Friday, August 28, 2009

Jesus wants us to put people down!

I've just launched into, well, I should say called, brought, dragged....into another personal spiritual reformation. Reformations, when they're true, can be troublesome.

It's not a make-over. As a Western American Culture we're all about makeovers. We can watch as friends send your name and video of your "pathetic" style into What Not to Wear and have Stacy and Clinton convince you that yes, you were a slob, just look in the 360 mirror...

Or we can go a step past that and stick you in a fish-tank on the middle of a sidewalk and have complete strangers tell you that you look at least 10 years older than you really are...and then have all kinds of chemicals dumped on and in your body so you look that magical 10 years younger

We watch houses, living rooms, closets, backyards, lives made over so...but does it last? I watched Stacy and Clinton the other day (oh yeah, I need fashion tips) and they were doing over this guy who was really honest in the end and said "I don't think two years down the road I'll keep this up, but it would be good". They both flipped and had him "rewind" and say "oh yes, I will do my best to keep this up!"

Makeovers don't get down to the foundation...except for extreme home makeover I should's a cover up for what we can see, clothes that cause the illusion of losing weight, makeup that makes us look well rested when we work far too many hours...

No, only reformations get to the root, and that's a task too big for ourselves to do. And it's too big a task to ask others to do alone as well. So that's where our big Compassionate God comes into play, empowering us to love and do the things He would like us to love and do, by changing our foundations. It's a process, see. God has planted His son in me, and the Holy Spirit is working to illuminate my heart and mind.

So for me, it's been the call to deeper prayer in Scripture so I can pray the will of God into my life and the lives of others. I've launched into a book by D.A. Carson (Call to Spiritual Reformation) that's taking me on a journey into the heart of God. It's changing me, from the inside out. It's causing me to love those I didn't.

Carson writes "we shouldn't put anyone down, unless it's on our prayer list". So I'm finding myself putting lots more people and things down on my prayer list. Things like politics (secular and church) that I didn't want to think about because it took me off my track of "being spiritual" are now on the top. And I'm learning how to pray with an honest bipartisan heart...not the fake bipartisanship I had before.

So, I pray this reformation will have it's way with me. It's uncomfortable, since it's shifting me around. And I'm putting lots of people down along the way. And Jesus, I am sure, is really happy about that.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I shopped for beds, for Christ's sake!

For Christ's sake, I learned about furniture shopping this past week! You can't just walk into a store anymore and buy a bed and drive away with it in very many places. So I spent a few hours running around looking for a bed to take care of someone...

For Christ's sake, I had enough in donation fund to buy Donna's little two year old daughter her own bed. She was still sleeping with her mom. Donna works full time, and a good nights sleep is really needed, so a "simple thing" like a bed really goes a long way.

I was able to find Donna through one of my contacts who performs home visits. She's a member of the growing population of working poor in America. Although she works hard and tries her best it's just not enough any more. There is always something coming up, always a decision to make, something needs to be purchased and someone or something always has to do without. So Donna's gave up her own comfort because she couldn't buy a bed for her daughter.

That is sacrifice. Hard as she tried, it just isn't enough.

There is an myth that the Albatross pierced it's breast and fed their y0ung with the blood. It was the iconic image of self-sacrifice, and as such the early church picked up on it and used to to explain the substitutionary love of Christ's sacrifice. He gave up His live and was pierced, He fed us with His blood.

So we, as followers of Christ, are called to pierced ourselves for those who are crying out for food...

Not just a little pin-prick, but a real piercing...

So, for Christ's sake, and to help out Donna's daughter, I chased down a brand-new twin box spring/mattress and frame, a set of girlie sheets, a new pillow, and pink side bar so she wouldn't roll out in her sleep. I took a bit of work to get everything, to get the funds, to find the person, but Jesus did a bit of work for me...

...did God work in the midst of this, for Christ's sake?

He did, as always. Donna shared that she was not working yet as she was high risk and had lost two children seven months into her pregancy. So I shared the story of my son Samuel...and then told her of my eight-day-old daughter, Hannah...which means "God is Mercy". I was there I told her, because Christ had given me everything, and I wanted to others to feel His presence.

So for Christ's sake, God led me to a woman to bring a bed for her daughter, share a story like hers, and talk about Restoration.

And all simply because I went furniture shopping, for Christ's sake!