Week #4 – You and God: You are the Church

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I love my church.

I love it because there are people who feel like family.

I love it because there’s something powerful about lifting your hands in worship with those who believe in Christ.

I love hearing the Bible taught in such a way that it changes me.

I love it because it is an instrument to love, impact, and reach others.

But as much as I love my church, the Church is bigger than a building. [Read more...]

I almost missed my assignment

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She sat beside me on the plane. A new dress, colors of red and orange and yellow so bright, with white sandals on her feet. A wig made her look youthful, though her years were evident in her face.

So was the fear.

With trembling hands she took out her tickets and thrust them my way as our plane touched down in Atlanta.

“What do I do next?”

I showed her the number of her next flight and promised I’d stand with her and find her gate on the monitor. As she walked in front of me out of the plane, her gait was uneven and seemed painful.

I pointed to the monitor and shared the gate number. She repeated “B-22″ at least 10 times under her breath.

She and I took off down the crowded corridor and then suddenly she took a right and went into the bathroom.

Go in.

I was 100% certain I was supposed to follow her, but I couldn’t. Follow a stranger into the bathroom? Help her when she clearly made a choice to move away from me?

That’s when I almost missed my assignment.

[Read more...]

Start where you are

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Do you see that woman over there? She’s the one that shines Jesus. She’s the one you’d pick, if you were God.

But what about you?

What does God have in mind for you?

That’s a question I once asked. I remember kneeling at an altar at the front of the church. Most everybody had left, and tears splashed the altar.

Show me, God. Show me what you want from me.

When I stood, I saw two children sitting behind me. A little girl with long blond hair. Her brother, just barely in his teens but far more experienced with life than he should be.

“Hey kiddos,” I said, wiping away tears.

Lord, maybe we can pick up this conversation later. 

“What’s up?” I asked.

“Can you take me home?” the teen asked.

“Are you hungry?”

I already knew the answer. Dad was in jail. Mom addicted. There was a good chance that these children, who came in on the church bus, hadn’t eaten all day, maybe all weekend depending on mom’s condition.  [Read more...]

Why the old stuff no longer holds you back

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When we moved I realized we had boxes of old records that were no longer worth keeping. Going through them was like walking through my life a second time.

1991: cancer. I was a young mom. Afraid out of my mind. You aren’t supposed to get cancer when you’re young.

I shredded hospital bills. Loads and loads of them. Chemotherapy reports. Surgeries. Radiation. Reports that said the cancer spread. Statistics that said the odds were against me.

Shredding these were both healing and joyous.  [Read more...]

Week #3 You and God: Our faith isn’t intended to be comfortable

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The stars seemed a million miles away, sparkling like tiny diamonds. Water lapped against the side of the rough-hewn canoe. There were four of us perched in a row.

As my eyes became accustomed to the dark I saw outlines of trees along the shore. The lead guy pointed to the treetops. “Anacondas,” he said, veering in a new direction.

I was on the Amazon in Brazil in the rain forest. Our nights were spent on a boat, and our days in 100+ degree heat with a medical and evangelistic team. My husband was not far away with a construction team, building a church for a pastor who had led services under a tree for years.

And now I was on a boat in the inky midnight hours surrounded by crocodiles, pirahna, and anaconda.

An experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. 

[Read more...]

Does God see everything, and is that a bad thing?

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My three-year-old grandson, Luke was in my arms in the water. He lifted a diving ring in the air and placed it on my head like a crown.

“Hey,” he said. “There’s a white one.”

I laughed. “No way, that must be the sun shining on my head.”

Plunk.

Luke triumphantly held out a fistful of brown hair with a silvery hair glinting in the clump.

“See Gaga, I told you there was a white one!”

[Read more...]

What does God have to do with my everyday life?

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They call it trolling.

It’s the freedom to bluntly say what you’ve been thinking with out a filter and with a desire to inflame a topic.

But when they talk about my faith I cringe.

I want to open my chest and show them that the Jesus that they’re talking about with such cynicism is really real, and this is the healed heart as a result. [Read more...]

Who is God?

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A child was crying behind me. I turned and saw that the youth pastor’s 11-month-old son was tired and cranky. He threw himself on the floor, arching his back, and wailing.

The youth pastor was a tall, strong guy, kind of like Superman minus the cape. He reached down and picked up his son and cradled him in his arms.

The little guy wrestled for a few moments, but his daddy held him close and whispered to him. Within minutes the child settled down and fell asleep, safe in his daddy’s embrace.

It was as if God gave me a glimpse of himself.

[Read more...]