All alone!!!

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners

I spoke at a potluck that we had for our client’s and the volunteers who shopped with them at Christmas, the other night. I talked about giving the Church another chance. That the people who volunteer with us are truly genuine people from the Church who care about them.

I acknowledged how so many broken people feel judged by those in the Church but that it is wrong to judge everyone in the Church based on the majority.

My daughter came up to me after I spoke and told me that she got Isaiah 61:1 as her Scripture for the day, at that moment, and it was for me and what I was doing by speaking.

My daughter was blessed to go on a retreat this weekend due to the church who is hosting it and my friend paying for it.

My daughter is a very social and outgoing extrovert, when she is in a social scene that contains unsaved or oppressed kids.

God is using her to speak to the kids in our community. So many of the kids she meets are broken and feel like they don’t belong with God yet they are still seeking.

Because she is so real about her sin they automatically trust her and respect her view on God.

When she is with “Christian” kids she is the opposite. She seems more shy and self conscious. She says that girls in youth groups are more judgmental and not as accepting of her.

So she was full of anxiety on the way to this retreat because she only knew 1 person out of hundreds, that we ended up arguing and then God calmed us down, so we could process what was going on.

She admitted that she was scared that she wouldn’t fit in.

I prayed for God to help her feel like she fits in and if she doesn’t for God to help her know what she is supposed to try and teach the Church.

I talked with her today around 1pm. She has been there since 9pm last night, and she was alone sitting in a hall. She talked to me for about a half hour which shows me that she was alone for sure, she is a typical teenager who wants to be with friends, and it’s like pulling teeth to get her time.

She told me that she talked with a couple of kids and seemed to connect a bit with one but she said that she feels “irrelevant”. These kids have known each other for a long time and  they have their groups set, and they don’t reach out for new people.

I have felt like this as an adult when I have gone to Churches.

I remember the first day at a Church that I stayed at for 8 years. I went to service and during coffee or “fellowship hour” I stood alone drinking my coffee. I was about to leave and never come back and I heard the laugh of a man, which for some reason made me want to come back. I gave it another chance and then I met this man. He was truly one of God’s. I stayed for 8 years because of him.

Anyway, I reminded Heaven that what she was experiencing was what so many people in our community are experiencing or feeling about the  Church, like they don’t belong. I said that is why we are who God created us to be, because we are to speak for the oppressed because we have been oppressed. I asked her if she was going to be able to make it the whole weekend and she said “yes, she was staying”.

I am so proud of her. I don’t know what God has planned, but she still has 21 hours to go. I am sure He will use this for her to speak to the broken, whether here at home or there at the retreat.

I see this as one of the problems with the Church, we are supposed to be the most accepting and loving people because we are supposed to know what the cross meant more than anyone else in this world. We are supposed to know what being “loving” is more than most. Yet my daughter who loves the Lord is sitting alone.

The cross happened for the hurting and oppressed, yet the enemy has used their shame to keep them from it. Jesus came for us sinners who know we are sinners. The broken community accepts that they do wrong, which is better than those who have it all and yet don’t think they sin enough to be rejected by God.

So many in the Church reinforce this by rejecting those who need it most.

I just asked Heaven at 6pm if she is hanging out with friends and she said “no”. That means 5 hours later she still hasn’t been brought into a group other than the mandatory small groups.

God, I pray that the ones who don’t know you yet realize that the Church building shouldn’t be taken as the example of you. There truly are few who are on the narrow road and I pray that you use those who are on it, to reach the broken in order to see they are accepted.

I pray that you teach my daughter what she is supposed to know from this experience. I pray that you don’t let her turn from the Church because of this experience.

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What does it mean to produce fruit? Lesson through a potato…

John 15:4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.I have brought up the topic of whether you can choose of your own free will, to deny Christ and lose your Salvation once you have already been born again. 

I see this Scripture as God saying “IF you remain in me, I will remain in you”. If we could never turn from Him then why would He even say this?

I believe that we can turn from God because we have “free will” to do so. I am not saying it would be easy but I believe it is possible. I believe that is why God gives us these Scriptures, so that we aren’t blind to the possibility and we work toward producing fruit in order to become more like Him. It is much harder to turn away from yourself.

So many people say “no, it is not possible” because Jesus died on the cross and if we believe that then His grace is enough. Seems so simple, yet our God is not a simple God.

I believe that we are to produce fruit as it says in Scripture. Many believe that this means to just say sorry for the wrong you have done and ask God to forgive you. Again, very simple.

When I bring up the Scriptures that actually say “Those who stand firm until the end will be saved” I have cozy comforting Scriptures brought up in rebuttal, yet nobody can share anything deep with me, proving their view. They say “it is Scripture, what else is needed”? However, what I show is also Scripture.

Others accuse me of being legalistic. Yet, I have known the cross and God’s Grace probably deeper than most of the people telling me I am wrong, because of how broken I was. I believe that is why I cling to God and take Him so seriously. I was so broken it hurt so bad, when I accepted His help my life was transformed so drastically, I was transformed inside my soul so drastically, that I can’t help but to take Him at His Word.

