Manufacturing Love

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“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” 1 Corinthians 13 vs. 1-7

I’ve not just been running on empty, I’ve been doing things that shock me. Things that I never would have done if I had been coming close to Jesus and His love.

I feel empty and tired. Funny thing is, I also feel enlightened. Seeing how I have always been taught and been driven by the “you need to love because God is love” teaching.

Well, I can’t love. I don’t have it in me. I don’t want to love because it’s what I’m supposed to do. I want to love because I’m contented in love.

My life isn’t going to get any better if I continue this way. It’s weighing me down. It’s making me a miserable person.

Pray for me. I’m trying to just curl up and be loved right now by Jesus so that all my walls can melt down and my ulterior motives and plans of how to survive the next few weeks can be lost in the reality of His love and provision.

Verse 12 of 1 Corinthians 13 says this: “12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.” That’s me. I’ve let the mist make my decisions. I’m tired of striving. How often we think we’re free of the striving!! I’m not, anyway. I just want to see clearly. The One who is the true Reality has to break through to me today, and I know He can. My only job today is to be still and let Him.

“We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.” C.S. Lewis

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no time. what a mess.

I have no time.

No time to sit in the quiet and think. No time to put my head down on my desk and be.

No time for stillness.

So you come to me in the night. When my mind won’t shut down. When the baby is in bed with us. When they are in deep sleep and I am staring at the darkness as they snore.

What I’ve done…

I think, I know, I’ve lost myself. Who I was. The quest for goodness. For holiness. I’ve thrown it aside like a used towel. And I haven’t the desire to look back or pick it up.

So here I am. And here you are.

What you said… What you showed me…

When I wasn’t even asking you to, I wasn’t even praying. Or maybe I was.

Just trying to survive. And I took it into my own hands. And you loved me deeply. And you still do. And I’ll probably make the same decision again and it scares me… but I’m okay about it too.

Why don’t they teach this stuff on Sundays? I’m still loved. You still speak. I hope – I don’t want my heart to grow cold to you. I always thought it was all or nothing but I’m human and today, I can’t give you all. I gave some of myself away to the need that we had because I honestly don’t know how to receive from you. Is there a secret you’re keeping? Or maybe I’ve been taught inaccurately about this too. Expectations and things that I don’t understand.

Disappointed in myself, but not beating myself up. Surviving. Yet, you revealed love and dreams and your presence. I’m confused, but blessed.

I love you.

(I listened to this last night, before you showed up strong. It reminds me of what I’m sharing: http://vimeo.com/18884039)

 

 

Beautiful, beautiful love!!

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“With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.

The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us……

…..So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!”

(Romans 8)

Creating

I LOVE CREATIVITY!!!!

I recently watched Flea’s induction speech into the rock and roll hall of fame. For some reason I’ve always liked him. When I heard the passion, love and heart that he has it moved me deeply. He said he prays every night to uplift the people he plays for, to love them and to give them the best that he has. That it’s his life’s mission. And music… It’s a burning desire in him. He said he is lost in it when they are playing, he is one with everything, and in that moment he is truly free.

Do you hear it? It’s pure unadulterated passion. Its something inside him that he must do. It brings out beauty and life and vibes and those great, great Chili Pepper tunes. It courses through him, and when I heard him giving the speech I felt it coursing through me.

I think that living out of passion and purpose enables others to begin to desire and live in theirs.

As many of you know, I love Vincent van Gogh. Passion and purpose coursed through him… And let loose on the world through his hands, his paints and his heart. He was a missionary before he was a painter, but he was always an artist. He once wrote, “I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” He was made to love people. His eyes translated what he saw into works that still move us all these years later. I think it was in a letter to his brother Theo that he said, “Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painters soul.”

In his words I hear it again. The echo of the eternal being expressed through someone’s purpose, through their passion.

I am searching to find out what my purpose is. What am I made to do?What ignites me inside more than anything else?

I believe I will find it. I believe we will find it. I don’t know how, but I am searching to engage with the passions that have been put into me from the moment of my creation.

I see my generation seeking and finding. Not buying in to how it is supposed to be or “how it has to be”. The “that’s life” kind of attitude. It is no wonder, in these times, that we deal with such depression. Depression, for me, always comes when I feel I am without direction, all alone in my struggling and suffering, without purpose and void of a way to give my love away and receive love in turn.

We’ve got to reset our sights on what God really made us for. He made us to live! Not just to exist!

Dang! It feels good to get that all out!

