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Archive for June, 2009

Wrapped

Wrapped

in flesh

shrouded

perfection

fluid

blood

muscle

skin

deep inside

one of sin

growing

born

wrapped

swaddled

surrounded

smothered

by dirt

stale air

breath of sinners

growth

stature

straight

wrapped

encircled

crowds

touching

reaching

taking

leaning in

demanding

covering

wrapped

in scarlet

accused

accursed

flesh

blood

skin

broken

body

wrapped

in sin

sacrifice

darkness

disdain

death

wrapped

spiced

cloths

shrouded

face

lifeless

laid

darkness

entombed

wrapped

miraculous

glorious

eternal

divinity

power

magestic

life

salvation

perfection

 

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I feel I should be praying for my former church, the leadership is in error.  What to pray? God’s will.  I pray God’s will.   My hope is that things can be turned around there, that the leadership will see it’s errors and repent…truly repent. 

I also pray for myself.  I pray I get my nose in the bible and my focus on Christ.  Period.

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I have to say, that on this Father’s Day, I appreciate my husband.  Yes, I appreciate him for his way as a father.  He is a provider, his salary is it for money in this house besides those who have helped out of the kindness of their hearts in times of need.  He works tirelessly for us. 

He reads to his children, prays with them, plays with them, eats with them AT THE TABLE.  He coaches their ball teams and shows up at games he’s not coaching.  He disciplines them when needed, but is not agressive in any way.  He shows them how he loves me often, and the respect and love he gives me is a model for how they should treat me.  He will take no disrespect for me from the 12 year old nor will he even let the 21 month old hit me in the midst of her tantrums. 

Most of all, he loves God.  He lets his kids know he is a saved sinner.  He apologizes when he’s wrong, and expects much out of himself in behavior.  He never looks at another woman, never.  I mean never.  He won’t be caught doing this, and he has made sure his computer is clean.  I am not saying he is perfect, but he works hard at purity.  If he has ever faltered, he’s actually asked for my help in this area.  He teaches his daughters to be modest and his boys to respect girls.  He also expects the boys to someday only choose modest girls. 

In my battles with false doctrine, my husband has backed me up.  He knows that if I take the time to point it out to him, it must be really bothering me.  He knows to trust me.  He will tell me honestly if he doesn’t see what I see, but he will definitely listen to me and give me the chance to prove what I see. 

I tend to wait for his lead when it comes to action because I know that I am very emotional about doctrinal issues and if I am wrong, I will go headlong into the wall so fast.  He is more even keeled, so I wait on him.  Every time I have been like a caged animal with anxiety of doctrine and twisting of scripture, my husband has been there to hear it and back me up. 

He is the one who decided when to leave our former church.  He spoke to the elders, it was that kind of church…better for him to speak to the elders than me (at least that’s what we felt…may not be but it felt this way).  He trusted when a pastor spoke to me and suggested writing a letter, he agreed with me this pastor’s intentions were probably good.  When things  didn’t change and only got worse, my husband didn’t allow the lead pastor (different than the one suggesting our final letter) to speak to me and attack me.  He spoke directly to the pastor and defended me.  He also didn’t just “back me up” but also put himself on the line, he believed the church was not right and he made himself be the responsible one. 

If he hadn’t been with me on this, hadn’t listened to me initially and then commented that he too had been feeling uncomfortable with the sermons, I don’t know what I would have done.  He led, he prayed, he sought counsel, he initiated.  In short, he got our family out when it was the best time.  If we were still in that church I would be sinning, I know it.  I would be going crazy,  confronting people, stepping on toes, fighting with my husband, and being generally snarky in church.  I would likely pout.  It would not be pretty.  It would not be the way a woman is supposed to be.  Being stuck in a church knowing my children would be taught a man centered gospel with a focus on Rick Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. plan would make me crawl out of my skin, no matter how nice the people are there.   Thank God for my husband!

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Sometimes I feel so flat about going to church.  My former church was the feel good kind.  We’d gone there for 8 years before leaving.  It was a church with a lot of fun for our kids, a lot of contact through small groups.  We had gotten to know people there.  We were so blind to most of the issues, and though we knew people had been leaving over the years, we chalked most of that up to inconvenience. 

We live in an area with churches everywhere, so it was often true that people just left for whatever reason.  Until we heard of one specific couple who left because of the direction the church was going in…we thought our personal fears of the church were possibly just thoughts we were having…strange things we had to figure out but not real issues.  It wasn’t until we thought strongly about leaving that we began to run into people who expressed strong issues with specific things we were seeing ourselves and had left.

So now, we’re in a new church.  It’s got a lot going for it, most especially the word of God is preached from the bible itself clearly every Sunday we’ve been there so far.  This church staff and pastors recognize the problems in churches with emergent(ing) and purpose driven…etc.  This is refreshing. 

However, at this point I still feel a great distance when in church.  There are so many times when it’s a chore to get myself ready to go to church.  Once there, the message is great.  Until I’m there though, I am not looking forward to it.  I cannot put my finger on why though.

One thing I have learned in this process of leaving a church with a focus on emergent youth (even if they aren’t officially an emergent church) and going to another church is that you cannot trust your emotions.  Emotions are not faith.  Faith is something else altogether.  I do not buy that action preceeds emotion every time, and I do not believe that just by doing something you can always shape your emotions…that they will follow.  Some people are depressed no matter h0w much faith they have, and how much they pray. I was hurt by the whole process of leaving our former church.  I found out that my judgement of things was off, my view had been blocked, I had been fooled.

I even at times look back and think about how we came to seeing the issues.  It was really quick, actually.  The wool was pulled away and I saw the former shining church for what it was.  It’s not just that, but I saw that there was this network of churches.  I also saw some of my favorite things were not at all what I thought.

