My spiritual journey: moments of clarity, ponderings, and vast irritations

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Marriage thoughts from last night. :)

The law is a minister of death! Marriage feels like 'a ball and chain' to so many people, and I don't think that is what God meant at all. The same freedom we have in Christ should be found in our marriages! Sadly, people get so caught up in towing the lines of submission, and holiness that they miss the whole point of marriage - to mirror the relationship with Jesus.

I think there is a difference between being lonely and desiring human companionship and finding complete and utter fulfillment in another human being. I've been there... Finding my utter fulfillment in my boyfriend, fiancee and then eventually my husband... It doesn't work out so well! At the same time, I am completely ... See Moreunable to 'keep Jesus first!' It is completely natural for a person to wholy love another person, and not be able to keep God in that first place. We can't do it! It's IMPOSSIBLE!

Only when I surrendered my all to Christ did all that fall into place... and you know what's funny? I didn't realize when it happened. LOL I just realized one day that Jesus filled up all of my heart so much I couldn't stand it! And it wasn't like, the whole "I love Jesus first, and then I have a little room left over for my husband, then a little bit for my kids..." It was that in loving Christ with my whole heart, I had MORE room for everyone else! I actually loved my husband more and found MORE fulfillment in him. And MORE enjoyment sexually, etc. :) There is nothing wrong with that. God created us as sexual, companionable beings!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The wind bloweth where it listeth

So, what rules the life of grace?
I have been asked that before.
'If you aren't under the law, then what do you obey? How do you live? Sounds like you just float around doing whatever the wind does...'

Well, actually, that's a compliment! :)

In John 3:8 Jesus says, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."

So, those who are born again of the Spirit of God are as mysterious as the wind! Now this verse does not necessarily say we should not follow the law, so I thought I would give another verse to go along with it.

Galatians 5:18 "But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law."

And just to be clear that those who are led of the Spirit and who are born of the Spirit are one and the same group of people,

Romans 8:14 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

Pretty plain to me! :) We're talking about saved people here.

So I am no longer under the law, I follow the Spirit of God and he is gonna blow me around like the wind. It's pretty cool, actually! So I guess the ones we should be worried about are those who think they are still under the law and who do not remind others of the wind. Hmmm......

Saturday, April 24, 2010


A missionary is not a 'church-planter,' or a 'soul-winner,' a missionary is being Jesus to the world. It is ME being MYSELF to the world, but the key here is that the ME is Christ 'as me,' 'in me', and 'through me.' Being a missionary is allowing Jesus to do whatever it is that Christ has created you to do to your fullest potential in the world.

This was my most recent facebook status... There are many things going through my head tonight after our missions conference weekend, so I thought I'd type them up now.

When I was a child I had a "calling" to missions. Looking back on it, I realize that it was very much peer pressure, and not the Spirit of God. It was the 'accepted' thing to do, and it was something I knew I would get positive feedback for. I lived for acceptance! What I really wanted to do was go to med school, and so I added the whole 'missionary' thing on to it and decided to be a medical missionary. I wasn't saved at the time, and since I was continually looking to please my religious group and especially my pastor and parents, I felt guilty for pursuing something I wanted to do, and so dropped the medical part and decided to be a missionary's wife. Of course, Christopher was the love of my life from the time I was 14 years old, and I already knew he had a heart for missions... So I set my heart and mind to marry him and planned to be on the mission field in Ireland.

After marriage I figured out pretty quickly that I wasn't saved, and that I didn't have any desire for missions at all!!! What I really wanted was to go to college, get a degree and be rich! (the whole palomino ranch, sprawling 'Mediterranean style' mansion, and a yacht thing) I didn't want to disappoint my husband, or parents, or church by this (you gotta realize, we were very active in the church! At the time I was under the most conviction about salvation we were leading the youth at Bethel in Barberton), so I kept it to myself. In fact, I pushed Chris to go to Ireland, almost to the point of nagging! We were gonna make everybody, including Jesus, proud! I was going to be mamma's and preacher's pet forever!

