for love…for truth…for mercy


There seems to be a lot of judgment going around church circles lately. Or maybe I’m just more keenly aware of it than ever before. I know that Christians are often believed to be judgmental by those who are not Christians. However, I have never felt that way…until recently. I have always believed that Christians were more loving than judging and more accepting than condemning. Again, perhaps I have missed it or ignored it somehow. Or perhaps, with society’s enormous push towards “tolerance”, some Christians have felt the need to be even more vocal about what they believe to be so very wrong.

I may get myself in trouble here. You may not agree with me – and that’s completely okay with me. However, I just don’t understand the need to be so very vocal about what everyone around you (especially those who are not Christ followers) might be doing wrong according to your viewpoint. I hate the word “tolerance”. I don’t understand the need for the word. I wish that people were kind enough and loving enough that the word “tolerance” wouldn’t have to be such a huge thing right now.

I don’t want to just “tolerate” people! I want to learn to love them! In every situation, every family, every group – there will be people we don’t get along with and we have to learn to “get along” or “tolerate” each other for the sake of the bigger picture. Yes. True. However, a Christian is not meant to “tolerate” their neighbor – we are meant to love them! (Matthew 22:36-40; Mark 12:30-31).

But SO often we are known for our intolerance rather than our love – intolerance to love – what a HUGE gap that is! What are we teaching our kids? To love only those who agree with us? To love them, but to make sure they know they are wrong? Is that really love at all? I don’t think it is. It breaks my heart to see so many groups of people treated so very poorly by the Christian community. Disclaimer: I know SO many Christians who are so very loving and accepting of all of those groups – so I know it’s probably more the exception than the rule. But isn’t it true that one bad apple spoils the whole bunch?! I don’t ever want to be that bad apple! No wonder people don’t feel welcome in the church when well-known pastors are tweeting about God’s judgment of people via the tornadoes, when there are churches like Westboro Baptist who judge and hate all men equally (unless they are exactly like them).

I understand that God’s truth is important. I understand that the Bible is full of truth and conviction, and that it is “alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12). But there are so many Christians these days who believe it is their responsibility to “divide soul and spirit, joints and marrow and to judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Yes – it is our responsibility to speak truth….in love…at the appropriate time…and by the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit. I am a truth teller. I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut when I believe something “wrong” is happening. I understand the desire to set people right. I really do. I also understand that the purpose of truth telling HAS to be setting people right, helping people grow, loving them with our words and our purposes – NOT judging them or hurting them. Some things are not your business, pastor. Some things should NOT be said in public forums – or at all for that matter. What is the purpose of your words? To judge or to love? Conviction or compassion? To tear down or to build up? Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth but only what is useful for building others up.” I have that one memorized. Not because I am awesome at it – but because I’m not. I have to pay very close attention to my words – every – single – day. Or I’ll slip. I’ll judge. I’ll show hate instead of love. I don’t ever want to be known for what I stand against – but rather what I stand for.
Jesus stood for love. for peace. for acceptance. for grace. for truth. for mercy and kindness.

Want to be more like Jesus? I do. I don’t want those around me to be reluctant to let me in for fear that I might judge them. Heck – I don’t want to be reluctant to let people in for fear that they may judge me!
I want to be a true Christ “follower”. I want to stand for love….for truth…and for mercy!

Learn to do Good. Seek Justice. Help the Opressed…

I read this passage today in my quiet time.  I can’t get it out of my mind.  I know that it’s just sitting there waiting to mess me up entirely.  I hope so.  I can’t wait for God to mess me up.  Here’s what it said…

“Wash yourselves and be clean!  Let me no longer see your evil deeds.  Give up your wicked ways. 

Learn to do good.

Seek Justice.

Help the opressed.

Defend the orphan.

Fight for the rights of widows.

