Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Freedom to Live!

John 10:10 (NLT) The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Galatians 5:13 (NLT) For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

If you know me personally, it’s likely you’ve heard me say that religious bondage is still bondage. There was a time in my life that I followed religion more than Jesus Christ. I followed the church rules; I did what was expected of me. I put church above all else. I was a faithful church member who supported all the functions and happenings at the church building. I was the person that would step in and fill in the gaps when no one else would volunteer. I was contributing to every fundraiser, volunteering at every event, and changing my plans at the last minute to accommodate the church’s schedule. I walked the walk; I talked the talk. I was also the one who was burned completely out.

Jesus never put all that on me. I put all that on me. I took on more and more and more until I resented the day I found a gift to use. There was no one to blame but myself. Satan had stolen my joy, killed my excitement, and destroyed my fervor. I was looking to the wrong things for fulfillment. Jesus came to give me a rich and satisfying life. Serving Him is where I found my purpose. One day I just quit “church” because I realized that there was so much more than the routine I had accepted as faithfulness. The Lord showed me that there were people out there who actually needed me, and not just people who wanted to use me. There are some church people who take advantage when presented with the opportunity. We’re all human; we all have flaws.  
I can live my life in freedom and be fulfilled just by doing what Jesus Christ has asked me to do. That’s my purpose in this life. Following a religious movement, or belonging to a church building is not my purpose. That’s where I receive my training, but my job is in the fields that are ready to harvest. Spending every waking moment doing church stuff is not what God had for me to do, which is why it didn’t last. If you want true freedom and the rich, satisfying life that Christ promised you, follow His plan for you – no one else’s. Spend time listening to what He is asking you to do. Put the brakes on auxiliaries, programs and services for a while. Hear His voice. Serve in the areas that He has gifted you. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t make it your calling or your passion. If you are feeling ‘meh’ about what you’re doing, stop doing it. You aren’t doing anyone any favors, least of all the KINGDOM.
I want all the joy, peace, happiness, love, kindness, and fulfillment that I can get. It begins and ends with Jesus Christ. All that religious stuff is expendable.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Convenient Faith

Hello, everyone! It’s been a while since I blogged, but I feel compelled today to address this convenient faith that social media makes so attractive. I don’t profess to know what Jesus Christ is thinking, but I’m pretty sure He’s not telling you to fake it until you make it. Being a follower of Christ is a lifelong journey, not an immediate “arrival.” We develop, we grow, and we change as we are molded daily into the image of Christ by the working of the Holy Spirit. Stop pretending!
Blessing and cursing are coming from the same person in the same day. One minute you are more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ, and the next you don’t know how you’re going to make it through a financial dry spell. Today, you’re a super saint because God came through in a pinch, but tomorrow a co-worker is going to make you lose your religion. We suffer through fifteen posts about your pastor’s sermon this Sunday, but you’re mysteriously quiet next Sunday when you don’t go to church at all. Are you feeling guilty that you didn’t go? Why do you think so many people are falling away from the church? A lot has to do with us, the so-called Christians.
We have hindered many people collectively by the way we live, the words we use, our attitudes and behaviors. We expect new converts to automatically achieve perfection, when we are trying to hide our imperfections. We could reach people on a much deeper level if we could be vulnerable enough to show them our true selves. Yes, I’m human too, so we can do this together. If we could spend more time being honest with people instead of putting on these shows for our social media accounts, I think we’d find that people could actually relate to us. Some of us are so deep that we’re drowning in our own self-righteousness … alone. We’ve built our fortresses of lies and false pretense, and we’re dying on the inside.
Let me encourage you. You don’t have to pretend to be something you aren’t yet. If you are allowing the Holy Spirit to move in your life, I promise it will get better. You will have more joy, peace and contentment. We are all being changed; none of us is perfect. Feel comfortable being just who you are on the way to who you’re becoming. Jesus loves you. You should love yourself. Loving yourself doesn’t mean you don’t want to improve, but it should mean that you won’t deny who you are. Admit that you’re a work in progress just like the rest of us. It’s okay.