God says we are to produce fruit or be thrown in the fire. As I have truly repented and turned back to God I have become stronger and bolder. I have seen that I have worth and have actually become very wise in the way I deal with others. Only God could have changed me in these ways.

I asked God to give me more clarity on producing fruit, I asked if it’s really as simple as saying sorry and asking forgiveness.

While I was peeling potatoes He taught me a lesson. That’s God for you, never wasting a thing.

I bought some regular brown potatoes and I started to scrub them, trying to get off the filth. God showed me that I can scrub the surface as hard as I want but I will never get out the pesticides or bad stuff, that was deeply embedded into the whole being of the potato.

That potato remained in that bad soil long enough to become bad even though we can’t see the bad with the naked eye.

We can say sorry and ask forgiveness every time we sin, but to really get into the depth of it and produce fruit we need to let God into the inner places of our hearts and souls, so that He can change us and help us to truly repent. This is the only way to get the inner filth cleaned out and become more pure like Jesus.

We then become more like Him, we take on our Father’s character as His children. We become stronger and this to me is what we need in order to endure hard situations and never turn from Him because of our weakness.

Many say this is depending on works because I am depending on my actions to help me endure, but then I can say that you believe the same because you are depending on your decision of accepting Him in the first place for your Salvation.

None of us could have accepted Him without Him opening our eyes and I don’t believe anybody can endure the end times without becoming like Him by producing true “fruit” now.

To just ask forgiveness is going through the motions.

Just like all the people who have said they accepted Christ with their mouths, yet there is no proof in their lives. They went through the motions.

Are you going through the motions of Salvation or are you working out your Salvation with fear and trembling?

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The dangers of New Years resolutions!!!

It is sad to me that people see New Years Day as a time of hope, a chance to make resolutions to be a better person this year.

The fitness clubs busiest times are January and February because people decide they are going to get into shape this year. But it dies down again in March because people have made a resolution without putting a plan in place.

Do people really think they can make a major change in their lives without putting a plan in place, getting support, and taking it small steps at a time, just because the year changed? Does that really seem realistic?

I think of New Years resolutions as another way for the enemy to set people up for failure, ultimately causing them to feel even worse about themselves, making them become even worse people because of their bitterness from their failure.

I am so grateful that I have Christ, everyday is New Years, another chance to take those steps toward being a better person with His strength and guidance.

God taught me a great lesson today. He taught me that I have been focusing on “Victory” in a way that is setting me up for failure and more struggling.

I think many of us see victory as completing or becoming perfect in a certain area and until that is completed there is no victory in our lives.

But if we took all of our big goals and actually planned out small steps to move toward them and then took it one step at a time, we would experience many victories throughout the year.

So if I were to make a resolution today it would be to write out my goals and the steps toward attaining them in order to celebrate every little victory or step I take.

The best part is that if we do get stuck, God’s grace is there to give us endless chances so that we don’t give up and feel as though we are defeated.

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Have Christians turned the Church into a building?

Matthew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Since I have found Christ I have had this strong desire to walk along side the broken to help them to find God and be transformed.

The only way to succeed in this is by having people from the body give of their time to individuals who aren’t ready to step into a church building.

It seems like it is so hard to get others to see this point.

One example from Scripture that would back up this idea is….

Ecclesiastes 4:12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

I truly believe that even as true believers we need each other to overcome things in life and to be strong enough to do so.

We have a purpose no matter where we are in life. It is not only the recipient that has something to gain.

Yes, God can do it all himself but He chooses to have us form relationships and to work together.

Some obstacles that I see within the body are…

1. There are to many steps and to many people to go through just to get a need or message out into the congregations. I tried to do this on my own for a couple years.
2. Some Leaders say that they are very protective over their people and their time
3. Some leaders don’t want to overwhelm their people with opportunities that need to be met outside of the building.

First of all, where in Scripture does it say that the Church is a building? Are we to be segregated by the views we have on topics such as Baptism, which comes down to Religion?

Second, where does it say that the body needs to be protected by the opportunities God provides to others?

I believe that the Church has become a building that is segregated and protected.

When you say Church to people, most of them automatically think of a building. It doesn’t matter if they are saved or not, that is the common thought.

When God told Peter that he would use him to build his Church I don’t believe that He meant the Catholic building or denomination. I believe that God meant He would bring His children together on the Rock or Foundation of Jesus Christ to serve His Purpose, which is our Purpose.

Yet church buildings seem to have set the stage, which would mean people have set the stage for the definition of Church.

Is it not true that God’s children are being used so much to keep buildings running that they don’t have time to do what they are truly called to do within their communities and this world?

Would you be comfortable with standing in front of the Lord to tell Him that you kept a building funded and running? A building that many are not comfortable with approaching?

Would you be comfortable to explain to God why you thought it was your job to withhold information/opportunities from His congregation that could have been part of their purpose?