Come now, let us argue this out, says the LORD.  No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it.  I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow.  Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.  If you will only obey me and let me help you, then you will have plenty to eat.  But if you keep turning away and refusing to listen, you will be destroyed by your enemies.  I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Isaiah 1:16-20

The lack of CHRIST in Christmas

It’s been a WHILE since I last blogged, I know. I have loads of excuses. Lots of life happening lately. But mostly it’s because I haven’t really been in the mood. I’ve been dealing with lots of stuff lately and didn’t want to spill it all on my blog for the world to see. So I just didn’t blog at all. And I don’t really have anything wonderful to say – I just had to get something off my chest (so much for self control, huh?)

Last night we attended Elisa’s school “Holiday” program. It was called “DecemberNights, December Lights”. I think the purpose of the program was more to say – hey, see how pc we are – instead of celebrating any sort of holiday. Throughout the program, they fully explained the holiday of Hannukah and Kwanzaa and one other I don’t remember which. But they NEVER explained Christmas. They never even mentioned Jesus! I found myself crying a couple of times, not because my kid was so cute (which she was), but because this entire “Christmas” program completely ommitted Christ. I kept looking out over the completely packed room of people and found myself so very sad and completely overwhelmed with the “lost”-ness in the room. So many of those people didn’t know Jesus, so many of them couldn’t care less about Him. That makes me so very sad.

Truth is, we won’t have much of a Christmas this year. We aren’t doing gifts at all – not even to our kids. We just can’t afford it this year. And honestly I’m a little sad about that. BUT – I still am so excited about celebrating Christmas. I KNOW it’s not about the gifts. I’m hoping that this Christmas will be even better than any of the others, simply because we’ve been forced to take out all the commercialized junk, and have the opportunity to really focus on the point of it all.

I was able to be a part of our church’s Sharing Christmas ministry this year. We weren’t able to adopt a kid, but I was able to be a part of distributing gifts and food to a family in need. I went with some friends and we delivered to 3 different families (very different, actually). The first family was a very young mother and father and two small kids. When we got there, the 7 year old little girl asked her mom if it was her mom’s birthday b/c she couldn’t understand why else someone would bring gifts to them. The wonderful woman I was with asked the little girl if she knew that we were celebrating Jesus’ birthday. Both kids looked at us with blank stares. I honestly believe they may never have heard Jesus’ name before. Take a minute and take that in. Never heard the name of Jesus!! As we were leaving, my friend asked if we could pray for the family and the mom reluctantly said sure. As we were praying, the 5 year old little boy came up to his mom and asked her, “Mom, what are they doing?”. He had never seen someone pray before!!

As we drove home, I began to cry. Here I am, sad about the fact that my family can’t participate in all the gift giving. BUT, this family is missing out SO much more than we are. This young family has food and presents – but they don’t have hope or peace. I found myself praying that the little boy would continue to ask questions, until someone would be able to answer them.

I am overwhelmed this year with the lack of Christ in Christmas! I can’t seem to get into the “spirit” of Christmas this year. I am finding myself sad instead of joyful. I can’t seem to shake it. There are SO many people all around me without hope and that makes me SO very sad. I am praying that God will use my discontent to move me to action. I pray that He gives me opportunities to share the hope that He has given to me. I pray that my eyes are opened even more to the desperate and hopeless all around me – and that God would use me to splash some joy or hope onto them in some way.

“My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus ’tis now.”

A Dose of Perspective

I read a post by Tally Wilgis just now that I couldn’t keep from sharing with you. Check it out here. It’s all about his observations during a visit to another church. The best part is at the end…

“Each week when Christians and Selfians collide… someone WILL BE uncomfortable. Why is it that the Christians want to make the Selfians uncomfortable? Why can’t the Christians say “If someone has to be uncomfortable in this transaction, let it be us. I’m okay with letting my saved family do church in a theater with beer ads all around.” The way those beer ads hit many church goers is the same way a stained glass window, a tie, or hymnals hits the Selfians. If I KNOW there will be SOMEONE uncomfortable… I want it to be our church members and attendees. Let it be me! If it will allow my selfian friend to see Christ in his own context… so be it.”