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Hiding

I’m in that kind of mood these days… Hiding away, thinking a lot, digesting what I read and hear, not having much to say out loud about it. It’s all rolling around me inside, totally alive, but outwardly quiet.

I read a friends post about isolation recently and it so clicked with me that it’s been in the forefront of my thoughts for several days. So freeing to be taken aside through isolation (spiritually). Maybe “taken aside” isn’t the correct description because I don’t feel that I’ve come off the path in this journey. I feel that I’m looking for and finding Jesus.

So many political things I could have been throwing out views on. So many religious views to debate. So many days just slogging through the work day. So many magical moments of encounters with God and people within all of these issues and viewpoints and boring old days.

My main recent decision? I’ve decided that every person is loved by Jesus and that their path to Him will look very different to mine. I don’t care if they believe in Him or not. They don’t have to measure up to my standards. Hell, if I’m honest, I don’t measure up to may standards!!! They are LOVED. And so am I.

Gay marriage? I don’t mind it. It doesn’t threaten me. I feel for them. I feel that if the Christians who truly believe its sin worked on loving those around them, straight or gay or anything in between, the world would be better off because of it. I don’t think the world, or my children, will be better off because of a debate about marriage.

Politics? I don’t have time for the power hungry. I believe politics do play a roll in these times, but not as big a roll as we give them. The undercurrents are full of the presence of God. That’s where I am choosing to look to gauge my life and times.

I’ve taken a leap off the tracks of the discussions about what church is, what should it be etc, etc, etc (thanks to a very concise and beautiful dream that gave me permission to do so!)

I still struggle in my day to day 9 to 5 job, but that’s ok for now. It isn’t heavy like it used to be. I’m hearing some things in my heart, I’m looking at a light at the end of the tunnel.

I love my friends and I miss England a lot these days. Really longing for their company, laughter, depth, and a good night out with them in an excellent pub.

I’m loved by my family and that’s just an awesome feeling. I love and enjoy my husband so much. My sons really do delight me. My parents bless me. I’m rich because of my family.

These are good days. I think it’s going to get better and better from here. I have so much to learn about everything!!!!

Wherever you are in your journey of life I hope you feel loved, I hope you have people around you who love you, and I hope you are continuing to learn to love. Without love, none of this means anything. If I can remember that, I think I’ll not waste my life. (remind me of that on the days I want to strangle my boss, ok??!!??). 😉

Take care, guys. Good night.

Raising the dead or raising the living?

Some words that have stirred my soul up tonight. From a guy named Peter Rollins.

The poet is one who helps us experience life as inscribed with a rich and sensuous texture. She helps us to call forth, confront and confirm our existence. Inviting us to find the courage that might enable us to say “yes” and “Amen” to life in the midst of its complexity and in spite of our anxiety.

In light of this we might begin to understand how a divine miracle is not something that simply raises the dead but one that is able to raise the living to a place where life is not experienced as death. For without the latter the former would appear to be nothing more than the work of an evil demon.

I guess that is why I was never that interested in gods who raise the dead. The real power lies in raising the living: something that is testified to in the act of love.

who ya gonna bust on then?

I’ve had two experiences lately that have made me think and ask a certain question.

The first is that this week I’ve read a couple of 2012 prophetic words sent out by people who have certain things on their hearts to share. These are not weird freaks, these are people I trust who are just people who love God.  On the flip side, I read the following on this dude’s facebook page… I’m friends with this guy on fb, but I don’t know him. He’s some author guy who I have found to have very thoughtful and profound things to say at times. Here’s a bit of what was posted on his page in the last few days:

Let us begin by clarifying that this is not a “prophecy” for the New Year. We find most such prophecies troubling, because God does not operate on the basis of our subdivisions of time. Not being confined to this time-space world, a day is as a thousand years—and a thousand years are as a day. The more we grow up into Him, the less we will concern ourselves with such “prophecies.”

Since we’ve already gone to meddling, let us continue in this “rant” for a few more moments.
Most prophecies having to do with dates and seasons, “shifts” in the spiritual atmosphere, etc., seem to us to come primarily from those who desperately need a new season or a new shift for reasons of self-interest.[1] They often favor certain geographical locations. There is a prideful propensity to make our town the most important town in God’s heart.

