Monday, April 30, 2012

We're Called to Follow the "Living" God

Jesus says "follow me" 23 times in the new testament. He didn't ask us to follow rules and regulations, men and their traditions, He simply said, "Come, follow me." We're invited to follow the Living God! That's what the resurrection was all about... HE LIVES! The christian life isn't just about eternal life, it's about a relationship that begins now as we interact with our Father who lives in us. Because He lives in us, we are able to share a more intimate relationship with Him today than we could even if He lived in the flesh along side of us. 

I used to think of worship as something I did on Sunday mornings or during midweek service, as well as on Christmas and Easter. Now I see worship as my daily walk with Him. I wake up every morning aware of God's presence in me. I tune in as the living God leads me towards things that are beneficial for me and those around me, and asks me to step away from the things that will harm me. He doesn't force me or threaten me to follow Him, He gives me freedom to choose to follow or not. When I ignore His warnings, I suffer; not because He punishes me or withdraws His love, but I suffer the natural consequences of my choices. By not following Him, I may be missing out on some beautiful blessing He has in store for me. When I follow where He leads, even if it involves enduring hardship and pain along the way, I find that if you asked me if it was worth it, I'd say, Yes! 1000 times yes!

I love how God's spirit nudges me towards tasks that He specifically has for me. Things that will fill me up and delight me as well as accomplish His good works. Of coarse there are some things that He calls all His children to... (ie. love one another as I have loved you), but He also has specific tasks for each of us and in that way does not lead us all in the same direction. We each must listen to where He calls us individually. To communicate with God, we don't have to go through priests anymore, Jesus is the high priest, and He lives in us and speaks directly to us. Don't think for a minute that someone can hear God for you better than you can! He has countless ways to speak to us, externally: through the bible, music, books, poetry, films, art, people... but He also speaks individually to each of us internally. The best advice we can give another is to listen to God's spirit.

For years I felt the burden of coming up with, or joining others in, tasks that I thought would please God and heal His broken world; then I'd pray for God to be with us. I think I had it a little backwards. First of all, He is already pleased with me and nothing I can do can make Him love me more or less. Secondly, whose following who here? It's not about my agenda and my plans and inviting God in on them. Besides, how would I begin to know how to heal this broken world? He doesn't set the problems of the world on my shoulders and expect me to come up with the solutions. Only God is big enough for that. We are all just part of His body, each here to do our part as He invites us to join Him as He heals the world through us. 

Often when God leads me to a place that is good, I want to set up camp and never leave.  I reason that since so much good has come from this, surely God doesn't want me to move on? But I don't want to hold so tightly to something that I'm not willing to follow where He wants to lead me next. I find that when I try to keep something alive beyond what God intended, it begins to get a stench. I believe God has seasons for things. He may have me doing something for one season and then something completely different in the next.  I've given up on trying to orchestrate my life. The ever increasing joy and freedom of living in Him reminds me that we were never meant to live independently of Him. As I listen to His promptings and follow where He leads, I find Him leading me to some pretty incredible places.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Something worth listening to...

This is a youtube I found on director/producer Tom Shadyac. I caught him on the Ellen Show the other day and couldn't get him off my mind. He was so genuine and authentic and really had something to say worth listening to. He has done 2 documentaries, "I Am" and "Happy".  Keith and I watched "I Am" on youtube last night and it really moved us. Below is a link to a 13 minute interview Thom Hartmann did with Tom Shadyac. It will give you a glimpse into the man. Just highlight it, right click it, then click "go to address".

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Let the little children come to me...

Keith and I decided to read one paragraph from the New Testament every night to the girls at bedtime. The boys were about their age when we started reading the bible with them. Tonight Keith started with John chapter 1.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

Keith was telling them that the bible says that Jesus was with God from the very beginning of time, even before He was born on earth, and Jesus was God. The bible says that Jesus is the Word, the Light, and the Life. Jesus is the Word because every word He speaks is truth. He's the Light, because He reveals God to us. He's the Life, because life is found only in Him. God wanted us to know Him, so He came to earth in flesh and blood. If you want to know what God is like, just look at Jesus. They talked for a long time and then he kissed them goodnight. After he turned out the light, Ellie was all excited and got up and said, "Dad, does everybody know that?!" Keith said, "No, but now you do." She said, "But dad, How do you know all this?!" He said, "Well your mom and I have been reading the bible for a long time and God revealed Himself to us through the scriptures." She said, "Does your mom and dad know?" Keith said, "Well yeah, they know." Then she said, "Did they teach you this like a million years ago?"
I was sitting in the office just listening, and when she said, "a million years ago",  I busted out laughing.  Keith popped his head in and grinned at me.
I love the girls' enthusiasm! No wonder Jesus says, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."