The ‘anointing’ does not depend on the presence of air-conditioning
You are at church. One minute, you’re totally caught up with worship, “Lord take all of me, I consecrate my whole life to you.” Then in the very next second you think, “My goodness those lights are so bright. Any brighter and even blind Sister Brown would be able to see.” Have you ever been in worship, trying to ‘enter in’, however you can’t, because the person on the sound desk is clearly new as the music is far too loud? the drums are overpowering and the singer is quite ‘tonal’ today. You’re just not feeling it. As if God’s presence is dependent on the quality of the sound.
How about this. When the preacher is just smashing it. Really bringing revelation and truth. However, it’s hard to concentrate as the lady in the seat in front of you keeps sniffing. Seriously, why doesn’t she get up and just blow her nose? Doesn’t she know how distracting she is? And while we are at it why doesn’t the mother of that crying baby just take her to the nursery? The cries are disrupting the peace.
Are any of these thoughts familiar? Or am I the only person in the entire congregation that has occasional carnal thoughts. Seriously. I have thought all of those things.
I think I need to grow up and act like I’m born again
I am so aware of a consumer culture in churches, or the air of entitlement that we have here in the west. As if the conditions need to be perfect in order for us to receive from the Lord. The air-con is too high. The lights are too bright. The drums are too loud. The drums are too soft. The singer was a bit off pitch today.
My whole world changed when I understood this powerful revelation. We are not in church for ourselves! Church was not built by God so that we can sit there with our gawking mouths open, waiting to passively receive from the ‘man of God’ on the pulpit! We are the church. We are there to exhort, celebrate and lift up one another. To give and not just ‘receive for ourselves’. Our walk and growing with God happens every minute of every day. Not in the one hour of church. Church is a family, called to celebrate and worship corporately and lift one another up to live like saints in the world.
Once I changed my mindset. The conditions became irrelevant.
Jesus died for everyone… except for Hilary Clinton.
It seems that people cease to be Christians when it comes to politics. Seriously. Why is it in the church that we greet everyone with the love of the Lord and in the next breath defame and totally annihilate with our words people like Donald Trump? Or if you like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton. Seriously.
I have never heard so much negativity coming from Christian’s mouths than when they are talking about our political leaders
As though deformation of character and the power of negative words doesn’t count for politicians. Especially the ones you are not supporting. Christians can you hear me? Enough! Our leaders are placed there by God. Get over yourself and see what God sees. They need our love and our support. They need our intercession. They need Godly wisdom. They need us to cover them with prayers for their family, for their health, for their personal lives. They are positioned by God. We need to respect and love them. Hear me people. I’m not saying that we agree with every policy that they put in place. We also need to stand for righteousness. What I am saying is that we need to take away the spirit of accusation and criticism that we often have towards our secular leaders. Let’s let the wind of praise go behind our leaders back. Let us lift them up with our words. Let us intercede for them both corporately and in our personal lives. Not begrudgingly so that they will change, but with a heart of love, intense compassion and gratitude. Remember the lives of politicians are far from glamorous. They literally devote themselves for the people. For you and for me. They deserve our respect, praise and prayers. As Christians we need to be the first to uphold and exhort and come alongside them with a heart of great Love.
Let’s have Grace, be Gentle with each other and protect connection at all cost
You know I find sometimes I have more grace for people who don’t know God, than our own brother or sister in Christ. Seriously. I am preaching to myself.
Last week, I had a big dinner for about 20 guests. As one of the guests was dairy free, I made the entire menu dairy free, from entrée to mains to dessert. It was great because it forced me to think up a recipe for sticky date which was dairy free which was seriously so intensely delicious that I wanted to promote myself to Prime Minister. Anyway we digress.
So my entire menu was dairy free. However I mindlessly used one jar of pesto, which had a small amount of parmesan in it to spread over the roasted eggplant. When my dairy free guest asked whether there was any dairy in anything, I very proudly announced that everything was dairy free. Everything. I proudly told her I made it all from scratch and designed the menu just for her. And I had. I was very proud indeed. Talk about super Christian and number one Friend! However she happened to find the small jar of pesto sitting on my kitchen bench and read the ingredient parmesan and came to question me about it.
