Monthly Archives: October 2009

Life takes strange turns sometimes…..

My Sister in the Lord has touched on an issue that many in the body of Christ can identify with and the move of getting back to simplicity of the Gospel of Christ and faith.

Life takes strange turns sometimes….

I’ve attended the same small close knit church for 30 years. I was a young single mom when I first started attending this small fellowship that started out meeting in a home. Here I learned the practical walking out of the gospel and was mentored by several different families and sometimes by those even younger but more mature than I was. As a young Christian the Lord drew me to this group who loved me and my young son unconditionally. I knew I was at the place God wanted me to be and I was content because I had found a family who not only loved me but who loved God and served Him with their whole hearts.

This past week I attended the funeral for the wife of one couple that was so instrumental in the early days of my Christian walk. It fills me with sadness on one hand to see these men and women who gave so much of their time and energy and wisdom to a group of us that so needed their help pass on. But then I remember how much rejoicing must be going on in heaven today as loved ones are reunited and for the first time in a long time are feeling no pain. You may be gone Bud and Ruth and Bud and June but your memory lives on in our hearts. And we are eternally grateful for your giving of yourself to a younger generation that included myself.

Today, I am no longer attending that small fellowship as over time what we started out as has changed into something unrecognizable. Sometimes in the process of growth, we forget the Lord is the head of the House and I believe when that happens the Lord just steps back and waits. Why? Maybe to see how long we can continue on without Him? Maybe to bring us back to a place of simplicity. Back to where we first started at. Because when I first started this walk, I knew how desperately I needed Him in my life. How desperately I needed His love and mercy and forgiveness and mostly how desperately I needed His Presence with me. And I knew how important it was to surround myself with brothers and sisters who would love me even when I messed up and who would always be there for me but who would also love me enough to hold me accountable to changing those things in me that were displeasing to the Lord. What was different about me in the early days of my walk with the Lord? I was desperate.

This morning as I sat in a new church I was thinking how I have now come full circle. Am I happy about it? No, but I have matured over the years enough to realize God will begin to cause us to become discontent with our life when we begin to put other things ahead of making Him the Head of all things. That includes our personal lives and our church life both. Sometimes God brings us back full circle and it is for our own good. I feel like for the past several weeks and months I have drifted. Drifted from one church to another trying to find something elusive. Feeling like I never really fit in. Like I was missing something. I believe God was allowing me to come once again to the place I was at 30 years ago. To a place where I allowed myself to wait upon Him and allow Him to lead me where He wanted me to go. To once again become desperate.

This morning I realized what coming full circle really means. God is bringing me back to what I once had. Bringing me back to the simplicity of the gospel. It’s not about the place you worship in. It’s not how big or how many people attend there. It’s not the kind of music you play. It’s not about the denomination you attend. It’s not about how wonderful a youth program you can build. It’s not about things. And too many times we forget that.

It is all about having a relationship with the Creator of the universe on a personal level. It is all about walking out that relationship with others who want more than anything else to serve a living God. It is about love. About loving one another and loving the lost and the hurting just as our Heavenly Father loves. It is about realizing time is short, the harvest is ready and the workers are few. It is about praying Thy Kingdom Come , Thy will be done…..

Remember the first Bible verse you ever memorized? Mine was “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosover believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

Oh, to get back to the simplicity of the gospel. I’m on a journey and that’s where I’m headed!

Do nothing out of selfish ambition

God truly sends blessings along the way of life’s journey and I can think of three Christian men who I would consider diamonds to me personally. One of those blessings to me is a gentleman well into his 70’s. In my studies of authentic New Testament faith and practice I have sought his advice out and he has been so generous to correspond and to dialog with me in seeking out answers. But he has also been so gracious never making me feel belittled and has shown honor and concern for my family.

Another gentleman that I have known for years, who discipled me in the beginning of my years of ordination and who I seek counsel from today as a spiritual father. He has always been there for me speaking to me the things that I needed to hear sometimes stern, but mostly words of encouragement. His guidance is priceless and there are few words adequate to express my gratitude for this relationship.

But my former Pastor Bud & his dear wife Ruth Curtis who have now passed on into the presence of God to receive their crown of glory who discipled Denise and I , I can only hope that when we are in our older years we can express the same care , encouragement and pleasure of blessing the next generation of men and women of God.

Each of these relationships never lorded over me their prestigious positions, titles or wealth of experience but has taken the role of servants. With generosity they have expended their lives for the betterment of the body of Christ.

Romans 12:16 “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

So what does it mean to live in harmony with one another? The Greek word here is “phronesis”, it expresses a way of understanding or practical reasoning that has concern for another, a kind of comprehensive moral discernment.

Paul uses this same Greek word in the letter to the Philippians.

Philippians 2:2-4 (New International Version)

2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Philippians 2:5 (New International Version)

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus

The words translated “like-minded’ and “attitude” come from the same word, phronesis. Paul is saying we are to live with one another in a way that our thoughts, feelings and actions should model the character of Jesus Christ. To accomplish this we must allow the Holy Spirit to work in us humility and in doing so treat one another with the utmost respect and honor. The question arises; do we have this heart attitude to those we consider beneath us? It’s much easier to express this to those who we feel are greater or equal to our status in life, but it is my prayer that we would model Jesus Christ who emptied himself and became a servant to all.