Now, first of all, I find them a bit negative and, to be honest, a little bit condescending to people who do hear from God and experience life in the ways that they are speaking against.  So, hmmmm…

The second experience I’ve had is hearing an American preacher who apparently lives in London and has podcasts on the web.  I listened to one or two of his podcasts this week while sitting at my desk at work.  Their church seems to be alive and open. However, he said something during one particular teaching about how you shouldn’t just sit around and be drunk on God, but should go out and get a job and prepare yourself for what God wants to do in your life (that is my paraphrase of what he said, not a direct quote).  And, since I know people who really are wasted on God and God seems to be enjoying them, providing for them, and really loving through them, I found what the pastor said a bit sad.

So, after these two experiences this week I want to ask the non-2012 prophecy guys and this pastor, what if you’re all right?  What if you hear God the way you hear God? What if the more mystical find God in a more mystical way? What if you were supposed to go out and train for the vocation God said He wanted you in and what if they mystics are supposed to soak and savor?  Who ya gonna bust on then?

It all seems a bit odd to me because these are the ones who teach that we need to make room for the new. Get out of the old mindset. Yet, I hear them being closed or critical to the unknown, the uncomfortable, the less cerebral and the more mysterious.

I’m going to post the rest of that non-prophetic post below.  It kind of makes me sad.  I don’t have the mystical experiences like the guys I know do, but I’m open to God coming to me in that way and I have seen an angel or two myself with my eyes wide open, and smelled Jesus and felt the literal hot fiery love of His presence in the car on the bridge leaving Wales and going back into England. I could list numerous things here that are not logical. Yet, I believe some who haven’t had experiences like those could and indeed do love Jesus and know Him.

Seriously, those who preach to be open to what’s new sometimes shut it down without even realizing it. Or maybe they aren’t that open?

I haven’t posted the names of the pastor/church I’m speaking of or of the three men who submitted the 2012 post I’ve mentioned. I don’t think that would be in the right spirit of things… yet, I do wish I could say what I’ve said here to them. In love. Why? I believe it’s the truth, that’s why.  And I also believe it is why we become tired and jaded.

However, I’m going to keep my heart bowed down to Jesus and my eyes on Him because He brings me massive hope and satisfaction.  These past few weeks have been brutal in so many ways, but so peaceful thanks to Jesus.

Here is the rest of that post I mentioned up above:

To the new covenant creation, Jesus is our “Portal,” the Open Door, the Way, into the heavenlies. We need no other. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is everywhere all the time! While there remains a significant place for prophets (in the foundation, along with apostles), their role was radically changed in a moment, an instant, on the day of Pentecost when Jesus returned in the person of the Holy Spirit to fill and abide in His church, forever. God now speaks by Him!

Those who are waiting for Him to do something dramatic need to understand that He is waiting for us to do something, in particular:

Come into New Covenant order
Be led by the Spirit
Become disciples
Grow up
Take on responsibility
Fit together with others
Find our identity in Jesus, our function in His body

Questions: Would not such an agenda glorify God and fulfill His purpose? Would not such an agenda extend His kingdom on the earth? Would not such an agenda promote a dramatic response from heaven?

God has chosen to not function in isolation from His creation. He has willed us to be co-laborers with Him in bringing the kingdom from heaven to earth. If we are waiting for a divinely produced cataclysmic occurrence while we neglect to follow the obvious commands He already has given us, we will continue to regard every cloud formation, every earthquake and every windstorm as a sign of the times.

Embracing these challenges will go a long way toward pleasing God and fulfilling His purpose in 2012. We should get a lot more excited about finding and fulfilling our purpose in Christ than in chasing gemstones and angel feathers.

The fullness of Christ in us, together, the hope of glory in the earth, is our New Year’s resolution.

If we pursue the practical, we will experience our share of the mystical. If we pursue the mystical, 2012 will be no different than 2011, or the years before that.

Truth spoken in love,

there are no words for this, so I don’t have a title

I no longer believe that I have to give to receive!!  The lies in my head and my being are being lifted off of me and broken to pieces today!!  I don’t know how to do anything and it’s glorious!!!!!! Freedom in Christ IS free! He has done it all for me.  I’m gulping down God today and I have no more effort to expend. My weakness is His his glory. These scriptures! I have read them and heard them yet never seen. Today, I’m getting free and the scriptures are letting me in on the reality of His secrets that He wants to burst out of every body living… WE ARE FREE. WE ARE HIS. WE ARE SITTING WITH HIM IN HEAVEN. HAVING A PARTY. LAUGHING. JOYING. Not figuring things out. Not worrying. Not knowing the ending. Just living fully!!

I don’t know, not even today. I don’t. I’m not crazy. I’m getting free… in my kitchen, in my living room, it’s more than God being present in me. The reality that He is revealing is that that I am in Him. And right now, loving Him is more like a party. Hard days used to bring me into having a sort of wake. You know, sadness, “Oh God, why??” Trying, trying, trying, trying.

