Thursday, February 24, 2011

Life Transfusion ...

You may or may not have heard of the verses in the Bible:

"It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." Gal.2:20

"I am the vine; you are the branches..." John 15:5

In other words, we are grafted into Christ. Christ is not grafted into us.

Think about it.

Hey, I'll admit that in my life...more often than not, I want Christ to be grafted into my life. I don't want to be grafted into His. I know. It sounds awful.

It's also really stupid if you take two seconds to think about it.

I mean, the reason I asked Christ into my life in the first place was because I recognized just how desolate and pathetic I was. When Jesus came in and became the central focus of my life; transformation was generated. Healing began. Changes took place from the inside out.

I was grafted into his life.

But somewhere along the way a subtle shift took place. Slowly, I took the reigns back - not completely, but practically speaking my actions were the reflection of someone who was grafting Jesus into their life instead of choosing to be grafted into Jesus.

Let that thought sink in and ask yourself if you've done the same thing.

Something tells me I'm not alone.

The good news is that I don't want that to be the case. And, technically, it isn't. Jesus never left me or gave up on me. That's just not the way He works. He keeps His promises.

But I do know that over time I began to take on the actions of a person who isn't taking the grafting process very seriously. Why is that so important?

There are many elements to grafting that are important, but the first thing to be aware of is why grafting is necessary in the first place. What does it accomplish? If you are a farmer or work with plants, you already know this.

There is nutritious sap in the vine, for example, that...when grafted together with a branch will provide a special nourishment that is essential for the newly grafted in branch to grow.

The same life which flows through the vine also flows into the branches.

When we are grafted into the vine or Jesus, His life flows into us.

I call it a ...

Life Transfusion...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Uneasy Faith?

The other day, my husband asked a thought provoking question.

The question?

Is faith really faith if there is no rest?

I like it when people say things that start the wheels turning in my mind. I know it got me to thinking anyway. Yes, there are always exceptions...but in general I think our ability to feel at peace in a situation is a definite indication that our faith is

I mean, yes, there have been times in my life that - by faith - I did something that I really believe was of God, but I never-the-less felt like I was stepping onto an invisible bridge that was the only way I could cross a treacherous chasm. Was my heart pounding in my ears? Yes. Was it beating a million times a minute? Yes. I said, there will undoubtedly be exceptions.

But I think if we are honest, we would have to conclude that - in general - the more mature our faith is...the more we will be able to use "rest" and "peacefulness" as barometers of our faith.

I don't know about you, but I find that thought very helpful. A barometer. Hmmmm...

We talk about how strong God is. We speak of His sovereign power. His love is perfect. I could go on with so many incredible attributes of God. But guess what?

If I really truly believe all those things about God, if it is firmly planted in my mind and heart, if I completely embrace who He is...then yes, I will rest in my faith.

How could I not? I have entrusted myself, my life, my circumstances...everything to God. If He is who I say He is...then why should I worry? Think about it. Is it really possible to have an...

Uneasy faith?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What if we Threw Out Christianity?!

I'm serious. Is Christianity really all that important? If you were to take out the eternal salvation aspect and the comfort at funerals of Christians, etc. What would this world be like without Christianity? Would people be relieved? Just how significant is Christianity to people in our nation? People who aren't Christians as well as most people who say they are.

What if we threw out Christianity?

Jiang Zemin is the former leader of Communist China. Former Time correspondent, David Aikman interviewed the retiring head of state in Communist China in 2002 and asked what Zemin wished for in regard to China’s future. Zemin's response shocked Aikman, and much of the world, when he replied:

“I would like for my country to become a Christian nation.” (Aikman, David. “A Report on Christianity in China: A Conversation With David Aikman.” Speech at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, September 26, 2002.)

When asked “Why?” Zemin’s response was an amazing revelation. He explained how a panel of Chinese scholars had spent twenty years studying why China continually lagged behind the West in science, industry, and culture.

“One of the things we were asked to do was look into what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world. We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because of a more powerful military. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic systems. But in the past 20 years we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. This is why the West is powerful. The Christian moral foundation of the social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.” (Quoted from Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Changing the Global Balance of Power, by David Aikman.)


There is nothing like an "objective observer" to help us see the significance of something, is there? It isn't really so unusual to do that. For example, my husband appreciates it when I encourage him...but part of him thinks I only say good things because I have to. That's not correct thinking - but it is normal to assume something like that. So when somebody says something encouraging, and that somebody isn't me, some ways it has a bigger impact on him. That is true of most people.

When I read about the Chinese actually spending 20 years researching the reason for the power and strength of the west, I was amazed. But the conclusion they came to was the most amazing eye opener to me.

What would happen if we threw out Christianity?

What do you think?

Monday, February 14, 2011

We Can Do It !

