Purposed Brokenness

I really struggle with the mentality that we’re going to be 100% “fixed” down here. Jesus came to free us from our sin and bring us into a right relationship with Him. I’m missing the part where it says we’d be completely struggle free.

The more I get into ministry, the more broken I become, the more I realize I need Jesus, the more dependent I become on Him to minister to others out of my brokenness.

It’s like mint. And rose petals.

Their essence is released after they are crushed. Not before.

We are privileged to share in the sufferings of Christ.

“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,”

Philippians 1:29 ESV

Earlier in that passage Paul also emphasizes:

“… what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel”

Philippians 1:12 ESV

His perspective is not on what he is going through. His perspective is on the success of the gospel. In Philippians he’s specifically referencing his being in prison but in 2 Corinthians 12 Paul also describes a more personal struggle:

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Why would we be arrogant enough to think we can successfully live the Christian life without being broken?

Light Pink Rose Petals

"Light Pink Rose Petals" by AudreyJM529 on Flickr

Taking God’s Holiness Seriously

Instant death.

As “The Armchair of God on Earth,” the Ark of the Covenant was carried with extreme decorum and ceremony for good reason. Anyone who who disrespected, touched, or even looked at it DIED. This happened more than once …

When wandering in the desert, the priests carried it with gold plated poles so as not to lay a finger on it. When the Israelites pitched the tabernacle for the last time, the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies only once a year to make atonement for the sins of the nation … with a rope tied to his foot so if he died they could drag him out and bury his body. Our loving merciful God of the New Testament emphasized His requirements for holiness in the New Testament. 

Hefty stuff.

Today, we as Christians carry within us the Holy Presence of God.

Which is the Greater Honor?

Bearing the Ark of the Covenant or bearing the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit. Obviously. 

So when someone claiming to be a Christian casually disgraces something God deems Holy - I shudder. 

Going back to the Ark of the Covenant, here’s a story from 1 Samuel: 

The Ark of the Covenant once made a tour outside of Israel. 

The sons of Eli the priest thought a “Holy Gold Box” was a lucky charm for the them not getting their butts kicked as a consequence for living lives of flagrant selfish disdain for the Holy God they were called to serve (idiots!). The country followed their example in not living according to God’s laws. 

The Ark got captured in battle and the sons of Eli died

That’s example Number 1:

Don’t Treat God like a Lucky Rabbit Foot when you’re living Opposite His Plan.

As a battle trophy, the Ark sat below the pagan god in the enemy temple. Not only did the statue of the pagan god fall on its face and crack it’s neck, the men of the city got  hemorrhoids. So they sent the ark away to another city and those men got hemorrhoids. So they sent the ark to a third city and all the guys who didn’t get hemorrhoids … you guessed it … died.

That’s example Number 2:

Don’t Put God Underneath Anything. Something’s gonna Break. 

So they sent the Ark back to Israel in a cart with some gold to atone for their mishandling. When the Israelites saw the ark coming back to them, they were ecstatic! They stopped their wheat harvest and made an offering to the LORD. Unfortunately, the ark was uncovered so a bunch of them died too.

I could go on but you get my point. God takes holiness seriously.

So when I heard The Fray casually drop the f-Bomb in concert Sunday night, I was rather dismayed. 

Yes, I understand the desire to be mainstream and relevant. 

Yes, I have said the f-bomb myself and I’m not proud of it.

But when you feel God has called you out of the "Christian music genre and into a secular market" you have a responsibility to Him and His calling. And I’m pretty sure it doesn’t include setting a bad example 

I disrespect God by accident all the time and He hasn’t struck me dead yet. That’s the miracle of His Grace. And when He tells me my sin, my heart hurts for disrespecting Him. I love Him too much to want to do that.

Don’t live life in the gray. White is White, God is Holy and as bearers of the Holy Spirit, we need to live in the Light as He is in the Light. 

This post was also inspired by Jessie Busboom’s post which you can read here:

http://JessicaBusboom.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/our-role-responsibility-in-worship-leading-christy-nockels/

Don’t Put YOUR Talent In a Box!