During this time of struggle (read my testimony! I really had a hard time admitting that I needed Christ! After all, I had led people to the Lord, never done anything wrong... etc. It was kinda like I'd always been saved! On top of that I had the story my mom told me about praying when I was 4, and I kept going back to that as an excuse), We were at the Bread of Life Camp Meeting and heard about Sri Lanka for the first time. All the missionary needed was someone to come help pass out tracts. I was SOO there! Adventure! I'd never been out of the country before (just over the border in Canada doesn't REALLY count, does it??), and this was the perfect way to get brownie points!! Not only was it a foreign country, but it is considered a part 10 40 window. It was a largely unreached country! It was even kinda scary!

I got saved about two weeks before we left for our trip! WOW! It was very awesome to have my first major experience as a true Christ-follower be on the foreign field like that. It was very life changing. I came back all fired up and insisting that we should go there full time. In fact, I really pushed at Chris to go there! (LOL more nagging!) Of course, he had a huge burden to go back, because he breathes missions! We are talking about Mr. Christopher Dennison, the guy who would pray over individual countries and ask God if that's the one he was supposed to go to!

So we set out on deputation. :)

This was a very difficult time for me. I was really going for so many wrong reasons: emotional high after salvation, adventure, acceptance, and on and on! I HATED deputation. I truly did. I hated pretending to be somebody I wasn't at all the churches we went to. It was soo fake! But we had to jump through the hoops if we wanted support. Inside, all I wanted to do was quit and live a 'normal' life. I had fears that we would get to the mission field, someone would come check up on us and find out the real me and we would get kicked off the field. I was terrified every waking moment that I would crack the wrong eggshell in front of the wrong person. And I didn't really want to live in Sri Lanka forever... Sure, I loved it there, loved the people...

Then I was hospitalized with a terrible pregnancy... I knew it was God wanting me to surrender my life to him, but I refused. I knew that at any moment if I gave it all to Jesus including the deputation and SriLanka that I would be healed... but a HUGE part of me was happy that I couldn't go to churches with Chris anymore. I welcomed the distraction of being stuck in a hospital bed. (Sad, huh?)

Anyway, if any of you follow Chris' blog ( ) you probably know the story of how we ended up leaving the deputation trail. The eggshell I soo feared was cracked! Chris and I spent months of Bible study and came to believe a different eschatological view than our mission board/sending church/supporting churches. We had signed a statement of faith and knew it was only right to tell them the truth about where we now stood. We were instantly dropped from all our support. So, I got my wish, but it was still devastating. We were well on our way to getting to Sri Lanka before this occur ed.

Since then people have questioned us, "Weren't you called there?" "When are you going back?" etc, and even leveled accusations such as, "You are out of the will of God for you life," and "You should be in Sri Lanka right now, so it doesn't matter how God is using you where you are at." HA! It's very amusing to me. I look back and I know that God knew we were not ready for that! I was not ready for that. I had a long way to grow, and much to learn before I could be involved in that kind of full time ministry. I had a lot of preconceived ideas that needed to be eliminated, and a lot of conforming to the image of Christ to do! I am thankful that we did not end up on the field then! I have learned so many things that I would never have learned had we stayed in Baptist circles and had I gone to that country under the bondage of all that fear! At the same time, I know that every moment of the way we were walking with Jesus! Deputation and all, it was God's plan for our lives! 100%, no regrets, those were experiences that God used to shape me into who I am.

Fast Forward!!

We are now at Heritage Christian Church, and Sri Lanka has come up over and over again! And it's an extremely missions minded church. I have felt a tug in that direction, and have had no resistance to it. I'm excited to see what the Lord will do! We may very well end up there after all...

Ok, all that was to say this... If people ask me "Are you called to Sri Lanka" I would say "NO." You are shocked! I know! I heard the gasp! Let me bare my heart to you as plain as I can!

One of the greatest things that the Holy Spirit has taught me is that our desires are God-Given. When I surrendered my life to Christ three years ago, I surrendered my desires with it, and guess what??? I found that God gave them right back to me! In delighting in him, he gave me the desires of my heart! Only now, it's not me struggling to achieve my dreams, it's Christ achieving my dreams through me! AWESOME! So, right now, I have a huge desire to sell everything and move overseas... just MOVE! I don't even care where... Sri Lanka is as good a place as any to start, because I do have a genuine love for that island, those people. I have a huge desire to live the same life I live here over there somewhere in a land where people do not have the salt and light of Christianity. I want to make friends with people from different cultures and have them over for dinner. I want to laugh with them, cry with them, and just be Me! And I want to see people who have never heard the name of Jesus light up with joy when they are introduced to him for the first time. I want to bring freedom to people who are enslaved to religion and open their eyes to the greatness of the Creator God who loves them and is worthy of all their worship!! I picture myself sitting in a small group, sipping tea, playing the keys and singing, swapping stories, and building relationships.