I loved learning and sharing with you, what it means to be a "Do It Church"...instead of just going to church. We learned some practical examples of how we can identify and reach out to those around us.

Obviously, as with anything, the motive behind what we do is always something we need to check. I encourage people to be a part of the "Do It Church".

But what if you, realistically, are simply not in a position to "do" anything outside of your normal schedule? If you are like many people, your life is already so crammed you feel like you're on overload! You would love to do things for people outside of your hectic schedule. For that matter, you would like to do almost anything outside of the same old rat race that threatens to consume you!

We are all in different places in our lives...and that's okay. It's better than okay. It's excellent!

It is sooooo easy, as human beings, to do things with the wrong motive. We mean well...and God, thankfully, knows it. It's just that, more often than we would like, we "compartmentalize" God.

Even though there is no way God will ever fit into a box, we try to cram Him in anyway!

There is certainly nothing wrong with going to Church, Bible study, Prayer meetings, etc. But it is so very easy for us to take God with us to those locations and leave Him there.

The good news is that just because it is easy to fall into that trap...doesn't mean we have to stay there! We can be bold for Christ right now! Hey, we should be that way anyway! At home, on the job, when we are at the store or doing errands.

So if you are bemoaning the fact that you can't do anything, stop and re-adjust your thinking!
You are exactly where God wants you! He can work in you and through you right every circumstance you find yourself in. That's exciting!

Ask yourself:

Who is the boldest Christian you know?

Why is it easier to practice "safe" Christianity?

Do you find there are times when it is just easier to say nothing at all?

Are there any situations where you could be bolder in taking advantage of existing opportunities?

In what situations could you be bolder in creating new opportunities?

This is a message I put on the "Sunday View" post...but it's worth repeating. Watch it when you have some time. Click on the "Big and Bold" link, just below. It will be time well spent!

Big and Bold

We Can Do It!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Just Okay...

Sigh...Some people are amazing writers. I admire the way they so clearly communicate what they want to say. Alas, I am not a writer. Not a "real" one.

Reminds me of singing. I love to sing. Can even hold a tune. Harmony comes fairly easily to me. But I'm not a "Singer". I don't have amazing vocals, hence...a soloist I am not.

I'm an "okay" singer. I'm an "okay" writer. Everything I do seems to be "okay" at best. Hence, the sigh at the beginning of this "okay" blog post.

Do you ever feel like that? You don't want to whine or complain...but everything seems to fall into the mediocre category?

The problem with dwelling on those thoughts is that I am focusing on what I can't do and allowing the lie that Satan wants me to believe, to enter my thinking. The lie that says that because I can't do certain things as well as other people means I am nothing but an "okay" person.

As much as I hate to admit it... I choose to think that of my own accord. Nobody twisted my arm in torture as they forced that statement from my lips. No. I do it all by my little self!

You know what good things I do have in abundance?

I have a big heart.
I try hard.
I am persistent.

None of those things will gain me any accolades. It is unlikely that I will derive a six figure income with a big heart. But it is what God gave me. He gives all His children something special. It may not be what your neighbor has, or what seems to abound in your friends.

Yes, I admit that many times I wish I were more than mediocre at certain things. But I have a question for you. Do you ever wish that you were really good at something, but instead you are...

Just okay?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Faith Conversations...

Did you know that 80% of kids who are church goers, will leave church by the time they are in their 20's?

Now I don't know how accurate that statistic is, but I do know that it is high enough to reveal that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

It's pretty simple, really. Bottom line is: Kids are not stupid. They have eyes and ears. Frankly, for the most part...if they have parents who are applying God's promises and principals to their lives, their children will be much more apt to take God seriously. He or she will see the power of God in your lives and will want to incorporate it into their own lives as they grow.

Great News!

When you do this, there is actually a 300% better chance that your kids will continue to walk with the Lord, even when they get older!

I'm not saying you have to be perfect. But it would be great if you were honest. For example, if you are upset about something and you don't deal with it well - then admit that little fact to your kids...or even grandkids. Tell them you know that is not how God would want you to react.

Goes against the grain for you to admit that you actually have faults? Well, that is something you are going to have to deal with. It's nothing short of pride...and we know that pride goes before a fall.

So now what?

A couple of things come to mind:

1) Depending on the maturity of the child you could ask them to pray with you.
That lets them know that you know you aren't perfect and need God's help. It also opens up
the door for...
2) An opportunity to pray with them about any problems they are having. (But do that
later - when the problem actually comes up).

There are so many creative things you can do.

One creative something I can share with you has to do with "Faith Conversations".

Faith Conversations are just that. Conversations about faith. Throughout the day, in a matter of fact sort of way, simply bring up principals of God's word and use it in a practical way so that both you, your kids or your grandchildren, can be reminded that God is very real in every circumstance.

