Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A new view of Christianity

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, and a lot of praying, reading, talking, and all those other things I do when I'm reying to work things out. See, I was at District Camp this week, and I just really felt God speaking. Not just the general speaking, but direct to me speaking. Actually, it was more than speaking, it was sort of like an alarm clock going off in my spirit, waking up my soul. It was amazing and frightening at the same time.

I was thinking about how I live out being a Christian, and more than that, what Christianity really means. In one of the services I started journalling. The speaker said something along the lines of "We need a heart transplant, not just bypass surgery" and that set it off, it was as if those words explained everything that had been ringing in my soul.

God wants to change us. Becomming a Christian, getting "saved" has been simplified into a formula and perverted into nothing more than a selfish attempt to avoid judgement and pain. We comment all the time about people trying to be "good enough" to get into heaven without relying on God, and yet we use God to get into heaven. It's such a limited view of grace.

God desires more than just to save us, He desires to change us, to make us into something different. And all that work isn't just done so that we can live our lives and then get to heaven, it is done so that we can be a blessing to others, to expose them to the grace of God so that they can do the same for others. It is not about the destination, it is about the journey.

I talked with my husband about this and was shocked how hard it was. I somehow ended up doing the same thing I was fighting against. I was afraid to share what God was doing, because it wasn't "normal". I mean, yes, it's normal to want to be a blessing to others, but I'm talking about changing the way I (and many others around me) view what it is to be a Christian. The purpose, the main thing, isn't growing closer to God for ourselves, it's not just the feel good feelings of doing what needs to be done to "be a good Christian", it's taking that little bit of passion and love that we have for God and using it, nurturing it, watching it grow into something huge. It's breaking out of the mindset that this "CHristian Life" that we have is enough, because really, God's grace is bigger than that, He wants more, and we should seek after more.

After that conversation I started reading "A New Kind of Christian" (which I highly recommend), and a lot of what was happening in my soul was written there in that book, which was amazing, confirming, and just a God thing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

What it means to Hope

At church we're doing a series on hope, which is really good considering we live in a culture that doesn't hope. There are a lot of wishful thinking, but a wish isn't hope. In fact, in the middle of a wish there seems to be this little speck of doubt, this little part that says it will never really happen. That is why no one ever expects wishes to come true.
Hope is different. Hope has substance, hope says that whatever it is will happen. But the thing about hope, the thing that was said that really stuck with me is that hope isnot hope unless it is in a hopless situation. You can not say that you have hope unless you are at the end of your rope, unless all options have been tried and failed. Hope doesn't only need to survive those situations, that is the only place that hope exists.
I used to wish that my parents would change their mind about God and about religion. I say wish because, as much as I wanted it to happen, I really honestly felt like it never would. And I didn't do a whole lot about it. Now, I am hoping for it. Hope also requires action. There is no passive hope, hope dies as a person just sits and waits. It's like someone in the destert lost and calling out, hoping that someone will hear them. If they are not yelling, there is no hope.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Settling In

It feels good to unpack. For the past few weeks I have been living out of a suitcase. Now we're settled, at least for now, and it feels really good.

Sometimes I wonder if it's crazy that we're out here. This place feels like home to me, the people feel like family, and everything just feels right. Not necisarily perfect, but definately right. On the other hand, we need to get an income, a place to live perminantly, and other such things.

But I'm not worried. We were talking yesterday to a friend about how unlikely it was that all of this happened, and how easy it is to see how the hand of God was moving over the last couple of years, the voice of God calling us here. All of this is in His hands, and so it will work.

It's amazing, and strange and comfortable and exciting and everyting all at once.