Good stuff – right?


I read a post today from Jason Berggren who has made a recent announcement about changing careers to pursue his passion. Here is a paragraph:

“Truth be told, the thought that in 10 years I could be looking in the mirror wondering why I didn’t try to pursue my passion more aggressively also haunts me. We have one life. Let me say that once again. We have one life. One life to leverage all that we can to make a difference with all that we have.”
The above paragraph – especially the last sentence – really hit home with me. Not because I am realizing that there is something more that I am supposed to be doing – but because I’m doing it now. My entire life up to this point has been preparing me to do what I’m doing now. I am absolutely certain that God has put me in the place that I am “for such a time as this”. (I’ve been really taken with the story of Ruth lately – incredible story – you should check it out.)
The underlying passion throughout my life has been music. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t survive without it. Over the last 3 years (especially this last one) I’ve been learning how to worship through music. Really worship. When I’m worshiping in that way it’s like I’m doing what I was always meant to – like it’s the reason I was created – and that I’m preparing for eternity when I’m singing to God in worship. I am constantly amazed at how much I’m learning in the middle of this ministry. I am just SO honored to be a part of it. I don’t understand why God has allowed me this opportunity – but I am definitely going to give it everything I have – for as long as He lets me do it (forever would be fine with me).
I’ve also never felt this sense of urgency before – that if I don’t tell them about Christ – no one will! My husband and I prayed last night that God would give us scripture to pray for the people of Roanoke – we were drawn to the story of John the Baptist and the calling of the first disciples. When God said, “follow me” – they immediately did. Not because He looked cool, but because they already knew who He was and when He came to town they were ready to give their lives to Him. John the Baptist came first. To tell them. There was something different about him. He was wild and obviously passionate. He was constantly saying “I am not the Christ – but I can tell you that He’s coming – and you won’t believe how wonderful He is!” That’s my passion right now. I want to connect with the people of Roanoke in such a way that they will know that I have passion – that there is something different about me. That there’s something different about Compass.
I have gone off on a tangent – I know. Here’s one last verse from Jason’s blog. At Compass we’ve come across this verse a few times in the last few months – it’s really meaningful to me.
“And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.” 2 Corinthians 8:10-12

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for choosing Compass Airlines…

Most of you know that I am part of a church plant in Roanoke, TX. We’ve had a number of challenges over the last couple of years, most of which have turned into major advantages. Check out Johnny’s post for specific examples.
I’ve been thinking alot lately about the upcoming months and how we will design our services to really make an impact in our area. I’ve come to some conclusions:

I read an article about how before we put together our services we need to know who we are – personalities, etc. I think that up until now we’ve been trying to figure out what will reach people – what people will respond to. Well, if we first figure out what WE respond to, that will help us communicate with passion, excitement and actually reach the people God means for us to reach. God put our personalities together for a reason – and it’s not so that we can do church like we always have. I think we are supposed to play on our strengths, passions, preferences, and styles and then – ONLY THEN – will we reach the people God is calling us to reach. Lets design a service – or Weekly gathering – that WE would be able to get excited about – and want to invite people to. Let’s take the church goggles off and dream a little. We CAN have fun with this. Church is supposed to be fun – it’s supposed to be creative – it’s supposed to be different. People will respond to us if we’re genuine and real – we’ve talked about this a million times. I think that it’s time to put our worship service where our mouth is. It will take major dedication, creativity, excitement, passion, time – but we can absolutely make it happen.

