Thursday, November 14, 2013

The "F" Word... from the Archives.

Yesterday, a wonderful friend of mine and I were sharing about our concerns and frustrations in life with each other over the phone. What we were sharing seems to be the general theme I have heard shared from many lately. It has to do with the “F” word, but not the one you might be thinking of.


Whether our failure is only perceived, or an actual gory mess that we have blundered our way into, we are all trying desperately to dodge this seemingly tenacious beast. There are times in our lives when it seems that no matter how hard we try, whether in our marriages, our families, our jobs, or even friendships we just fail.

There can be a crippling sense of shame that follows this slithering beast named failure. Paralyzing us as it wraps it tentacles around our hearts and minds, digging deep into the areas where our doubt and self worth intermingle. Like a haze of fog it clouds our views of the reality of who we are and who our God is.

The further we descend and entertain this beast the more he takes liberties with other areas of our lives and hearts. He infects us with his lies about our true nature... About whether God could really still love us. He bleeds images of our Heavenly Father shaking his head in disgust and disdain at yet another failed attempt in our life.  

Confidence can begin to crumble away like the land when it is in a drought.  Instead of running to someone for help as we begin this fall, often times the shame folds over our mouths like duct tape. We turn from the ones who love us and wander quietly away. Secretly hoping someone will notice the shadows of hopelessness overtaking the light in our eyes, but too scared to speak up.

Whatever the cause for your sense of failure; whether it’s a temptation you continually fall into; a ministry or business that has never really gotten off the ground; or you are caught in the contagious trappings of comparing yourself, your looks, your success to others… Please know this.


Stop looking down at your problems, your imperfections, and shortfalls. Stop looking down and look up.
Like a little child being bathed by their mother. She coaches her child to keep looking up as she washes the shampoo from his hair.

“Look up at me. Keep your eyes on me.”

She whispers gently to her beloved child trying to keep his head tilted upward so that the stinging soap can be safely washed away from his precious eyes. When her child is overtaken by doubt or fear and looks down, that’s when the soap pours down over his little face, stinging and burning his eyes.  What was it our mother’s told us?

“Look up.”

It works the same with our Heavenly father. He does not look at us and shake his head in disdain when we try and fail. He looks at us and coaches us in gentle whispers,

Look up. Keep your eyes on me. The enemy will try and steal your joy, but I sent my son for you to follow so that my joy could be complete in youKeep your eyes on me. It is in your weaknesses and perceived short comings where I can shine through you and do the impossible. I love you and want only the best for youYou are my child. “  

If our eyes are on Him we will see how He truly is. A father overjoyed in our open hands that may be unskilled, but when placed in His capable hands can do the amazing. When we fall, He is there whispering, “Look up my child." He offers his shoulder to lean on and His truth as our solid rock to stand on. When we repent he washes the shame away in the warm healing waters of forgiveness. He offers His shield during the attacks of the enemy and He whispers constantly, “Keep your eyes on me. This battle is mine.”

There are two stories I encourage you to look into this week, both are in Matthew 14: 15-32. Each time there was a key integral moment between human failure and the Lord doing something impossible through someone. In both situations the choices were caught between looking at the persons circumstances, and human inabilities or looking up at our Lord to what He can do with our weak hands, and diminished supplies.

Take courage my friend. 
God loves you more than you could ever imagine.
I am praying Paul's prayer for you today.

Ephesians 3:14-21
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.

Are you struggling too friend? 
How can I pray for you?

Monday, November 4, 2013

So I am going to Hell... Why can't we just be friends?

Hello my friends!

It's been a while I know... 

Life has been full of hard transitions and blessed ones as well. Even though I have not been writing here in this space I have indeed been writing. I am working on a project I have put off for too long now.
My eyes are doing very well now. (Actually better than I even expected! Thank you Lord!)

I wrote this piece months ago, but figured I should finally post it. It follows along with the theme, "Lets Talk Church," which I started in hopes of furthering discussion within the Christian church about the church. Without further ado here it is. 

This week I read a poignant piece posted by Thom Rainer. It is formulated by comments made over time from one of his readers. She cuts right to the core of some of the issues plaguing Christians today. Please take a few moments and read, 

While it's true we are called to be a witness for Christ and to be ready to give an answer for what we believe and why, there are times when I believe we miss the mark by making this our only goal. Like hunter's on the trail we seem to place bold red targets on people's hearts and then go in for the shot firing away with our Christianese-verbiage and 3 point plan tactics.

Jesus tactics though were so much simpler. His call for us was as well.

Jesus call for us, in my own simple paraphrase was, “Love God with your everything and love and treat people as you would want to be loved and treated.” Matthew 22:36-40.

While working with our teen groups over the years we have placed a heavier importance on this than any formula for witnessing. Listen more than you speak. Asking the right questions and then being an intentional listener can speak more volumes than having all the right answers. (Yes, we still teach them the deep Biblical answers.)

We challenge them to care more about the person. What are this persons concerns? What are their joys? What do you share in common? What can you learn from each other? In other words, take the target off of their head and commit for the long haul to actually be their friend.

I remember when I first learned this in high school. Before choosing to follow Christ I found myself the “project” of some well-intentioned Christians a few times. I was also on the receiving end of some of their hurtful comments etc. You know the extremely blunt, but truthful one's that they spit out of their mouths like poison,

"You're not a Christian so you are going straight to Hell!"

Yes! Now that really made me want to know more about their Christ!

And they seemed so very approachable and full of love as they said it and all... (Sarcasm anyone?)

I thank God that I also met some wonderful people who simply loved me where I was at despite my impending doom in Hell. They listened as much or more than they spoke and let me have the space to figure things out without fear inducing pressure tactics.

Their evident and heartfelt love for God kept me curious, while their open love for me gave me a safe place to wrestle with God on these issues instead of people. I assure you His Holy Spirit is irreplaceable in someone discovering God's word and plan for salvation. 

Since you already know what I eventually chose to do I will finish with a few questions. Please won't you join the discussion?

I realize everyone has a different story and experience in regards to their choice to follow Christ or to not follow Him. 

What is your experience? 

What do you think about Thom Rainer's post?