reminded daily that God is good and that He is on our side. Not just in the way that mom makes you eat veggies because she’s on your side and wants what is best for you (although that, too!)  But also in the way the cheers us on, celebrates our lives, gives us the tools we need to succeed and allows us to come alive in the desires of our hearts.  With a heart submitted to God we get to do all these amazing things and in the process we are giving Him glory. I love it.  And no matter how hard I try I could never exaggerate the goodness, the kindness, the love or the faithfulness of the Father, King Jesus or Holy Spirit.

Hope that summer 2013 finds you content and resting along still waters, even on the craziest days.

little things

Bourn(e). Again.

2013-01-09_10-52-50_717My last post sparked some interesting discussion, which inspired me to follow through a little more. This topic of being either a sinner or being saved has taken me down quite a few rabbit trails of study, most of which I will completely avoid today : )  I’ve included Scripture by adding links, rather than spelling each one out so follow along with your mouse if you like. It’s all there, I’m not making it up!

So here is what I’m not saying – I am not claiming to be sin- free. Is that the goal? Absolutely! Is that what Jesus paid for the on the cross? Yes! Am I there yet? Nope. But I press on…

I’m not saying that having a new identity in Christ is a free pass to pridesville. God is our source, and everything that we have access to in Him (which is everything!!) is because of the price that He paid, not because of anything that I’ve done. There’s nothing more humbling than seeing the King of kings paying the price for my sin. He’s so holy and I am nothing when I’m separated from Him.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, check this out. You know those spy movies where someone gets made so they go to a super secret spot, pick up a big envelope, dump the contents on a frumpy hotel comforter and begin the process of creating a new identity? Passport, driver’s license, social security card, credit cards, done and done. Then with a new haircut, some wash in color and a burn of his old papers George becomes James and makes his way to a sunny beach without a trace of the old man.  C’mon, you know you think it’s pretty cool. : )  Well here’s the thing – we get that too! Sinner becomes saint. Orphan becomes son or daughter. Reject becomes beloved. Stranger becomes family.  These aren’t just words, they are Truths that change everything.

Whenever I’m studying something I always look at the life of Christ to see what truths lie hidden (or not so hidden) there. This is what I see when I look at the way Jesus carried Himself here on earth – He knows who His daddy is.  When my dad was still alive he managed the parts department at a GM dealership and he pastored a church.  It wasn’t something I had to constantly remember, but as Brian’s daughter, it was just another part of my identity. Even when I was young and surrounded by the men at the dealership, I never felt too intimidated to walk into the parts department and hang out behind the counter. The level of authority that my dad had gave me confidence and access that I would not have had otherwise. And even though he’s been gone for six years the man who now runs the part department still gives me a discount because of who my dad was. All that to say, how much more confidence, authority and access should we be walking in because of who our heavenly Father is? I don’t walk with my head hanging, eyes to the ground, shrugging my way through life because I’m a sinner. I (try to) walk with my head high, looking for people with whom I can share the endless resources that have been entrusted to me because I am the daughter of the King. I strive to live as Jesus did and serve with the heart of a king and in the areas I’ve been given authority, to rule with the heart of a servant.

That’s all for now…

No God allowed?

out.of.the.ashesI’ve been biting my tongue for a while now, but I really feel the need to say this. Today. Now.

God has not been kicked out of schools. 

We are carriers of God’s presence. Go ahead and hum “this little light of mine” if you like. No legislation, no principle, no school policy, no employer, NOTHING can stop the Holy One from filling my being and shifting the atmosphere everywhere I go.  His Kingdom – the realm of His Kingly authority – it goes where I go.  Every time I hear someone blame tragedy in a school on the fact that God has been “banned” from schools I feel as though we’re shrinking God down to a size that we can use for a power-punch one liner to throw at the world. And when we do that we’re failing to acknowledge who we are and the power that we have access to.
So let’s arise and shine! Call the nations to Jesus, and never forget that we have power and authority greater than anything on this earth!

 

Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.

“Lift up your eyes all around, and see:
They all gather together, they come to you;