Dusting off the Stories of what God has Done

God is always the same and what he did once he would do again.  God is not a respecter of persons and what he would do for one he would do for any.  These two statement encourage the hope and possibility of what God did once for someone else, he would do for me.  In saying that, something he did twenty years ago for me, he can do for you now.  So I’m walking down the memory lane of life as it is always the front page of who God still is today.  Take anything as hope of what can do for you.

  1.  I trusted God with my love life and he brought me the most amazing husband any woman could ever dream of.  As I’m writing this he is charging my cell phone for me and asking if I have water because he was going to refill it for me as I’m sitting in bed on a Saturday typing this about him.
  2.  I’ve never made over $10,000 a year in my entire adult life yet God has financed sending me to 23 different countries over the course of my life. For whatever reason, the way my heart is wired is that I feel most romanced by God when he sends me to travel somewhere. I know I couldn’t, and wouldn’t want to do anything without him sending me.
  3.   I’ve screwed up, meaning I’ve failed at something he’s asked me to do, and yet he’s never fired me, punished me, abandoned me or quit being kind to me.  Because of this I really realized the grace of God is truly a gift.  It is not earned.
  4.   God redeemed the ending of my family when we were younger.  My parents separated and both happily remarried.  My siblings are all risking love in some measure in their life.  This sometimes requires the greatest courage.  I am proud for the measure they continue to risk being known and loved despite how we’ve seen it can possibly end up.
  5.   God has given me peace.  In different seasons of life due to different things I have different measures of peace but in all of life I have a strong underlying trust in God that always imparts to me a steadfastness that I feel all the time.  Like I’m being held, or embraced, or hugged and I feel safe and sturdy.  I love God for imparting this feeling to me on an ongoing basis.
  6.   I realized through frequency to get over myself, my understanding, my ways, control, anything I would hold on to for fear or security.  From plans to stuff, he really does take care of everything and often, when I let him, way better than I could ever put things together.  Like I really am blind and dumb compared to all he sees and knows.  It is wisdom to trust him, let him lead, and put everything in his hands.
  7.   Unity, relationships, connection, obedience, service, humility, love, faith, truth, these things really are the majors in life and everything else is truly unimportant and meaningless in comparison.
  8.   I really feel like my death is in God’s hands as much as my birth was. I didn’t control my birth, God did.  In the same way, I don’t think anything is random and he knows all of the days of my life and will work out the plans and dreams he has for sending me here in the first place.
  9.   I don’t fear death in any way.  Almost daily I feel the fragility of this realm of life and time.  It is such a thin veil and my true self is timeless and in an always state.  I do not want to miss what he wants to show me and teach me and also truly enjoy the day with him as this is me loving to be alive with him.  This is living.
  10.   I feel humbled by God’s goodness and love.  I definitely don’t deserve any of it, but he shows me that I’m worthy because he says I am.  Who am I to disagree?!   😉
  11.   I thought I was going to go into tangible stories about specifics God had done for me–
  12.   Oh-my father’s transplant was an answer to prayer-he met my husband and is still alive!
  13.   And also my grandfather’s life was spared in a time where he was being killed by being given the wrong medication in the hospital but the error was found out and he became himself again to pass in peace at a later time.
  14.   Also I was filled with the holy spirit, a tangible experience in my body that overcame me that I still feel today and a way I interact with God directly spirit to spirit rather than just mind to mind, early morning alone in a gymnasium in a Lutheran church!
  15.   I received God’s forgiveness and being made right with God through what Jesus Christ suffered on my behalf on the cross, making a way for me to stand blameless and confident before God because he has made me his family and his friend.
  16.   I thought I was going to write more specific stories like the ones above, but it appears God is an active living miracle in my life.  I am so grateful to have the ability to see and breathe and feel and taste and express myself and sit in peace and have freedom.  I am so thankful to share life with my husband and spend the passing of time in his company.

These are a few thoughts that come to mind when thinking about what God has done for me in my life.  May it be an encouragement and blessing to you.  Oh yeah – don’t waste your time overly concerning yourself with what other people think of you.  It is not your responsibility nor does it matter beyond your upright heart before the father.  Acceptance or praise of man is not the bread that that gives life but rather the word of God.  Blessings!

The Lie that Fuels the Pride of the Church

I remember when I was in the prayer and fasting peak of my life.  I prayed with authority, knew more bible verses than I ever had, probably had the least amount of joy in my life and that’s when God cut me with his words.