Wait, I didn't mention church planting, did I? No, I didn't. Jesus will build his church, I am just salt and light! If we end up somewhere with enough people to form a church, well awesome, but if that ever comes, I pray that someone among our new friends will arise to lead it. I didn't mention mass evangelizing, because that's not my heart. Does that make me any less of a missionary?

So many people are terrified of missions because they think that the only people who can go are pastors, teachers, church planters and music people. Ok, so my husband can preach and teach and I do music, and most likely if the Lord allows us to go to the foreign field we will do both of those things, but that is not what defines a missionary!

"If you see the Church as just individuals, then a missionary is simply one person telling other people about Jesus. No problem. Anybody can do it. BUT, if you see the Church as a business-style organization, then only those with proper training and degrees can be missionaries. Hmmmm, no wonder so few people are going these days!!!" -Chris Dennison

Hope I haven't confused you all too terribly! I'm exhausted and my mind is whirling! :) This was a rapid download session!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Dial antibacterial body wash

Before I went shopping this past Thursday I made a list of the things that I needed, and one item on the list was Dial antibacterial body wash (spring clean scent). I love that stuff! I remember the day I went to the store and saw it on the shelf for the first time. I don't recall exactly why I chose to purchase it, but something drew me to take it off the shelf, read the label and decide to try it out. Well, on this day I walked down the body wash aisle, looked around and was puzzled for a moment. Where did my body wash go??? Aha! There it is! It's in new packaging! Kinda fancy looking... a little modern. I like it.

That evening I took a shower with my Dial antibacterial body wash, and I had the thought... the gospel is just like Dial antibacterial body wash!! I don't mean because it cleanses us from sin. I don't mean because it removes the stench of the world and replaces it with a fresh from heaven scent. It isn't because it kills the infectious habits that once held us captive, keeping us from living healthy Christian lives. It's not even because lathering in the gospel's richness is invigorating. All of those things are true, but what I learned from Dial soap is that the gospel is always being repackaged to reach a new market of people.

That's right. I'm speaking of relevancy here! I did not purchase Dial body wash because of the packaging, I purchased it because I ALREADY KNEW what was inside and I wanted MORE! How many other people had walked down that same aisle week after week looking at body wash and never seen Dial antibacterial body wash in spring clean scent? A slight tweak in the bottle design and POOF! DING! an entirely new group of people picked up the bottle, read the label and tried it out for themselves.

Now, did the contents of the bottle change? No! It is still the same body wash I have known and loved! Are these people being 'sold a lie' because they have a packaging different from the original packaging that I bought? NO! They are getting the EXACT SAME PRODUCT!

Here's a question: Did I get angry when I walked down the aisle of the grocery store and saw that the bottle had changed? "WHAT DID THEY DO TO MY BODY WASH!!! How dare they do such a thing! I will NEVER buy Dial body wash again!!" Of course not! I was actually impressed by their ingenuity and creativity in revamping the bottle. Again, I already was sold on the contents, so the bottle wasn't the most important thing to me. However, how awesome is it that the people who work in advertising are trying to find ways to have other people learn the wonders of such an amazing product! Why, it's so fantastic EVERYONE should use it! In fact, if I go into the store next week and see another new bottle for Dial antibacterial body wash, I will smile and think to myself how wonderful that another group of people will be trying out a product that I can't live without.

That folks is how we should treat the gospel! Tell me the old, old story! Tell it to me again and again and again! I love it! I'm sold on it! I know it by heart, but I must hear it again! Yet, feel free to 'repackage it' to reach others who have never heard, or who may have walked by it every day and never noticed. Draw their attention to this glorious gospel! Bring them in! Once they have tried it they too will say they can't live without it! They will beg to hear it over and over and over! Oh, don't change the contents. Don't mess with the death, burial and resurrection of my Saviour or the pureness of his grace! But please do put it out there in ingenious, creative ways so that more and more people/culture groups will hear it and be cleansed.