I used to listen to Focus on the Family daily, and other radio programs through out the week.  Finding them involved in contemplative and compromise took away my grounding and habits.  So much of what I did before was built on popular protestant trends….all not bad if the focus of these things remained on Christ and the bible. 

It was a shock to my system.  I can imagine maybe it’s like the way a woman feels if she finds out her husband is not who she’s always thought he is.  The church, and parachurch organizations who have let contemplative, emergent, purpose driven, marketing, and more enter and take over have been serving another master.  This has caused a great deal of confusion for me over the last several months.

So, the new church has a lot to overcome.  They are dealing with a woman who has been sucking off the marrow a bit on the wrong things and has been starving for it.  It’s not that I didn’t get good things from our church, or we didn’t have friendships and support when needed.  That church is right in these areas.  I think though the sacrifice of biblical teaching (not just using the bible for a means to an end) is not worth any connections and community. 

So now, I’m disconnected and emotionally not where I wish I was in the new church, in my life these days.  It’s not about emotion, it’s about Christ and following Him.  It’s about training my children in the church that is presenting the truth.  Now, I just pray for trust if this is the place for us to commit as members.  Who cares about emotions, I want the real deal….

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Had a guest pastor at church today.  He made some solid points, though I am still very careful when listening to anyone preach.  The sermon was on the story of Joseph in Genesis as well as Psalm 105.  It was about success in life, but not in the way many ministers measure success these days. 

 Success in a life brings glory to God, so it’s only success in God’s eyes that counts.  It really has to be Christ centered and is worked out by God.  He first stressed that in Joseph’s life trials tested his faith.  God brought these trial to his life, and he will bring them to our life in order to work His will. 

The many trials of Joseph were being first rejected by his brothers, betrayed by them, physically injured, enslaved, tempted, falsely accused, imprisoned, and forgotten.  We will also face many trials and we are, as James says, to count it all joy when we are tested and put through many trials. 

 Another thing that allows us to succeed in God’s eyes is that there is a Truth that supports our faith.  Genesis 37:5 states “the word of the Lord tested him.”  He was given a truth in his dreams, and his dreams came true.  The pastor spoke of a change that occured in Christ, (I think it was Hebrews 1) that God in various ways spoke to us by His Son.  Christ communicates by His word (recorded in the bible) and through the Holy Spirit. 

He also communicated that what we perceive or feel is not often true.  The only true thing is the word of God.  He quoted D. Martin Lloyd Jones saying “We spend too much time listening to ourselves and too little time talking to ourselves…”  I would argue we spend too little time in the bible and in prayer, but I do understand the point made.  He said we need to “talk to ourselves” and remind our selves the turths of God’s word.  Not exactly the same thing as contemplatives who go within themselves….

God is also bringing His people to Himself.  Jacob’s family meant their actions for evil, but God meant them for good.  He moves people back to Himself, and even did this with Joseph’s family.  God is also fixing our eyes on eternity to see beyond our trials.  He is working all this out for His glory.  Success is God’s glory, not numbers in the pews, not slick presentations, not money or fame. 

The above was a paraphrase from the visiting pastor, none of the work is mine…

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In more ways than one this weekend has shown me the value of life.  In our personal life, we had a moment when our child was in danger of death.  The Lord was merciful and our little one came away unharmed, but the moment will forever be etched in our minds. 

Life can end quickly and even quietly.   Hours before this, a man shot Dr. George Tiller (I have heard in the head) in a church.  This was not a silent act, this was violence.  So many of us who value life never wanted this to happen.  My personal desire was for Tiller to realize how awful abortion is, and for him to repent.  Beyond this, my desire was that he would be stopped by legal means.  

I personally know a couple who had a baby dying in the mother’s womb.  They claim Christian faith.  They were our small group leaders.  They knew the moment of their child’s death because they chose to allow a doctor to stop her heart.  Her official birthday, though she was born dead, was the one year birthday of my little girl who nearly died by accident this weekend. 

I will never forget the sadness I felt for my friends who had never carried a baby to term due to miscarriage, and who had another baby dying in their womb.  I mourned with them at the loss of their little one.  I had experienced a 2nd trimester miscarriage myself, and understand how hard it is to have a baby die in the womb. 

However, they heard the last heartbeat, they approved and chose the moment of death.  I was sorely disappointed.  It was a complicated and difficult decision, and my friends had chosen abortion over the natural death that would most surely have come within a few days or weeks.  I do not know how they were able to cope with this.  They induced a still baby, and likely saw the needle mark on her chest.  They got to hold her, had hair clippings and tiny footprints.  They had a funeral, and they named their baby.  I was heartbroken for them, and at the same time heartsick.  How could they abort their baby?  I know this seems like compassion to some, but to me, I just could not relate.  I would do anything to save my child if possible, and if I was told I could do nothing, that medicine could do nothing, then I would let nature take it’s course and allow God to determine the time of death. 

So now a man who acted in a way I can never understand, a man who not only supported late term abortion but performed them, this man is dead.  I do not rejoice.  I would rather he faced his guilt at a time when he could be given a chance to repent.  It’s not like he didn’t have chances.  I am sure he felt he was compassionate, that he provided a service to women who needed to stop their child from suffering. 

There is another couple I know, one who was pregnant with a child who had a fatal genetic problem.  This child would live only a few hours after birth.  This family chose to birth the baby after labor began.  They chose to comfort and care for their child after his birth.  He in fact did have severe abnormalities, his condition was fatal.  He did not die at the hand of a medical abortion doctor, he died in the arms of his mother as she held him, kissed him, and rocked his warm body.  This was not an easy death to bear for this family.  His little life was valued. 

Life, a gift from God.

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