I will share a little background with you to help understand what he said to me.  I know a man who has been a drug addict since he was 14 years old.  He engaged in promiscuous sex,  began dealing drugs, was in and out of courtrooms and almost killed himself through driving while super strung out on drugs…three times.  He was my age.

God said to me in that little prayer room where I was giving up my life serving the poor, “I love him as much as I love you.”  You might think this would have been a comfort, but I tell you, it was an offense.  I had been taught by leaders in the church that God held a special place for people like me, the good ones.  That he loved the saint more than the sinner.  I didn’t notice the arrogance towards others that crept in under this teaching.  I believed I truly was better than those other people.  That is what I believed.  And that is the lie that God wanted to root out of me.

There is sometimes a stench that comes in religious environments and its the stench of pride.  When people move in the power of God or feel his presence or know his word or obey his commands, sometimes there is a smelly lie that accompanies this that we have earned his favor.  That we deserve it.  We are no longer like those unreligious secular commoners, we are the fingers of God and deserve the better than them.  Surely we are better.


I can feel the slithering feeling of these garments of pride even now as I imagine it.  Even now as I remember it.  This is the stench the world hates.  And let me tell you, it is also the stench Jesus hates.

Jesus did not separate himself.  He did not pride himself on his spotlessness.  He did not cast judgment, nor condemnation.  The thing he openly rebuked is what I have written about above and it was alive and well in the reigning religious order of the time.  There will be offense in heaven and it won’t be at God as a terrorist, it will be at God as a merciful king.

Teaching parables, “I will pay the wages I want,” he says as he pays someone who barely worked at all the same amount as the one who worked the hardest, causing offense at all of their efforts.  “Let me give everything I have to my careless son,” he says to the offense of the dutiful, obedient, older brother.  “Cast the first stone,” he invites to the guilty condemners of a whore, leaving them with nothing left to throw.

God is offensive.  His love is offensive.  His generosity is offensive.  His mercy is offensive.  Get ready to be offended by God, not by his judgment but by his mercy.  No one has earned his love.  No one deserves his favor.  No one has maintained their own innocence.  No one in Christ is treated as they deserve, they are only ever treated as Christ deserves and nothing less.

God the father didn’t wait for your life to change before you were worth dying for.  No, it was the other way around.  He wanted to correct me that his love truly is free to all right now in full, not just to those who climb the religious ladder.

God doesn’t love in part, love is who he is and we are his dream.  All of us.  We get to treat all people with dignity whether or not they have forgotten it.  We aren’t invited by God to love every kind of person because he asks us to, we are invited to love every kind of person because they are worthy of it because his shed blood says so.

God wanted me to see that nothing I had of him was ever earned of my religious efforts, therefore none of him could ever be taken away from me.  All of my religious-performance-self was offended.  God loves the man I mentioned in the beginning of this piece as much as he loves me still to this day.    Maybe one day we all will believe this and then the world will truly recognize followers of Christ by their love.

Judgement Free Living??

I heard a quote from somebody on you  tube last summer that I’ve never heard said before.  They said, “I never judge anybody.”  Whether or not this was true, the audacity of a person to live with the conviction of never judging anybody was still admirable.  It was like a thought that was too impossible to believe but upon hearing it was like a new air I wanted to keep breathing.

This may sound like an overly simple topic for Jesus himself said, “Do not judge.”  Pretty straight forward.  But for a human person other than Jesus himself to casually dialogue as if that reality was possible was entirely heavenly.

The world would play us on a string to have us do just the opposite.  Compare, condemn, divide, get defensive, get offended, react, live in opposition and controversy.  It is “cool” to be opinionated and not close minded.  The idea of not judging is cool but is often in reality partial as it stands in harsh condemnation of very judgmental religious institutions, therefore nullifying their non-judging stance.

But to really, I mean really, have the perspective in life that you have never walked in anyone else’s shoes, you have never lived their life, felt what they’ve felt, and been forced to make the decisions they have, never, for anyone, other than yourself.  Yet all of us undoubtable stand in judgment of some “other,” some “wrong” individuals in our perspective.

Here’s what this does: it only hurts ourselves.  When we stand in judgment of someone, of some hatred of act or word, whether based on politics, crime, color, or creed, we are smothering our own nature that was created in God’s image to love.  It suffocates our joy.