Still uncertain as to what I'm talking about? If so, get a piece of paper or go on the computer and write down various traits that God speaks of in His Word.

Patience, Peace, Love, Kindness, Self-Control...the list goes on. Then see what God has to say about it.

Talk about those things, individually as they apply, throughout the day. As you do that you will teach your kids - or grandkids - how to naturally apply God's word to their lives. Oh. And don't be "preachy" sounding. Very annoying.

Your child or grandchild isn't a Christian? Afraid of "pushing your beliefs" on them? Hey, telling them how God is working in your life can be an awesome tool and a great...

Faith Conversation...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Review !

I'll be a bit on the brief side today. Alas...I don't feel too well, but I did want to give you a
quick update at least.

Last Monday I told you I would be going to a Crisis Pregnancy Center to ask them if there was anything I could do to help.

I have to say, I was really surprised. "Shelly" - the director I spoke to - was really very open. Much more than I would have expected. Turns out she has been giving and giving for so many years, that she had been experiencing a type of "disconnect" from people. What I mean by that, is that she was so accustomed to people needing things from her that she was almost afraid to form any type of relationship with anybody for fear they would be another needy person.

Don't misunderstand me. She was and continues to be extremely willing to give. Her love of all people is from God and it is very strong. She was simply acknowledging her human-ness.

I felt very honored that she would open up like that. Yes, there center always needs contributions and yes, she told me the hours they could use volunteers and that she would train them - but it seemed to me that my biggest "contribution" was to simply ask her what I could do for her.

She wasn't accustomed to that.

I wonder how many more "giving" people there are out there that are feeling alone?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

An Ingrown Church.

If you will recall, in the last post "Your I.T. Expert" made two points about the all important Ingrown Toenail.

I will devote this blog to the second point. The gist?

Don't trim your toenails too short, as you may set the stage for ingrown toenails.

Are you shaking in your boots? You know...the ones that aren't too tight? Of course not. What you are doing is wondering how I am going to weave biblical insight into a toenail!

Oh, now. I'm not going to do that!

But, remember when we learned that if our toenails are trimmed too could set the stage for an ingrown toenail?

Honestly, when I read about that, I thought of the church as the toenail...and when we "trim" the toenail - or church - too much...the church can become ingrown. The danger of a church that becomes ingrown is that their focus is placed on ministering to themselves before reaching out to the world.

So how do we "trim" a church?

First thing we need to do is get on the same page. What is the church? That may seem like a silly question, but it is viewed very differently by many people

Some people think church is simply a building where religious people meet. A location.


There is a difference between the church and a church building.

All throughout the New Testament are references to the church.

The church that is being persecuted.

Buildings aren't persecuted.

The church that speaks.

Buildings can't talk.

Great fear came upon the church.

Buildings don't get scared.

Prayer was offered to God by the church.

Buildings don't pray.

Need I continue?

I love the church. (And yes, I enjoy meeting in church buildings). The true church, however, is an incredible movement of God that spans the entire world. It consists of people who have chosen to ask Jesus into their lives and subsequently follow Him... It goes beyond buildings, beyond denominations, beyond theological differences that have nothing to do with salvation.

When we insist that the church is nothing but a building or when we limit church to a specific denomination...even when we over-emphasize theological issues that are not salvation related,
we are, in a sense, "cutting our toenails too short", and setting the stage for...

An Ingrown Church.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Your I.T. Expert ...

Aha! You thought I was referring to I.T. - as in "Information Technology". (Oh, so that's what I.T. stands for)!

No. I'm actually referring to something much closer to you. Ingrown Toenails!

Now why in the world would I want to talk about Ingrown Toenails? I'll tell you. But first:

Did you know that if you trim your toenails too short, particularly on the sides of your big toes, you may set the stage for an ingrown toenail? That's right!

And did you know that the most common cause for "I.T." is tight shoe wear or improper grooming or trimming of the nail?

Yep. I'll bet you're really glad I enlightened you on that most fascinating subject!

So. "Now", you ask, "what is she getting at"? know me well!

How do I say this so that it doesn't come out wrong? I am, after all, quite adept at putting my foot in my mouth!

Well, I guess all I want to say is that too many times, the only people we really interact with are our fellow Christians.

Don't get me wrong. I love fellowshipping with my brothers and sisters in Christ!

But I know it is easy to get an "Ingrown Toenail" -spiritually and emotionally speaking - when we are so tight in our relationships with each other, that we don't leave room for the rest of the world!

Tight shoes, if you remember, was one of the precursors to Ingrown Toenails.

Tomorrow, I will attempt to further enlighten you as to the second reason for I.T. After all, I am...

Your I.T. Expert...