Friday, March 27, 2015

Being the Church

Biblical Hospitality 

I should open this by telling you that this post is the result of a situation that touched me. But I'm going to speak it clearly, this post is the result of me being ticked off  by religion. 

Not spirituality but religion. Let me give you the definition of religion I am referring too... 
     " a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance."

Religious practices can be important for us, but it does not hold supreme importance. God holds supreme importance. 

What I have seen many times and saw again today, is that we as a church can get so wrapped up in religious practices, we forget to obey the living word of God. We have conformed to worldly standards and thrown obedience out the window.

How do you and your church react to strangers/ guests? Yep, that is where I am going with this. We have our congregation  and we fellowship, have fun, sing, learn, and then return to our homes. 

What happens when someone interrupts our expectations of a special event running smoothly and we have to be burdened with the inconvenience of tending to a guest? Burden, why did I just use that word? Because that is the reaction I see and it isn't what we are called to practice. We are called to practice biblical hospitality. 

Let me hand you some verses. 

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:9 ESV)

You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:34 ESV)

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:12-14 ESV)

Is being comfortable and enjoying an evening of fellowship without an glitches more important that a precious opportunity to witness and plant seeds into a person who is unchurched and desperately seeking Christ? No, we are missing the whole point of being the church if it is.

My heart was heavenly burdened with this when I recently witnessed it.  What I am asking is for you to search your heart. Where is it at? Are you allowing yourself to be interruptible so that you can be available if someone needing salvation is put in your path? Take some time, process that question and allow yourself to become full available. God wants to use you! 

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:2 ESV)

A grateful believe in Jesus Christ 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Growth can feel destructive

There is a story I have read about a seed. It describes the seed being cracked open and the insides falling out before it begins to grow. For someone that doesn't know the process, they might look at the seed and just see destruction. 

Four years ago, I started a journey of growth. I had made a decision that my life was no longer going to continue in the direction it had been going. What I didn't realize when I made this decision was the destruction that would occur first. 

Today, there is very few things in my life that resemble my life four years ago. People, places and things have all changed. The lifestyle is not even similar. 

What happened? Well the details of what happened won't fit in a blog post, but I am sure of one thing. I sought God's will for my life and he plucked me out of chaos and placed me with purpose. For that, I am grateful. 

That process has been difficult, exhausting and lonely. But a good friend kept reminding me, "don't give up before the miracle happens". So I kept surrendering, not sure of the outcome but knowing that I could not negotiate life on my terms for one more minute. God has plans for me and I had to let God be God. Oh the miracles that did eventually come to fruition.

I wanted to share, there is another side, another place for those of us that are seeking something other than what we have been told. For those of us that wake up thinking, this can not be what my life was intended for. God can and will bring each one of us through the desert. Just like the Israelites he brought out of Egypt, he does have the ability to grant victory over any hurts, habits or hangups that may be causing us to live as slaves. 

Many of us know Jeremiah 29:11, but we also need to know Jeremiah 29:12-13.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. "
(Jeremiah 29:11-13 ESV)

 Seek God with all your heart! Have faith and give in to the process of growth, even if it looks like destruction. God will not destroy you, he wants to bring you a future and hope. 

A grateful believer in Jesus Christ,