Bravely Persistent

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A sunny, fresh Sunday afternoon greeting to you! I’m feeling particularly grateful for you readers, most of whom know me well and love me well. I am richest thinking of how tender God is with me through you. And if I’ve never met you, I extend a grateful hello and warm smile. I really love technology, but not as much as you, you see. {wink}

It’s almost like God moved us 2.9 years ago to plant us in our church. It’s the first church we visited once we got here and we haven’t left to this day. It’s a lovely, laid back, honest place where one can really wear her heart on her sleeve, get pushed to grow and also feel safe to do so; we laugh at ourselves and get a little dirty along the way.

So when our elders presented a plan this year for adding-on to our building, I got a little nervous. I’ve been through a few building campaigns and I have to say: big thumbs down. I’ve experienced churches going from eager, spirit-led to worn out, seeker-led–and not out of love, but out of needing more funds. It wasn’t pretty. And I’ve also lived through a church worshipping in simplicity to worhshipping blueprints and pulpit design. I know well how easy it can be to find a comfy spot in a quality, large church service, and afterwards walk to the parkinglot feeling completely alone. Why even go?

But this new experience, is changing my mind. Our Pastor began with Romans 13:8, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” For weeks Jesus has been speaking this to me, over and over and over. Like He’s dying for me to get it. Being His disciple is all summed up in one simple idea: love others as myself. {period} So my heart has softened. And I’m eager for the dream God has for our little piece of the Bride.

We had a party of a service today {shouldn’t every Sunday be a celebration?} because through what the Holy Spirit is doing in the hearts of the children of God, because of what He has provided and we surrendered back to Him, our church will be able to pay off ALL our debts. Isn’t that a delightful feeling? It’s a big first step. Let’s not let it end, okay? I hope we can live out “owe love only” til He comes back and finds us waiting… As I’ve prayed and struggled I felt like there are two aspects that can help us live out this call: 1) for believers to be bravely persistent and 2) for us to recognize God as global.

I sometimes get to speak little devotionals at our Mom’s group on Thursdays so I have these two ideas expanded as I delivered it to them. But I think this is not a new message. Paul, James, Jesus, Moses, Nehemiah, Ruth, Job, Joseph, Mary Magdelene, they all say it.

So here is Part One {Bravely Persistent} 4/18/13:

So I’ve been wondering lately, does my life speak love to the world? Does yours? What if we really took this thing seriously? Like it got all up inside us, in our business, and we didn’t just let it go like some fleeting church campaign. What if we let it change us and we showed our community, our neighbors, we care about you as much as we do about ourselves? What would it look like for church to happen beyond the walls of this building?

I think for this to happen we need to start thinking differently. First we need to be bravely persistent, and second we need to remember that God is global. {This second part is what I will save for next time.}

This first part, persistence, not my strong suit! You know I find it pretty easy to be all about something when I get that first passion punch because it’s the next big thing–the activism rush. –Ooo, shared it on facebook! –Wore a cool bracelet. –Fired off an email to my congresswoman. Yay me… I just don’t think immediate-gratification service is what Jesus had in mind when he talked about laying down your life for your friends. His Dad searches the earth to find hearts turned toward Him every day. In full view or in the shadows. Every stinkin day laying down my life. Every day pouring out.

I’m letting go of the American delusion that the most important thing is to have all my ducks in a row. This belief coddles my insecurities and makes excuses in the name of self-preservation. You know, like when such-and-such happens, then I will be able love my neighbor. What is the fill-in-the-blank for you? When your husband gets that raise? When you get that bigger house? When you’ve slept through the night? —There is no imaginary line to cross that releases you into loving others relentlessly. There is no ladder to easy. If you are a believer, you have a persistent call to consistently decrease in order for Him to increase.

Is this the point I tell you young moms that this chapter you’re in right now? Diapers and spit-up, boobs and bottoms…yes, it will end, but no, parenting doesn’t get easier. Sure I can use the potty without holding a baby in my lap, and I sleep through most nights. But there are new and more mentally straining challenges. Good-bye preschool tantrums, hello smack talking 7 year old Lincoln lawyer. I’m just turning a page to a new chapter. And just recently a mom told me it doesn’t end after they graduate! What the? So hold those wee ones and enjoy life without periods while you can. It’s training you to be bravely persistent. This is no 3K. We’re in a marathon here.

Monday’s tragedy in Boston was such a jerk back to a harsher reality–that we are constantly at war on this earth. Evil itself persists until locked in hell for good when Jesus returns. Here I am hitting a good stride on my own Monday track, and bam, right in front of me are other runners so broken, they may never run again. For no good reason. A time to celebrate, violently met with heartache. Maybe, none of us really reaches the finish line until we’re with Jesus. You and me, are in a full-blown, life-long race here my friends. And the only true finish is when we are standing face to face with Him.

Did you hear about the runners Monday who finished the marathon and kept running to give blood? Performing one of the most exhausting things the human body can do, and yet running another mile and a half to give blood at the General Hospital? So many runners ready to give, that the hospital reportedly started turning them away because they received more than they could hold?

Bravely persistent…Evil may rear its ugly head, but let’s not forget, Good has already saved the day, and stands ready to see you to the finish.

When I checked my Bible app for the verse Monday it was this>>Hebrews 12: 1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God… When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

Father, so often I feel like quitting. But I’m realizing this is only a reminder to come back to you for more. That you are infinite…you never run out of what I need, when I need it. Help me to bravely persist. Fill me so I can pour you out. Help us fix our eyes on you, knowing that you authored our story and you will finish it. We can’t wait to see you face to face… all because of Jesus, amen.

Photo cred: C. Taffinder

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2 thoughts on “Bravely Persistent

  1. Thanks for sharing this TODAY! This is what our message was anout this morning knowing and giving others God’s love. He is really driving it home to me….thanks!

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