Thursday, September 24, 2009

patience is a virtue

hen Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.  As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food." Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."  "We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.  "Bring them here to me," he said. ~Matthew 14: 13-18

 Patience. Compassion. Two things that I am daily still working on. I need to take a lesson from Jesus.

Even after retreating to a quiet place to rest after hearing the death of his cousin, John the Baptist, Jesus still lets the crowds come to him. He still had compassion on them and healed their sick.

And not once did he complain.

What do I have to complain about? Here is my list at the moment:
-the phone at work constantly ringing  when I am trying to get things done.
-the sales guys always bothering me with their stuff when I am trying to get things done
-slow people on the road and other cars coming the other way so I can’t pass the slow person.
-my DVR box or computer freezing on me for now apparent reason
-my cat wanting too much attention when I don’t feel like talking. 

Not much a real “urgency” kind of list, eh? I didn’t have to bear the weight of the world on my shoulders. I didn’t have to hang on a cross for all sin while the people mocked me. One person only had to do that.

Don’t you think that Jesus should have at one time had a tantrum? He had people mobbing him left and right, wanting to be healed. He had to let these same people turn on him and send him to his death.

I think my complaints look like mere trifles next to his. Instead of complaining about everything, I need to learn how to do everything I do in worship to God. Instead of rolling my eyes at the phone when it rings, I should be thankful that I still have a job and people are calling. Instead of nagging on the sales guys, I should let them see Christ working through me. Instead of fuming and throwing a fit when my computer starts to spazz out, I should take that time and focus on God while waiting for it to calm down.

We need to be Jesus’ hands and feet. And every action is being watched. Even the slightest little slip could give people another reason to not trust a follower of Christ. And we become the hypocrite we try so hard not to be.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Homosexuality in the Church *Viewer Discretion is Advised*

I just recently found out that my Synod(ELCA) is going to/or has allow(ed) gay minsters in the church. I know this is a very touchy social subject and opinions will be made and argued.

But I am at a loss. I don't know what to think. My mind has been swirling with thoughts for the past few weeks since I found out about this. I don't know whether to agree with this, ignore it, or do something about it. This is going to be a no-win situation for everyone.

I have always been the one to say "if there is a problem in the church, instead of taking the coward way out and leaving-pray about it." But since I heard this startling news, I am ready to run 90 MPH in the complete opposite direction and be no part of it. But yet, something inside wants me to stay too and not sound like a racial biggot.

I have some gay friends. Though I do not agree with their lifestyle, they are still humans and have feelings and I will remain friends with them. But when it comes to the church, the Bible clearly is against homosexuality:

Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is destestable.~ Leviticus 18:22

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do no be decieved: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolator nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. ~1 Corinthians 6:9-10

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for the lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and pejurers-and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. ~1 Timothy 1:8-11

Were we not instructed to live by the laws in the Bible? And not switch them around to make them how we want them to fit into our lives? I was just reading one of the footnotes for 1 Timothy and it says that the entire Bible call homosexual behavior a sin. We must be careful, however, to condemn only the practice, and not the people. They can still be forgiven.

And that is what I said before: I will love the person, but I don't have to agree with their lifestyle choice.

But now, here we enter the touchy subject. We were also always taught to love one another regardless of our faults. We were taught to live like Jesus. Consider the people that he hung around with: Thiefs, tax collectors, prostitutes, etc. I wonder if there was a homosexual amongst them at one point. Do you think that Jesus befriended him? Of course. But Jesus did not allow homosexuality.

"Haven't you heard," he replied, " that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' he said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate."~Matthew 19:4-6

I am at a loss. I don't know what to do. I believe everything the Bible says, but yet, I don't want to turn my back on someone just because of their beliefs. It would go against everything that I have learned growing up. Not just as a Christian, but also as a human being as well.

I am curious to what others reading this will think. I am praying earnestly about this. I am trying to listen to God and hoping that it's not the devil planting something in my head. Please feel free to respond to this; I await your comments.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I may have been wrong

Regarding the last post I made, I may have been a little wrong on some things. After a little chat with my friend and a nice chat with God, I had my eyes opened.

 I was making the music all about me and what I wanted. I was trying to make radio the way I wanted it. I didn’t take into consideration that God will use whatever he can to bring people to His kingdom. And though the songs didn’t reach out to me in some way, they may make an impact on someone else and their walk. 

It brings me back once again to a line in the song “1000 Miles Apart” from downhere:

 You stay there, and I'll stay here, into our corners we disappear
And we don’t ever have to talk, 'cause you like hiphop and I like rock
But sometimes thoughts hurt just as bad as striking cheeks with hands
It’s less our homes and more our hearts 1000 miles apart 

Now, someone may not like downhere or my choices of music and I can’t shove them down their throats trying to persuade someone why I think downhere is the best band ever. It’s just going to push them further away. 