A building is not God’s Church.

People are his Church and if there were more people willing/or knowing to walk outside of the building to help those outside of the walls, what transformation could take place?

If we took more of our time, the time we put into making a building run smoothly, into individuals who might not be ready for the building, what would be accomplished for God’s purpose?

I am one of those people who think that a Church should be simple and basic so that it does not become the focus or Idol of God’s people. Maybe in a tent or an individuals home?

So I challenge you to think about the time you put into a building and challenge you to think about what could happen if we put more focus on the individuals around us.

 

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Lord, where are your people?

I am so distraught over the church today.

I work for a ministry where we try to bring the body together to help the community around them, to love on others who need help, earn their trust, and change their view of the church and God.

We had a client who’s husband is a vet in a nursing home and she needed help loading a truck in Round Lake Park and unloading in Waukegan because they have to move because her and her granddaughter are disabled and receiving no money from disability as of yet.

We put the word out to 21 churches and over 600 individual Christians. We had 2 older gentlemen offer to help. We showed up at 9:30 to do this ourselves. We did a great job and got most of their belongings out on their lawn and then we had to leave. We are spent and can’t go any further.

I feel horrible for these women and small children, I can feel their despair. What now????? How are they going to load a truck and unload a truck on their own?

Where is the church???? I understand its the weekend but if we had enough people show up we could have had that whole loading job done within an hour or two.

I really understand why people say that the church doesn’t care. It is times like this that is confirmed to me.

I just don’t understand…..

I feel like I just evicted these women out into the street.

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I just wanted you to know…

I really miss you today…

You were/are my best friend, the only one who understood my talk about me, life, and “Christians”.

I wish I could talk to you today but I can’t.

I pray you are following what God wants for you and that you are putting the effort into following Him and the steps in your path.

Remind me to tell you about our fundraiser breakfast today…

And the potential of my future with being an Executive Director down the road…

Anyway, I know there was a reason for this break and we will see in March what is left. All I know for sure is God is amazing and no matter what, we both have a purpose and a person for the future…

See that is what life is all about, our purpose and the path God has for us.

We were created by a God who loves us and died for us (Jesus) and He only wants the best for our lives. We have this idea for what is best for us but then we fail over and over again. Yet the minute we follow Him, from the first step, it’s like we are breathing new life and we accomplish something we never knew was possible.

We had this whole big picture of what would make us happy and then as we follow Him this picture might change and we are so full of Joy we don’t think we could handle another minute of it. We just want to scream out to the world that Jesus is King and He knows best if we just take that step of Faith.

Anyway the point is that we will talk again and I pray we have so many things to tell each other about what God has done. Although we may feel right now, that we want to talk, in 6 months it will be so much better no matter what.

Sweet dreams my friend…

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It hurts to do the right thing….

Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

When I started a relationship with God in 2010 I went in with both feet. I ran after Him and the things that He wanted me to do in order to become the person He created me to be.

When we live our lives on our own making our own decisions and experiencing so much pain because of them, we become someone we weren’t meant to be. We have walls up that weren’t meant to be there. It is impossible to experience a fully intimate relationship when you have a guard up. You live a lifestyle that isn’t really yours. That lifestyle comes from numbing/ignoring the pain and living around it in order to hide it from the world and yourself.

I was doing really good letting God heal me and as I did I became stronger and walls went down. But the last year I have started to put a wall up with God again and had started to fall back into old patterns. I felt the distance between us and knew He was telling me to do certain things, yet I ignored Him because I didn’t want to listen.

The things He wants me to do are stop any addictions and to break off my relationship of 4 years. These are things that bring me temporary comfort and help me to just survive enough to make it through everyday. The reason I started to fall back into these comforts is because God has taken me into healing my deepest pain. It is scary to face that again and to let it go. But as I do I become stronger and see a little more of who I actually am. I am meeting myself for the first time in many ways. I like this new person but it takes sacrificing the person I thought I was for so long.

Anyway, I have been in this relationship for 4 years and it has been pretty dang good. Although we are both unhealthy and have healing to do, it was a relationship with a lot of love and compassion. Yet there is a co dependency because I know that no matter what he will accept me and love me. If I fail at being this new person he will stay. God helped me understand though, that when you want a healthy relationship you need two healthy people in order to attain that.

So I talked with him last night and shared this and he agreed and understood, another reason why I have loved him for so long. We know we both have work to do with God and healing, moving toward finding our real selves even more.

It still hurts though. We will grieve for a time but I know we will become stronger people because of our obedience to the LORD.

God tells us to do hard things because he wants us to live a full life. He has never once had me do something that didn’t benefit me, that didn’t protect me.

As I was crying on the way home last night He reminded me of the verse above and I truly believe that promise because I have already experienced it a few times in my walk with Him. I know that if we stay the desires of each others hearts God will reunite us one day but only if we delight in Him first. Because if we delight in God first then we will be healthy people for each other.

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