I look forward to reading your comments, suggestions and more. "As iron sharpens iron" lets grow together.
Friday, May 17, 2013
A few weeks ago I put in my blog page that I will be blogging every day for 365 days. To be honest I have been sticking with it but am going to embrace the video means now. I have been doing video casts (vodcasts) for the Sanctuary International Matrix YouTube channel. They have been receiving many hits and comments as well. To take the place of daily typing I will be posting my videos here. Many of them are at 5 minutes or less unless I get all worked up....then call me butter because I am on a roll.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
This morning started off as most mornings do in the Adams home. I wake up James at 7:45 and made my way down to Emma’s room. Emma always seems to take a bit more time to wake up. This morning however once she was up, she was jumping around and being silly. Keep in my mind my girl is only 4 years old. After telling her to settle down she insisted on jumping and being goofy. I must admit that I did laugh because she was being so goofy but deep down I knew she is going to hit something. It happened, she jumped forward and tried to jump back slipping on a shirt she left on her floor which landed her right on her butt. It wasn’t a light bump. Rather it was one you could tell had to hurt pretty bad.
I will admit there was a part of me that wanted to drive the point all parents do “see if you would have just listened to me.” However, I could tell she was hurt but did not want to cry because she wasn’t listening. All I did was stretch out my arms as I sat on the edge of her bed and she ran to my embrace. I told her it was okay to cry as it probably did hurt. That was all she needed and she let loose. After a bit of time she regained her composure and we moved on with the morning.
This is how I view our heavenly father when we do not listen and ultimately end up hurting ourself. Full of grace and compassion he loving opens his arms up to us so we may feel our father’s embrace. It is with the words “let it all out” that we begin to cry, let out our frustrations and have a moment in our father’s presence. Scripture clearly points out “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” I don’t have to expect anything but love from my Abba father when I am hurt and in need of his embrace. This is a good place to be.
No matter what we are going through we can know our father’s arms are wide open ready to embrace us.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Have you looked around in Christianity and asked the simple question “how can you live in bondage to something so freeing?” It really sounds like an odd question doesn’t it? This gospel message that we were given is something to be light and non-burdensome. When Jesus talks about taking his yoke upon us...he is literally referring to his teaching.
If something is so incredibly freeing then why do so many people live in bondage to it? You do not have to look far on Facebook before you see someone posting over and over again cliche quotes, catchy statements and scripture after scripture. What is amazingly true is the fact when you look back at all this person has posted...many of the things contradict one another. It’s as if the person making all the postings simply has no thought of his/her own. At least this is what I thought until I engaged one person in conversation.
What came out in our conversation was the fact they once lived an extreme life. When coming into the Christian scene they now live another extreme life. This made it very hard for them to find a middle ground where the true gospel is. Instead they are bound by legalism and some scripture that have nothing to do with us today. This can lead to burn out and depression rather than joy and life to the fullest as we walk in grace. It was later revealed that they did not know what to believe on some things so rather than potentially putting their own thought out there, they will stick to reposting other peoples thoughts. To put their own thoughts out there for the public to read could result in severe correction.
It really is a sad thing when we can no longer be free in Christ to do or believe things that may cut counter to popular Christian culture. This is how we grow and quite honestly when I see someone posting catchy quote after catchy quote...I begin to wonder. When a person only posts scripture...I want to ask...what are your thoughts? I want to hear those! It really is possible to live free.
Friday, May 10, 2013
"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:6(NIV)
Is it possible that the church is going the way of the book and music industry? This is what I mean…their was a hay day when the large record labels owned the market. There was even a day that, Simon and Schuster along with other publishing companies owned the book market. These days are changing aren’t they? In an electronic world where you can self-publish writings and music we are finding that the best art out there is found in the independent or underground market. Amazon has revealed that e-books are now outselling paper books.
I think the same can be said of churches today. People are tired of the church scene run as an industry. They may still align themselves with a denomination or movement which is a great thing. However, they are finding churches and fellowships (that still may align with their ideals) that are just different. They certainly may not be bigger but people are seeing that church should be run as a ministry not as an industry or business all about the money or keeping to themselves.