Me, me, me. “It’s just not moving me anymore” “I am not connecting with what they are saying; it’s just words.” When am I ever going to learn that it’s not about me and ALL about Jesus? You would think that I would have learned this by now. I am thinking I am going to need to have a little prayer walk with God.

 And a sabbatical from the worship team for some time. I need to reconnect with God and I can’t do that trying to get my ducks in a row. Will I miss being up on the worship stand? Of course. But I have been making it a chore to go instead of letting God move me and speak to me. 

This just makes me think of the book I am using a Bible Study at the moment. A Mary Heart in a Martha World. Martha thought all about herself and the preparation for the Lord instead of stopping what she was doing and sitting at Jesus’ feet. I don’t want to be like Martha. I want to be like Mary and give everything I have to Jesus and just sit there and let him speak to me.

Please pray for me while I am on this journey.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Maybe You Think That We Sugar Coat It"

I have come to the conclusion that alot of the music that I have been hearing on the radio the past few months just isn't doing it for me. And I am not talking about the secular or country music genres either. I am talking about Christian music. To me, it seems lately that the music is just there to be there. To make someone famous by throwing it in the Christian music genre because it wouldn't get enough airplay on secular radio.

Yes, I know there is a meaning behind the songs, and no, I know not all Christian songs have to say the words "Jesus" "God" or "Love" in them, but too many that I have been hearing just seem too sugar coated. They are fun to sing, there isn't enough depth to them for me anymore.

Same thing goes with worship music. Some songs, after you have sung them for them for the millionth time, just seem to have lost all meaning. You try and find something in it and they just become words on a page.

Maybe that's why I haven't been really feeling anything while I am on the worship stand trying to lead worship.

Some songs, though, just resonate through the years and no matter how many times you have heard it, you still get choked up when hearing it. Like Amazing Grace, for example. It never fails me to bring me to tears when I hear multitudes of people singing it together, pouring their hearts out. Wow.

I like songs that have a meaning. That have some body to it. And I am not finding that on the radio lately. I like having a story behind a song. Maybe that's why I gravitate towards the Centricity Artists so much. Their label pushes them to dig deep, push the line and find a meaning. Downhere, Lanae Hale and Jason Gray are my favorites off that label(although I LOVE them all). I love the stories behind the songs. And they all have a passion for Christ. They are not just writing songs to write songs.

I don't know what's on other Christians artists hearts and I do not have the right to judge them. But just in my opinion, there are alot of songs that are just, for me, lacking something. Are we really watering down our faith just to have a hit song on the radio? I hope not. We should be bold about it, not be ashamed of what we believe, and stand firm. Don't water it down. Don't sugar coat it. Just live it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Again I Say: Rejoice!!

Philippians 4:4-6

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Wow. I couldn’t have read a better verse today! One thing that I have been struggling with for years is prayer. I never know what to say. I don’t want to sound greedy. Sometimes I feel stupid just talking to the air. But over the past couple of months I have learned to take everything to God in prayer. And he will provide. I am living proof of that. I love my job at Russ Darrow, and I have been part time for the past year since I started. And I was struggling every day to find a way to make ends meet. I was always looking for other part time jobs to fill in the hours that I didn’t work there, but nothing came up. And news last week came that our normal full time girl, due to personal reasons, was going down to part time and I would get the full time position. WHAT? Really? So, I sent my blessings up to God. Then today, I word that I will be getting a raise on my next check! I can’t tell you how much God has blessed me in the past couple of weeks. All the trails and pain that I have gone through only equip me to be a stronger person in my walk with God. And I have learned to pray earnestly and continuously. He will provide for you when you need it. And when you least expect it!

I have also become more open with my faith and not being ashamed to pray in public. I still struggle at times, but I am getting better at it. I have a problem with sitting and listening for God, though. I always have things running through my brain and I get distracted easily. Sometimes things are good, other times not so much. Sometimes I am running down my “to do” list and I lose sight of why I am bowing my head. There is a song called “Let the Waters Rise” from Mikeschair that has been my prayer the past couple months since I first heard it. I remember crying. I actually heard it again last night having a “worry” moment and it came at the right time and brought me to my knees in surrender.