It’s like all of the sudden my eyes have been opened and I see things not for what they were or what they are, but for what they could be. It’s the DUH moment. Actually I’ve had a lot of DUH moments over the last couple of weeks. I feel so stupid that it never occured to me before. God chose us – who we are – our personalities, etc. for this area at this time. We don’t have to wait and see what God will do. HE’s called US to do something. To reach out in an exciting and real way to the people in THIS area and tell them about Him. When we’re obedient to do that – He’ll move in a mighty way. It all seems so simple, now. God has given us the opportunity to be creative – to get excited – to be passionate and to have a blast at the same time. I’ve been saying that I’m learning what a privilege it is to be in ministry and to be a part of God’s will.
It’s like my first airplane ride – I expected something really cool. I knew that it would be great. But when the wheels of the plane left the ground for the first time and I realized that I was FLYING – Words couldn’t express how I was feeling. My mind was expanded at that moment – suddenly the world was a lot bigger – and I was a lot smaller – and it was WONDERFUL! I finally saw a glimpse of the Big Picture – and I will NEVER BE THE SAME.

That’s where we are as a church – the wheels are leaving the pavement. Just like in the airplane – I held on a little tighter to the armrest as the nose of the plane pointed toward the sky and the ground got farther away – we need to do the same now – hold on tighter. There is a natural excitement that we’ll feel just knowing that the plane is going higher and higher and pointing more and more toward the sky – and the higher we get, the looser our grip will be on the armrests. The higher we go – the more we will trust the thing that is holding us up. The higher we go – the more of the picture we’ll see. I’m so ready to fly. I’ve never been more ready.

Bumper Testimony

Okay, so I know you’ve all heard it before. I know you probably all agree, but I have to vent anyway. I work downtown, and therefore see my share of traffic every morning and evening. Well, this morning on my way to work I got on the ramp, and attempted to get on to the freeway. As is the case more times than not (pause and reflect on the hugeness of that statement), the person to my left sped up and got right behind the car in front of him so that I could not get on the highway. Did we learn this in elementary school when we didn’t want anyone to cut in front of us in the lunch line? What’s the big deal?? Did he really get where he was going any faster because he didn’t let me in? Okay – we all have these opinions about freeway drivers. BUT, here’s what prompted me to post this blog: On the back of his truck he had a bumper sticker.

SIDENOTE: I am pretty much completely opposed to bumper stickers as a whole. 1st, the person who puts the bumper sticker on the vehicle is not always the one driving which creates confusion in the minds of the lookers on. 2nd, it is rare that the person who put the sticker on (assuming that it is the same person as the one driving the vehicle) actually believes what they have stickered. I think bumper stickers are like personalized license plates, tattoos, piercings (which I’ve had – and therefore can comment on w/ authority), flourescent colored-hair (which I’ve also had) , and other such things. They are used to get attention – nothing more. They are rarely a statement of belief, passion, character or anything other than “hey, look at me!”

Now back to the story: The bumper sticker on this truck made me angry, sad, confused, ashamed – all kids of feelings. You’ve seen the sticker – I know you have. Some of you probably have the sticker on your car (I still love you). It said: “My boss is a Jewish Carpenter.”
I know what you’re thinking: “He might not have seen you.”, “It’s not like he flipped you off, or cut you off.” “What’s the big deal?”

The big deal is really a HUGE deal. This man for some reason decided he wanted to be associated w/ Jesus Christ – and so he put a sticker on his car. Well, now everyone that he refuses to let on the highway, or cuts off, or looks at funny will know that this man is a self-proclaimed representative of Jesus Christ – and look at how he treated me. It’s similar to when you go to a restaurant and at the end of the meal you leave a gospel tract for the waiter/waitress to read, but alongside it you leave a pathetic tip (or no tip at all) – I know this goes on frequently, I used to be a waitress. What does all this say about Christians? That we’re cheap? That we’re the most important car on the road? That we don’t care about your safety in your vehicle or the safety of your kids who are with you? That perhaps we just think we’re better than you and deserve more road space???

I’m a little perturbed. I will admit. I also have to admit that I am not a perfect driver. But I do try to realize that w/ or w/out a bumper sticker (I choose to go w/out) I am a representative of the most caring, loving, giving, patient person that ever walked the Earth – Jesus Christ.
Oh my goodness, please STOP THE MADNESS!!! Ditch the stickers! Let the other guy in! Tip your waitress! PRACTICE KINDNESS!!! People ARE watching you!