Well instead of reacting like the mature 32 year old Christian that I am, apologising and being sorry for missing that ingredient. I responded with so much immaturity and emotion that I even surprised myself. I was so upset. “How could she question me after all the hard work I had gone to, to make it dairy free for her.” I felt so illogically indignant and outraged. Even as I was indulging my carnal emotions I was completely aware that I was being utterly irrational (the pesto had dairy in it after all, she was right) and I was absolutely aware I was totally overreacting.
You know the scary truth is this:
If that person was a non believer or someone I was trying to evangelise to, I think I would have had all the grace in the world.
Somehow because it was a fellow church leader and sister in Christ, my degree of expectations went up 1000 times and my grace went down inversely with my expectations. I’m ashamed to even write this.
Jesus had three best friends. He spent every waking moment with them. Peter, James and John. He dined with them the night before he was killed. Then while he was being killed, Peter didn’t just run away, he actually denied he even knew Him three times. While Jesus hung on a cross dying for him. However not one ounce of me would doubt that Jesus loved and forgave him even while he was denying he even knew Jesus. I think our petty differences in the church all pale in comparison to this! Jesus didn’t let anything stand in the way of connection and love.
We can have so much more grace for each other in the church. We can be so much more gentle with our brothers and sisters and church leaders. So much more. Myself included. When we can chose between being right or being kind, let’s always choose to be kind. Seriously I think I need to grow up and become so much more kind.
Enough with the Go Fund Me Campaigns
Shawn Bolz once said, “Be the rich benefactor that you are praying for to provide for you.”
Seriously Christians, enough with the Go Fund Me Campaigns! Last I checked, when an unbeliever wants to go on a holiday to Europe or backpacking around the world, they get a job or two, work really hard, save up all their money and then go! For some reason, if it’s a missionary trip or a ministry trip, we feel entitled to write a big campaign to ask for people to ‘donate’ money for the cause. We pray that “God will provide” and then broadcast across social media or in go fund me campaigns or in day to day conversation, our financial needs so that God has EVERY opportunity to provide.
There is a fine line between faith and coercion
Honestly, I think there are a whole lot of Christians who should get a job (or two) and actually work and save for the trip that they think they are called to go on. Seriously a job at McDonald’s is not beneath you. You wont lose your salvation flipping burgers. It will give you great life skills.
Please don’t hear what I am not saying. I am a huge believer in miraculous provision. Mark and I have had God provide time and time again for beyond what I have ever dreamt. However, there seems to be a degree of entitlement that creeps in sometime when it comes to ministry. “Because it is for the Lord, He will provide.” He will! But it may be by working two jobs! Plus we should be changing our mindset from “when will someone provide for me” to “how can I provide for someone else and myself.” It is time to think bigger.
Truly Beloveds, I think we need to grow up, to change our mindset to “how can I become the rich benefactor that I am praying for.”
I am not standing on a soap box. Everything I am writing about are things I have identified in myself. Perhaps you have never had a single thought like I have and I am the only Christian that has growth areas. If so, then have a laugh and move on. However if, like me, you need to grow up, then hear what I’m saying with the greatest of love. Let us transition from drinking milk to eating meat together (plant based meat if possible).
Note: Finances and provision are a tricky thing. There are times God will invite you to ask others for provision, in an act of humility and to draw on the body of Christ for help. He might even ask you to do a campaign. But it will usually be when your vision is far greater than yourself. Especially when life throws huge curve balls at us in terms of family, death, sickness and brokenness. This is so wonderful. Don’t hear what I am not saying. The body begins to edify itself in love at times like this and it is sweet to the Father. I am not challenging the practice of asking or not asking, as much as the spirit of entitlement that can sometimes function in the western church. Be very careful to be confident it is the Lord before you start reaching out to your brothers and sisters in a direct way. Listen twice and speak once. Don’t abuse the bride.
Until next time you are richly loved and deeply cherished.
The Healthy Hiccup
PS. The marriage series is continuing, I’m just waiting for Mark to misbehave so I have more material to write about. xx