Don't know where to begin
It's like my world's caving in
And I tried but i can't control my fear
Where do I go from here

Sometimes it's so hard to pray
You feel so far away
I am willing to go where You want me to
God I trust You

There's a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knee
So let the waters rise

If you want them to
I will follow You
I will follow You
I will follow You

God will never put anything in front of you that you can’t handle. He’s just a prayer away when you feel like falling. He’ll pick you up when He knows you are ready. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Yet another wonderful book from Max Lucado. I decided to use this as my Bible Study for the past couple weeks and I am glad that I did. Not only did I learn more about myself, but I also learned the different fears holding me back from fully living my life in Christ. Max has a wonderful blend of stories and explanation of fear. He brought other stories in to mix with the Biblical truths. It was great to relate my fears with those that have faced something in their past. It made understanding my fears so much easier. And one of my favorite things about Max’s books is the Study Guide in each of them at the back of the book. I love how even though I have read the same scripture passages time and time again, by reading one of his books, I find a new meaning to it and they stick better with me. At the end of each study guide, there is a little challenge for you. I found those helpful each day to help focus on my walk with Jesus. And each chapter is dedicated to a fear that keeps us from entering full surrender to Christ. Breaking them down like that, helped recognized the areas in my life that need a lot more help and prayerful thought. Fearless is a great addition to the Max Lucado library and I highly recommend picking it up. For more information, check out: Max website here or Thomas Nelson website here.

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Earth is my womb

So hear me out. This is a nice little passage I read today from Max Lucado's Fearless.

I know you don't rememeber this prenatal season, so let me remind you what happened during it. Every gestation day equipped you for your earthly life. Your bones solidified, your eyes developed, the umbilical cord transported nutrients into your growing frame...for what reason? So you might remain enwombed? Quite the contrary. Womb time equipped you for earth time, suited you up for your postpartum exsistence.

Some prenatal features went unused before birth. YOu grew a nose but didn't breathe. Eyes developed, but could you see? Your tongue, toenails and crop of hair served no function in your mother's belly. But aren't you glad you have them now?

Certain chapters in this life seem so unneccessary; like nostrils on the preborn. Suffering. Lonlieness. Disease. Holocausts. Matyrdom. Monsoons. If we assume this world exsists just for pregrave happiness, these atrocities disqualify it from doing so. But what if this earth is the womb? Might these challenges, severe as they may be, serve to prepare us, equip us for the world to come?

This little passage made me open my eyes wider and really think about the things going on around me. Yes, I know they are trials and help me grow stronger in my faith. But I like the way Max put it about being in the womb. Like the nutrients coming from the umblilical cord, these things we face nourish us one way or the other. They strenghthen us and help us draw closer to God. So, I'm going to live like I am in the womb. Take everything that is thrown, no-given, to me and use to strengthen me more. Cuz when I leave this earthly womb, I will have everything I need to live my life at the feet of Jesus. And I will have no fear of exiting this life and making passage into the next.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Jason Gray: Everything Sad is Coming Untrue

Now, I try not to be one that is biased, but I have been waiting (im)patiently for the new Jason Gray album “Everything Sad is Coming Untrue”. I have been a strong supporter of his music for some time now, and Centricity Music has not let me down yet.

Nor did they or Jason let me down this time either.

“Everything Sad is Coming Untrue” is a wonderful blend of pop, praise, folk, and everything else in between. Jason is a gifted songwriter and knows how to wrap God’s word around your heart.

If you are curious as to where Jason came up with the title, it’s a passage in Tolkein’s “The Lord of the Rings” where Sam wakes after the darkest day of his life to find those he thought dead were alive and that all was well: “’Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?’ ‘A great shadow has departed,’ said Gandalf, and then he laughed, and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land…”

I can’t say that I have a favorite, because all the songs have some form of meaning to me. But I think that one of my favorite lines is from “More Like Falling in Love”, the first track on the album: “Cause all religion ever made of me, was just a sinner with a stone tied to my feet. It never set me free.” I think it’s true that we focus sometimes why our “religion” is better than the other person’s, and we could debate out this all day long, but this is an album review, so let’s carry on!

Jason is a great storyteller and is not afraid tackle tough subjects like battling deception on “The Golden Boy and the Prodigal”, and not letting worship get watered down or fluffed up like in the song “Fade With Our Voices”. This album is a true testament of what it means to confess and fall at Jesus’ feet and offer ourselves completely.

If you are looking for some good hearty music that needs to pull at your heartstrings, then “Everything Sad is Coming Untrue” should do the trick.

More information can be found at Jason’s newly updated (and really cool!) website or at Centricity Music’s website.

I encourage you to pick up the album. I am telling you now that you will not be disappointed!

Ahoy! Thanks for stopping by. Sometimes life should be an open book and here you will find that true. My mind is always on full speed and I will be heading over many waves. I hope this journey is as much of an adventure for you as it is for me~ ~Mindy