I talked with a couple girlfriends about my last blog and got approximately the same response: 

"Your’re so talented/I have no talents."

Both of them meant it.

These beautiful, friendly ladies both think they have ZERO talent!!! What is that!  One an amazing restaurant hostess and the other a gifted personal shopper … you’ll never meet friendlier ladies in your life!

So here’s my thought … we need to step away from the arts and rethink about ourselves and our “talent” or perceived lack thereof. 

My uncle is into sparse matrices. 

"Huh?"

Yeah, me too … basically it’s code for the coders and only a handful of guys do what he does. How well does he do it? Well, Google thinks he’s cool. If that doesn’t spell “awesome” then I’d have to explain his math stuff and you don’t want me to do that because I can’t. 

Now, completely unrelated to the arts, my uncle does something very very well that helps other people. 

That’s it. 

How about that for a definition of a talent? Outside the box, right? So what is it that you do? 

Think about the stuff you do that helps people that you have fun doing! Cause that’s how you know you have talent! And you DO have talent! So use it beautiful you person you! 

And tell me what it is, alright?

;-) <3 ?

More Than Talent

Heart. Passion. Sacrifice. These matter most.

Talent? I’m sorry … I am so over talent. Talent comes by the bucket full, I don’t care what your artform is.

Dedication? Now that’s rare. Self-sacrifice? Even rarer.

Mike Weaver of Big Daddy Weave will tell you no one is more surprised at his longevity in the music industry than he is. However when you watch BDW walk off the stage to pray with their audience members in the most unusual concert/worship service/ prayer service you could ever experience …  there is no surprise at all!

Contrast that with a girl who’s so into her own feelings she dances for her own satisfaction to the distraction of all observers.

Yeah I’m speaking of myself.

Before I criticize I’d better be honest:

When it comes to “self-expression for the purpose of self-satisfaction” I’m the biggest God-Glory thief I know.

It’s a hard thing to describe in print.

Much like dirty pictures, we all know self-pleasing art when we see it. It screams: “Look at ME! Am I not the most special thing you’ve ever seen/heard/wanted to smack upside the head!?!?!”

Cue upchuck.

So what am I to do when my stomach acid reviles so much “Self-Proclaimed Art?”

Look for the heart.

With heart comes passion, passion begets dedication, dedication multiplies talent.

There is nothing more inspiring than watching someone do something they were created to do. I don’t care if you’re selling shoes, making screws, designing code, fixing commodes  … doing something with heart makes it art.

It’s this thing called Excellence.

Sure not everybody is going to appreciate the beauty of your html code in its raw form but some will. That’s what friends are for.

So don’t put art in a box. Don’t put musicians or dancers on a pedestal. And don’t think that your work is any less important. It’s not. Filing those documents exactly the way you were shown will save somebody a big headache down the road. And yeah they might not know it was you who kept the office files so organized. In fact, they probably won’t.

But you will know.

And God will know.

Live life like its one big Art Project for Him and you’ll appreciate beauty in its most unexpected forms. 

Because Everyone has talent. The Question is what do we do with it?

Here’s some music from Big Daddy Weave:

Benevolence

I really didn’t want to be here. 

It was my first day off since my car “exploded in my face.” The airbags at least. 

I hadn’t slowed down enough to get the blood pressure relaxed or quench the “fight or flight” adrenaline that kept squirting into my veins. 

And I was sitting outside the church offices asking for help with money. 

I really didn’t want to be here. 

I had spent months working and saving and auto-withdrawing to more savings to prevent myself from sitting here. I had to be 10 when Papa showed me the miracle of compounding interest. I counted all my receipts from my chore money then hoarded my paper route money until I bought a bike … to use on my paper route. Talk about reinvesting in the business! After Carlisle and the $6 dollar grocery run, I worked hard to always have money saved. When working fulltime, I set up savings account after savings account with auto-withdrawals for each so I didn’t have to remember.

Then I dipped into my savings for Shine. 

Then I quit my job. 

Then the part-time holiday hours disappeared. 