When we make snap judgments at news headlines and video clips we diminished our capacity for understanding and compassion.  He deny our role in helping where there is possible hurting need.  We remove ourselves from another’s humanity.

And what that does is deny the Christ that is living in every person.  Whether you agree with someone or not, whether you would have theoretically made differently choices than they have, they are still a living, breathing creation of God.  His life is breathing through them and he is experiencing life through what they experience, the good and the bad.  Nothing nullifies the value Christ’s death and resurrection has given all of humanity.  ALL OF HUMANITY.  Especially our enemies, especially those different from us.

Do not hurt yourself, do not deny your true nature as an origin of love, by judging another, by condemning them, by withholding your grace.  Do not suffocate the breathe of love that lives within you.  If you try and not judge, I will not try to judge either.  God bless.

No Man’s Land. Life Beyond Church

I wanted to write about this subject three weeks ago but am just getting around to it now.  This subject is “unbiblical” to the conventional Christian.  There is no life beyond church they would say.  I have even heard people within the church call people who have left their church “bastards.”  Yet here is where so many people find themselves.  And so… I write.

I am not going to spend time here defending this topic, I am going to go right into writing about it.  I remember asking God about his body, the church years ago which began a 15-year journey of seeing the ins and outs of church creation, growth, development, leadership, failure, hypocrisy, glory, strength, and blessing.  If the church were a closet full of clothing, I have worn almost every outfit in different seasons where I felt God leading me through relationship with people.

And yet I find myself, and other people I both respect and would call people of great faith, outside of regular church participation at the moment.  I will not group these people into people who are rebellious, hurt, bitter, or prideful.  These are beautiful, servant-hearted, prayerful, joyful, faithful, creative children of God.

So why do we find ourselves here in this field of spirituality beyond where the paved road ends?  Could there even be purpose in this?  God of course lives within the walls of his church but I think he is also moving his body, his people beyond not only church walls, but Christian culture.  There are so many people who carry the love of God and the ways of his kingdom into so many places; the home, business, arts, media, entertainment, education, etc.

Can I be a Christ follower without walking in American church culture and vocabulary? Of course I can. I hope we are sharing God’s culture, how he loves us and sees us, with people and nations.  I’d like to make the argument that this can happen 100% outside of meetings and buildings set aside for this purpose.  People can experience hearts and homes of heaven.

I don’t think there is necessarily a wrong reason that people have quit participating in a church regularly.  I do think there is a fullness of God’s people operating as a kingdom of priests as he originally intended.  His children have full union with the father.

Church family commitment is like marriage, you get involved because of what you have to give, what you have to offer, not what you have to get from it, or how they can serve you.  Community is beautiful and I think this can be found outside of a church governing structure and weekly scheduled meetings.  But…

What I’m seeing even more of is people who are very much on relative islands of preparation and intimacy right now.  Little pockets of service and relationship more based solely out of energy spent on building/maintaining healthy family relationships.  I do think it’s beautiful when the role of a mother and father are one and the same as the pastor and priest.  That discipleship and family are one and the same with no definitive line between the love of God and the love of family.

Not being understood and being judged is a regular occurrence of life and I’m being reminded over and over again to not care what other people think.  Especially people who care more about what my life looks like rather than wanting to hear my personal experience.

Being outside of a church structure doesn’t mean we quit learning about God as we live life with him.

I just wanted to write a bit of encouragement to those who find themselves in no man’s land.  Or not operating in the fullness of their giftings at whatever church they find themselves in.  You are not broken, you are not failing, and you have not been ‘taken out of ministry.’

God is so much bigger than our little religious mindsets of what freedom and spirituality look like.  He grows things inside of us we don’t even know need growing and often times they have nothing to do with external appearances.  Although God is in religious meetings every week, he is just as much at the dinner table, in the nursery of your house, at the grocery store, and in your office.

I love that the presence of the awareness of God is naturally felt at all hours in all places.  Our existence is one with his.  You are the church my friend, you couldn’t leave who you are.  You are his temple and the only building he cares about.  He’s never left the meeting of your life and God is not finished being in love with us wherever we are, whatever season we find ourselves in.  Joy is in his house, in his bride, and in his family.  Blessings to you, all the beautiful sons and daughters of God who find themselves in No Man’s Land.