Not today (and forward from here, I pray! I praise!). That’s too heavy. I can’t do that anymore. Singing and dancing and laughing and listening and, well, let’s just say now I understand how the disciples could be mistaken for being drunk that time the Holy Spirit showed up in Acts!  JESUS LOVES ME AND I HAVE NOWHERE ELSE TO BE TODAY EXCEPT IN HIM.  What a blessing!!!

Oh my goodness, some of you are going to think I’m weird, especially if this posts itself on facebook, as some of my blog entries sometimes do. HA!!!!!

Lord, show your promises to me more so I can drink YOU more deeply!!!! 🙂 Fantastic days. God is real and alive and we haven’t a clue who He is. We’re so off the mark with our striving and our musings! Only Jesus could have decimated my chains and fears this way. Only Heaven could have entered my house and brought me into laughter today and then highlighted my inability to think and plan how I will do all that I need to do (or so I think!). Now, the inability is freedom and joy, not heaviness and worry.

Back to my drinking. See ya.

the beginning – part of my testimony

When I started following Jesus I was 15 or 16. A bunch of us around the same age had this realization of Jesus at the same time, so did Leslie and Matt, parents to two of our group of friends (and part of the group of friends also!). We all got into a church that soon split up. The pastor had a nervous breakdown. As a result, we were basically thrown into having to be church before it had become the post-modern mantra.

We didn’t know what the hell we were doing and it was great!  We were getting together to pray and it would last all night. We were talking to people all the time about what we believed and it didn’t matter if they believed the same thing. We were learning to love them. Learning to love each other. We had some fantastic discussions with people from different faiths who we went to school with.  We were showing up early to high school to stand outside the classrooms and pray and take ground. We were having communion in our homes with bagels and white wine in paper cups. If some of our friends were there (and they often were) who didn’t want to follow Jesus they could have communion too. We were all getting together every week at Matt & Les’s house. They would cook up a bunch of food, then we took it down to the park where all the homeless people hung out and they had food to eat that day. We brought garbage bags full of clothes for them to go through too. We sat and had a meal with them, got to know them. I still remember Paul and Sandbox to this day. I have thought of them often and my heart still loves them and wonders where they are and how they’re doing.

That is the Christianity I was introduced to.  We made a lot of mistakes.  We fought with each other and I’m sure we were overzealous many times BUT DANG!!! WE HAD LOVE.  It burned in our hearts.  At times, we were overcome more by emotions than by the Holy Spirit, but the older people around us supported us, counseled us wisely, journeyed right alongside with us.  We had conversations, not sermons.  I once had pneumonia. I remember it was terrible. I could feel the fluid making my lungs heavy. We were all at Pat and T.Y.’s house and we were praying and stuff. God told me to ask Leslie to put her hand on my chest and pray for me to be healed. She did and I was, instantly.

We took on more than we could handle one night when about 10 of us got together to pray. Someone started manifesting demonic stuff and it scared the shit out of us!! Ha! We had to run up the road to a guy who was an elder at the church. He came in and prayed with authority and it was done. He stayed and counseled us and taught us. We were shaken, and kept on praying until dawn. It was fantastic.

That is what I started with. I believe it may be different than what many people started with. That’s what I’ve known as following Jesus and I’ve never wanted less. I know there is WAY more than what we had, but I never started out with the lie that it’s “Us vs. Them”, “Christians vs. the World”.  Maybe that’s why I feel a scream rise up inside me when I go to most church services. Maybe that’s why I hate hearing teaching over and over again about how to be saved. Maybe that’s why I feel frustrated when we hang out with Christians but Jesus rarely enters the conversation… it just seems so weird to me.

When we began, it was never about works. It was always about friendship with Jesus and with each other.

Since then, I have had little glimpses of relationships like that on this journey of being Church. I hope that God carries me into deep relationships like that again with people who aren’t satisfied with having stuff and keeping to themselves. I miss it.

So, there is the beginning of my story.

tea

When it’s like this outside – freezing cold, rainy and gray – it really, really makes me homesick for England and my friends and life there.

Tonight I’m making myself a nice mug of English tea, and drinking to my time there and to my friends who I miss a lot.

I love all of them.  Sometimes I’m not sure why I had time there, but I suspect that when I get to see things from the other side of life, I’ll understand.  I’ll never regret the time I spent there and I’ll always be thankful that God told me to hop on an airplane, get off in the UK and go from there.