When the apostle Paul wrote this verse above he knew that too much of anything is bad. This came out in a conversation I had with someone. Somewhere in the institution of church many (not all) have forgotten what it means to season something. If I have someone over and grill some hamburgers I will ask them how they like their burger seasoned. Inevitably they will say with some salt. You see just a little bit of salt can go a long way. When I am in conversation with someone, “seasoned with salt” may mean sharing briefly my thought on how God may view this or that. Literally just a few words can make a person know where you are coming from on that topic. This displays so much grace when a person does this. Just a few words can get a person thinking verses a 5 or 10 minute dissertation and the occasional ambush lunch.
What would ruin that hamburger? I believe that if the person asked for some salt and I handed it back to them with a salt lick on it…I have done two things. I have completely mangled the burger (bun and all) causing the person to leave it and be grossed out by it thinking I am the worst cook ever. The same can be said of conversations that don’t display grace. A person may ask for a little advice and instead of seasoning it with salt making it a great conversation…I end up overloading them with teaching upon teaching, thought upon thought, unsolicited opinion upon unsolicited opinion. What happens? This conversation that could have gone so well now is a unappealing pile of garbage. What could have been a beautiful conversation is now a pile of yuck.
We have a task to show great grace in our conversations with people.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Spring time often brings wonder to a pre-schooler for so many reasons. In our front and back yard there are bird feeders that bring with it many different types of birds. From finches to morning doves, we have them all. The trees are in full blossom as well. Right by my kitchen window is a beautiful lilac tree that should begin blossoming soon. With all of the bugs and more coming out, the fact remains there is one thing my kids are simply enamored with...that is dandelions.
No matter how much I use weed and feed in my yard early in the season, I still manage to get these popping up here and there. For my daughter Emma this is the greatest thing because inevitably she picks quite a few for mom. Through the eyes of a child a weed like the dandelion is no different than a fully bloomed american beauty red rose. Why is that? Because nobody wants to corrupt a child telling them “we don’t like dandelions because they are weeds.” Instead we let the child truly see beauty for what it is.
Sadly there comes a point where a child finds out that this beautiful yellow sunburst is simply a weed. It is as if from that moment forward they look at it differently. They will kick it, pop the top off with their thumb or even take one and smear the yellow part on a friends arm. They have lost respect for this once beautiful thing in their eyes because someone told them what they perceive it to be.
Through our everyday life we have to be careful. Remember that person you use to view one way through innocent eyes? How about that group of people you really did not know much about other than they were always nice to you so you were nice to them? Somewhere along life's path someone told you “that person is a sinner or living in sin.” We end up getting all of these preconceived thoughts about different groups of people because we lost our innocence. Somewhere along the way we no longer live out “love your neighbor as yourself” because they don’t think, act or talk like we do. This often times leads us to judging what we simply do not know.
I pray often that God would help us get back to that innocence lost. Many times I have to ask got to help me to truly view people the way He does...with love and compassion. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they have done, we must simply learn to love people who are not like us because even a dandelion is beautiful through untainted eyes.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
There is a haunting verse found in James 4:14(NIV) that says “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
More times than not when I do a funeral this is a scripture I use. This verse came back to me while visiting with my parents this past weekend at my house. It was a beautiful sunny day out. In just a few hours we would be meeting up with other friends and family to celebrate my niece and nephew’s birthday. Out of nowhere my mom said “not to bring down the conversation but when either of us pass away...would you come down to Milwaukee and help make preparations? The way I see it is I have about 12 to 15 years left and I am starting to get a bit scared.” Now I must admit this was a huge downer for me. Not necessarily the topic I wanted to talk about but I guess I understand the concern. My dad chimed in as well as we talked about how long grandma and grandpa lived. Both of my parents are in their 70’s and it can be scary times as others they have known have passed in this age range. I wonder what made my parents think about this.
It is interesting how my mom stated time just crept up on her really quick and here she is now in her 70’s. I know for a fact there is so much more my mom wants to do but because of health and possibly age, she simply cannot do it. It is still my dream to get my dad to a Green Bay Packers game as he has never been to the stadium. They are realizing that we are simply “a mist that appears for a little while”. This has caused me to really cherish all of the small things in life and make the most of each opportunity with friends and family.
There is a Zen teaching that says “when you drink tea, drink tea.” In other words live in each moment and truly embrace it because next thing you know time has slipped away.