It’d been over a month in my new job. I’d borrowed family money for my tires and was just getting my head above water to get rid of the credit card bill for good. 

Now Sandy was gone. And I needed help. 

It took a lot out of me to sit here, in the same seat as people who I judged for making foolish decisions. I was better than them I thought. And surely I would never need to ask for benevolence. 

Boy was I wrong. 

Who did I think I was? Am I exempt from tragedy? Does anyone asking for benevolence wake up one morning a year before and make it a new year’s resolution? I DON’T THINK SO!

My realization?

We can save like a squirel, invest like a rabbit, and buy insurance like a turtle but we are all human. Stuff happens. Spouses grow cold. Parents die. Friends reject. 

Just because I have something tucked away today doesn’t mean that tomorrow it won’t disapper like the “mysterious stock of Enron.” Don’t ever depend on money for your security. You’ll never have enough for you to sleep like a baby. In fact more will probably make it worse. 

Our only security must be Jesus Christ. He is our rock and shelter in the storm. 

He is our Life in the driest of places. I’m trying to remember He is all I need. 

Will you join me?

The Energy-Efficient/Lazy Girl’s Guide to Pasta

Information you Need to Endure #FirstWorldPains

Spaghetti - I am your basic boring pasta. Cook me when you have no imagination.

Angel Hair - I am the ultimate lazy girl’s gourmet pasta. Dip me in and I’m done! Don’t expect me to crawl onto your fork for you though; I’m still high-maintenance and like a photo-shoot before enduring consumption.

Linguine - I’m the staple pasta you go to when you don’t feel like cooking but want to feel like you cooked something. I only take 9 minutes which is enough time to boot your *ahem* “computer” as you call it while texting Lisa about how you promise to check out the youtube music links she sent you. Add olive oil and some dried parsley from CVS and you can pretend you ate a meal. (Really though, you better eat something filling for breakfast or else!)

Fettuccine - I am the patience tester! I take all of 12 minutes to cook, pull me out too soon and you’ll forget you ever liked “al dente.” Cook me when you have the fortitude to use your fork and want time to write a post about how much you overanalyze pasta.

Rotini - I’m your pick if you don’t have enough drama in your life and you forgot your hair is plenty curly on its own.

Elbows - Where’s my cheese?

Bowties - No really I’m too high maintence and I’m allergic to your fork so don’t even bother.

Tri-Color Rotini - Seriously … you have time for pasta salad?!?!

Lasagna - You expect me to come withsauce and ricotta?! I have a dinner date for you. Her name’s Marie Calender. 

And there you have it! If there’s any more useless information you need to help you through your troubled 21st century life I can upload a video blog explaining the names of my sunglasses! Sure, we all know about Dina the Massively Fabulous Diva featured in Way Beyond Myself, but don’t you want to see Sergeant’s “Matrix” impersonation?

The Richest Pauper

I’m looking for my Pauper 

in a dark and dreary land.

He has no place to rest, 

His feet covered in sand. 

He’s nothing for himself

but everything to give,

He didn’t come to condemn

He counts sins in a sieve.

He owns the whole world

but He hasn’t a bed; 

No title or position 

but they want Him dead.

If Caesar was before Him

He would not be impressed,

It was Caesar’s birth 

that He Himself blessed. 

___

It may seem as if

they made Him to die,

Yet it was His own choice

He let them crucify.

Beaten, Battered, Bloodied.

Thrashed, Smashed, & Ripped.

Then He crawled up a hill

of His very own will,

Laid His arm on a beam

and put breath in the soul

that tried to nail God

to an earthen, wooden will.

___

All cursed be

those who hang on a tree,

True Love and Sacrifice

He allowed us to see.

For the Mayans, Aztecs,

and Incas all knew:

Only atonement with 

Human Blood would do.

But there’s no heart so pure

among our dirty race

that can appease a Holy God

for our sins disgrace.

… 

I can’t speak for you

but I know I suck,

If it weren’t for my Friend Jesus,

We’d all be out of luck. 

___

I’m looking for my Pauper

He’s the richest man I know,

for He’s the only one

who has redeemed my soul.